'Answer records' helped define original Black rhythm and blues

Richard G. Carter | 10/12/2012, 4:17 p.m.
Colony Records was my place for original Black R&B

As to the legendary Spaniels, their 1958 hit "Everyone's Laughing" on Vee-Jay was answered that year by the Jesters' "I Laughed" on Cyclone. Four years earlier, the Spaniels' surging "Goodnight Sweetheart, Goodnight" was covered by eight other artists.

Getting back to the "Annie" records, one of the things that made them so popular and successful was the Midnighters' clearly sexual lyrics. To wit: "Work with me Annie, don't be sane; work with me Annie, call my name. Work with me Annie, let's get it while the gettin' is good. Annie please don't cheat, give me all my meat. Work with me Annie, let's get it while the gettin' is good, so good, so good."

And there was Ballard's "Sexy Ways" in 1954: "Move, baby, move, move, I just love this carryin' on. Move baby, move, move, 'cause your Mama and Daddy is gone. Wiggle, wiggle, wiggle till your hips get tired and weak. Oooo, wiggle baby, wiggle, wiggle till you fall out on your feet. On the wall, in the hall, I just love your sexy ways."

Others with suggestive lyrics in 1953 prior to the "Annie" records include the Clovers and Ruth Brown on Atlantic and the Spaniels on Vee-Jay. First, two by the Clovers:

"Comin' On": "My love's as deep as the ocean, endless as a canyon, I'm the latest addition to the Woman's Home Companion. Comin' on, comin' on, I feel that mood comin' on. 'Cause I'm just a natural lover, and you can make this my happy day."

"Good Lovin'": "Chills me, thrills me, good lovin'. Almost kills me, good lovin'. Hollerin' and clangin,' good lovin'. Don't mind dyin,' good lovin'. Your good lovin' satisfies my mind."

"Daddy, Daddy" (Ruth Brown): "Daddy, daddy, daddy, love me strong. I don't mind it if it's all night, daddy. Daddy, daddy, daddy, right or wrong... Hold me in the mornin'. Hold me every night. Thrill me, daddy, thrill me, till I scream with all my might. Oooo, a long, long time."

"Housecleaning" (Spaniels, with Gerald Gregory's bass lead): "Just call Gerald, just call for Gerald, yes, call me at Central 69. I raise up all your curtains and give your house some class. I'll guarantee satisfaction, baby, my work is known from town to town."

Those who weren't around to hear this great stuff really don't know what they missed. Original Black R&B was--and still is--where it's at. And that's the name of that tune.