Shuffle Sundays is a weekly feature in which we feature a cover chosen at random by my iTunes shuffle. The songs will usually be good, occasionally be bad, always be interesting. All downloads will only be available for one week, so get them while you can.
I remember when I first got 1971’s Randy Newman Live I got a huge kick out of his cover of Three Dog Night’s “Mama Told Me Not to Come.” I couldn’t believe he turned the soul blast into a minor-key lament. Well, he didn’t, but it was months before I found out the cover went the other way.
Newman originally wrote the song in 1966 for Eric Burdon and the Animals, but the record label withdrew it before release. Big mistake. Four years later Three Dog Night made it a number-one hit (the only Newman song to ever accomplish that, incidentally).
A year after that, rhythm and blues sensation Wilson Pickett got his hands on the tune, releasing it as his final single for Atlantic in 1972. It comes from the same horn-fueled mold as the Three Dog Night version, which is ironic because the b-side was George Jackson’s “Covering the Same Old Ground.” With Wilson’s sonic boom of voice and an understated guitar solo by Steve Cropper (I think) though, it bursts forward with a vigor all its own.
Wilson Pickett – Mama Told Me Not To Come (Randy Newman) [more]
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