Five Good Covers presents five cross-genre reinterpretations of an oft-covered song.
What makes the original artist of a cover? Does it depend on which you heard first? Me, I doubt even I could pretend my initial exposure to “Baby Please Don’t Go” was the original I held dearest and first to my heart. I’ll go further: I bet, that for many, the first notes of “Baby Please Don’t Go” they ever heard came from the whip-thin guitar of Billy Harrison (unless the rumors are true and it was actually session veteran Jimmy Page). He was part of Belfast’s finest, Them, with none other than Mr. Grumpyguts himself, Van Morrison, in moodily magnificent vocal form even then.
But no, Them’s take wasn’t the original, that being the domain of good old trad. arr., responsible for any number of ancient ditties that have transformed and transmogrified over the ages, across oceans and genres. But for the purposes of this piece, Them’s take is my original, even if their version was drawn from the twin wells of Big Joe Williams, the first recorded iteration, in 1935, and John Lee Hooker‘s 1949 version, which lopped the “please” off the title.