Stuff On The Market

by wjw on July 24, 2014

So here we have Gaby Moreno, Hugh Laurie, and the rest of the Copper Bottom Band performing “The Weed Smoker’s Dream” with the original lyrics.  Hugh Laurie does some fooling about after the song is over.  The video is amateur and pretty well looks it.

Originally recorded by the Harlem Hamfats in 1936, the song with cleaned-up lyrics and a new title (“Why Don’t You Do Right”) later became a big hit for Lil Green (with a guitar solo by Big Bill Broonzy).  When Peggy Lee was later singing with the Benny Goodman band, she played the Lil Green record obsessively, and eventually Goodman recorded it with Lee on vocals, and it became a huge hit.  Peggy Lee loved the song and recorded more than one version.

Jessica Rabbit later had a big hit with the song, which she sung to Stubby Kaye in the movie (actual vocalist: Amy Irving).  Other recordings were made by Kiri Te Kanawa, Sinead O’Connor, and the Carolina Chocolate Drops.

The Harlem Hamfats, by the way, were not from Harlem but from Chicago, and were a big hit-making combo for a while.  Kansas Joe McCoy has song-writing credit, though there’s a school of thought that the tune was by someone else.  Kansas Joe also wrote “When the Levee Breaks,” which was covered by Led Zeppelin.

There’s influence all over the map.  But I happen to like Gaby Moreno’s version, with the original hard-boiled lyrics that seem less to be about smoking weed and a lot more about prostitution.

So do as the millionaires do, and check this out.

DensityDuck July 24, 2014 at 8:23 pm

So Jessica Rabbit sang a song made famous by Peggy Lee, who was actually *in* a Disney movie (Lady and the Tramp, she voiced three characters and had two songs). Meaning that even the *song* in “Who Framed Roger Rabbit” was an animation-industry reference.

wjw July 25, 2014 at 5:42 am


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