Song Draft 2021 – Round 3- Look At Little Sister – Hank Ballard/Stevie Ray Vaughn

Welcome to Round Three of the 2021 Song Draft hosted by Hanspostcard. It has been fun for me to pick and share my songs, but even cooler to check out the picks of the other participants.

As I compiled my list of songs to pick from, I had Hank Ballard and Stevie Ray Vaughn on the list with two separate songs. Then, I had some music playing on YouTube at work and changed my Stevie Ray song to this one – just so I could share the video. More on that in a minute.

There are some songs that you can search and find pages and pages of notes and stories about. However, there really wasn’t a whole lot about this song. I removed Stevie’s name from the search and just searched “Look at Little Sister. All of a sudden, there was Hank Ballard.

Hank was born in Detroit in 1927. In 1953, he joined the Doo Wop group, the Royals. Because of the group The Five Royales, the group changed their name to The Midnighters. In 1954, Hank wrote “Work With Me Annie” which was a number one R&B song for 7 weeks. In 1959, he wrote and recorded “The Twist,” which became Chubby Checker’s signature song. In 1960 he had two top 10 records with “Finger Poppin’ Time” and my original Hank song draft pick “Let’s Go, Let’s Go, Let’s Go.”

In a concert clip of Hank singing “Look At Little Sister” he says he wrote the song in 1959 after watching his little sister out in the back yard dancing around. Whether or not that was true, or whether it was just a clever way to intro the song at the show, I didn’t know. I am friends with Hank’s son, Daryle, on Facebook (He is a singer, too) so I reached out to him and asked. He confirmed to me that his dad told him that his sister was indeed the inspiration for the song. I had no idea that the song was originally done (and written) by Hank. I had to find it. After listening to it, I was blown away. It sounds fantastic! It has that early Rock and Roll/R&B/Rockabilly feel to it.

Hank was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990.

Look At Little Sister –

Hey, hey, hey, hey, hey mama look at little sis
Out in the backyard….shakin’ like this
Hey, hey, hey, hey, hey, hey….look at little sister
Hey hey hey hey….look at little sister

What about the neighbors….what they gonna say
Stop little sister….gettin’ carried away
Hey hey hey….look at little sister
Hey hey hey hey….look at little sister

Shakin’ like a tree….rollin’ like a log
Shakin’ and a rollin’ now….that ain’t all
Hey hey hey….look at little sister
Hey hey hey hey….look at little sister

(Guitar solo)

Shakin’ like a tree….rollin’ like a log
Shakin’ and a rollin’ now….that ain’t all
Hey hey hey….look at little sister
Hey hey hey hey….look at little sister

What about the neighbors….what they gonna say
Stop little sister….gettin’ carried away
Hey hey hey….look at little sister
Hey hey hey hey….look at little sister

What about Stevie’s version??

Stevie Ray Vaughn released Look at Little Sister on his third album Soul to Soul in 1985. I gained a better appreciation for Stevie Ray’s music long after he had passed away. All I really had heard was “Pride and Joy” and “The Sky Is Crying” prior to that. The more I listened to it, the more I appreciated his vocals, and of course, his guitar playing. Which brings me to the video I wanted to share.

It was a toss up between a few of Stevie’s songs for this song draft, but then I saw a video of him doing Look at Little Sister live. What is so special about it? In my opinion, the video of this particular performance shows what an amazing talent he was. During the second half of his guitar solo, at around the 2:35 mark, he breaks a guitar string. Now if you just listen to it without watching it, you have no idea it broke. The solo is flawless. Watching it, you realize that he just improvises the rest of the solo around the strings he has left. I can watch this video over and over again and am amazed at how he never flinches.

What makes the video even cooler, is that his crew knows his string is broke. He looks at them mid-solo, after the solo, the crew brings him another guitar, Stevie keeps singing while the new guitar is handed to him, and without missing a beat, he is back to playing when he’s supposed to. It truly is an fascinating thing to watch.

Check it out:

Stevie Ray Vaughn was killed in a helicopter crash in 1990, the same year Hank Ballard was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Stevie Ray would be posthumously inducted in 2015.

Don’t ask me to pick one or the other as my favorite – I can’t. To me, that is what makes a great song. Here is the same song, recorded two and a half decades apart. Each version having a similar, yet different feel to it. Yet, they both stand alone as fantastic tracks.

So, did I cheat and actually make this about TWO songs instead of one? No. I draft one great song – but feature two different versions! I hope you enjoy this one as much as I do!

Tune Tuesday Remembers Jackie Wilson

From my Facebook friend, Ric Allen and the Michigan Music History page:

It was a day that powerful voice of Detroit’s “Mr. Excitement” was silenced forever .. as Michigan Music History remembers Jackie Wilson .. who sadly passed away 36 years ago today.

The iconic, soulful and energetic stage entertainer was born in Detroit on June 9th, 1934, and raised in the rough neighborhoods of Highland Park. Joining an area gang, Jackie was often in trouble… got locked up twice in juvenile homes .. where he eventually learned to box. Entering the amateur circuits around Detroit, where he met fellow boxer and future Motown chief, Berry Gordy, Jackie would become a Golden Gloves boxer, but after his mother told him ‘that’s enough boxing’, and with a record of 2-8, he turned to music.

Forming the original Falcons, he would be discovered by Johnny Otis, who assigned him to a group called the Thrillers, who later became the Royals, the same group that backed another Detroit legend, Hank Ballard, but Jackie left before they made their big hits. Joining Billy Ward & the Dominoes in 1953, replacing Clyde McPhatter,  Jackie would stay with the group for 3 years, cutting “St. Terese of the Roses”, until he decided going solo would be a better option … and it paid off big time.

Signing with Brunswick Records, Jackie would have his first hit “Reet Petite” in 1957, co-written by Berry Gordy, who would become good friends with Wilson over the years, and co-writing a few of his early hits. “Lonely Teardrops” would launch Mr. Excitement to a whole new level. Charting 54 hits from 1957-1974, his stage presence earned him the nickname “Mr. Excitement”! Jackie would sing anything from high-powered soul classics, to opera, to ballads – there wasn’t anything Jackie couldn’t sing.

While singing “Lonely Teardrops” at the Latin Casino in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, Jackie suffered a heart attack onstage and fell into a coma, of which he never recovered. Moved to a retirement community in Mt. Holly, New Jersey, where he needed constant care, the voice, the dancer and the consummate entertainer died on January 21st, 1984, at the age of only 49. Finally getting his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame last September – we remember the iconic Jackie Wilson.

jackie-wilson-bw-1958-billboard-650

What a voice!  What a talent!  His music was some of the best!  Here are some of my favorites:

Baby Workout

Lonely Teardrops

Doggin’ Around

Higher and Higher

Talk That Talk

Stormy Weather

That’s Why I Love You So

Reet Petite

What an amazing voice!  What an amazing talent!  GREAT songs!  He is missed!