One of my all-time favourite albums is the Christine Perfect album.
It was released in 1970, just after she left Chicken Shack and just before she joined Fleetwood Mac as Christine McVie; this was also the year before I was born. When I was eighteen or so, I pretty much had it on repeat play for several months, so it’s only natural there are a couple of tunes from the album that I’ve learned to play myself.
I haven’t performed any of them in public for a long while, but when I was asked to play a short impromptu solo set at Bluepeace last weekend, I ended up doing both No Road Is The Right Road and Crazy Bout You Baby. Unknown to me, it turns out the performance was recorded, and I’m in the process of figuring out whether it’s ok to upload cover versions to Soundcloud or not - seems that the answer is ‘no, not without permission, but actually lots of people do anyway, so go figure.’
No Road Is The Right Road is an original Christine Perfect number, and I had always thought that Crazy ‘Bout You Baby was too, but it turns out not to be. However, working out the actual authorship of the version of Crazy ‘Bout You Baby recorded by Christine Perfect turns out to be something of a conundrum.
The Wikipedia page for the album credits Little Walter with writing the song. However, the fleetwoodmac.net page for the song claims that this credit was a mistake, that it in any case applied to a different recording of the tune by Perfect, and that it was actually written by Sonny Boy Williamson.
You can hear Sonny Boy Williamson’s version here on Youtube. It’s more or less clear after several listens that Perfect’s version, quite apart from changing the tempo and feel of the tune, doesn’t use any of the original lyrics except the chorus - ‘crazy bout you baby but you don’t care nothing in this world for me’.
Perfect’s first verse (“can’t sleep at night, catnap through the day…”) turns out to be taken from the third verse of Walking Dr Bill, by Doctor Clayton, covered by BB King. I cannot find any reference to her second and third verses except in lyrics sites that list the Christine Perfect lyrics.
Clearly I’m not looking hard enough though, as according to the liner notes, the song was chosen via Ike and Tina Turner’s version. Sure enough, Perfect is singing substantially the same lyrics as Tina Turner does, though the writing credit there, according to discogs.com, is still Williamson.
The plot thickens further when you realise that - according to Wikipedia at least - Little Walter played with Sonny Boy Williamson at some stage, though if he recorded a version of the song I can’t find any reference to it. So it’s quite possible that the Little Walter credit is actually at least partly correct - maybe the altered lyrics sung by Tina Turner and repeated by Christine Perfect originated with him.
Alternatively, perhaps there is an alternate Williamson version with different lyrics. Getting to the bottom of it will require more than just sitting here at home and Googling - the next stage would probably involve attempting to get in touch with Tina Turner and asking what she can remember about the song, as sadly neither Little Walter nor Sonny Boy Williamson are around to settle the matter once and for all.
I might have a crack at that, but in the meantime, I’ve realised that the more I look into this, the more I simply don’t know who wrote this tune. In any case, I mostly screwed up the lyrics myself when performing it and have no idea what I actually ended up singing - it was one of those ‘this is as much as I can remember of the lyrics’ performances, so my silly little version, for what it’s worth, is different again.
So how do you go about asking permission for that?
Maybe I should just go ahead and upload anyway, for what it’s worth.