Last Sunday night (actually early Monday morning) driving home after doing Terrell's Sound World at KSFR, I tuned into the show that comes on after mine, Oil of Dog with Gary Storm. On that show Gary had Dick Rosemont, who has a Santa Fe record shop called Guy in the Groove -- as well as a cool website called the Originals Project.
What he does there is simply track original versions of popular songs. Plus, without pretending to be a completest, Dick tries to list as many subsequent versions as possible.
Hey, I like doing stuff like that! I figured correctly that I'd like his website.
That night on Oil of Dog, Dick and Gary were playing various versions of "I Fought the Law," which was a hit for The Bobby Fuller Four in 1966.
I knew that Sonny Curtis, a Buddy Holly crony from Lubbock, had written it. But until that show I don't think I'd actually heard the original version by Sonny Curtis with the (post Buddy) Crickets.
Here that is:
Rosemont writes, "Be forewarned that not everything included here will be big news to music fans!" And that's true enough. But even for a jaded old rock 'n' roll freak like myself, I found plenty of surprises just puttering around The Originals Project.
For instance, I did not know that someone had recorded "Walkin' After Midnight' -- one of my favorite stalker songs -- before Patsy Cline. But actually a lady named Lynn Howard, with a group called The Accents did in 1956 (The same year Patsy first recorded it.)
Likewise, I always just assumed that Big Bill Broonzy was the first to record "Key to The Highway" (which like everyone else my age, I first heard by Derek & The Dominoes in the '70s.) But actually it was recorded by a piano man named Charles Segar in 1940.
Now I knew that this '80s one-hit wonder called "Taco" wasn't the first to record called "Puttin' on the Ritz." (I still have a weird fondness from this video from the heyday of MTV.)
I knew it was written by Irving Berlin but I never knew who recorded it first. Rosemont's site informs us it was a guy named Leo Reisman, with Lew Conrad on vocals. And it's a Jazz Age delight.
Still, my favorite version is this one: