Thursday, February 17, 2011

Goin' to Louisiana

Folks have been "borrowing" melodies for ages, from Bach to John Lennon. But perhaps the most outrageous steal involves today's post subject. The Big Three - an early sixties folk group consisting of Mama Cass, Tim Rose, and Jim Hendricks - took Stephen Foster's Old Susanna and wrote an entirely different melody and harmony, calling it The Banjo Song. So give a listen and be amazed at how not just the melody, but even the guitar lick was reused for a chart-topping hit from 1969. I am not naming names but every person alive over 45 should figure it out quickly.

And I have to say that it is wonderful to discover new music (to me) with Mama Cass's great voice.


Who Am Us Anyway? said...

It's shocking! It's blue! It's the summit of beauty & love -- and VENUS was her name!

Terrific find on all counts Mr. P -- and not only had I not heard The Banjo Song before, I hadn't even known of The Big Three ... Cass Eliott can't be beat.

whiteray said...

Great find! It's worth noting that James Hendricks was a songwriter of note. Among his works was Johnny Rivers' classic "Summer Rain." Hendricks also did a few albums of his own.

Who Am Us Anyway? said...

I think my favorite moment here might be at right about 1:16, where I swear Cass is channeling Grace Slick from her Great Society days

Mister Pleasant said...

Thanks for the comment Whiteray - The great Red Telephone blog had a post on James Hendricks a while back worth checking out -

Who Am Us - I had never noticed Cass's vocal at the point - but you are right on the money.

Holly A Hughes said...

Extraordinary gem you've excavated here -- thanks so much! I miss Mama Cass. I think I'll go put on a caftan in her honor.