Wednesday, December 2, 2009

ROCK Sex: "I'm a Man"

ROCK Sex gives you the rewind of the throughline!


Here's how the declarative statement, "I'm a Man!", took some terrific and unlikely paths.

BO DIDDLEY was inspired by the riff and swagger of Muddy Water's Hoochie Coochie Man" to rewrite it as a youthful boast:

BO DIDDLEY -"I'm a Man" (1955)




MUDDY WATERS was a labelmate with Bo at the legendary Chess Records. He responded with a wry wink in his "Mannish Boy":

MUDDY WATERS -"Mannish Boy" (1956)



Later, as a generation of rock groups kept homaging his work, Waters responded by re-recording his song in the acid rock style:

MUDDY WATERS -"Mannish Boy" (1968)



Acolyte JIMI HENDRIX can be heard in this candid studio jam taking that further:

JIMI HENDRIX -"Mannish Boy" (1970?)


Jimi then kept working on an original song with the working title "I'm a Man (So I'm Trying to Be)", heard on this bootleg take.


Coming round to now, here's BLACK STROBE merging the tough Blues with a touch of Electronica:

BLACK STROBE -"I'm a Man" (2007)



Taking the electronic angle to fruition, here's perennials DEVO protesting violence against the common people:

DEVO -"Don't Shoot (I'm a Man)" (2008)






On a parallel track, The SPENCER DAVIS GROUP, propelled by the soulful organ and vocals of young Steve Winwood, kicked out the jams with this proto-Funk classic of their own:

SPENCER DAVIS GROUP -"I'm a Man" (1967)



Here's organist Mick Weaver, working under the band name WYNDER K. FROG, tearing up the party some more:

WYNDER K. FROG -"I'm a Man" (1968)



And here's how most people know the song, in this stellar cover by the emerging band CHICAGO, with lead guitar and vocals by the late Terry Kath, along with bassist Peter Cetera:

CHICAGO -"I'm a Man" (1970)



The song was done in Disco versions by the appropriately named MACHO from Italy in 1979, and by rocker KEITH EMERSON for a 1981 film soundtrack.


And lately the song has been covered by the Texican brothers of LOS LONELY BOYS:

LOS LONELY BOYS -"I'm a Man" (2008)



Now if only JAYNE COUNTY or TRIBE 8 would do a cool spin on this statement...

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