The incomparable Sam & Dave performing one of my favorite songs of theirs on the Ed Sullivan Show in 1969. The riff in the chorus is so boneheadedly simple and yet so perfect. Everything about this song is stripped down to the absolute essentials and executed flawlessly by an ultra-tight band. This is just a glimpse into what was apparently their legendary live show.
For songwriting nerds, this song is notable for doing something that’s generally difficult. With a couple of minor variations, the chord progression in the verse and chorus are identical, and so is the melody (although Ruffin sings it with some liberty in this live version). However, it’s very clear when the song is in the verse section and the chorus section. There are other songs that do this, one of my favorites being Bruce Springsteen’s Hungry Heart. However, what makes this song even more unique and interesting is that it changes keys for the chorus before masterfully changing back to the original key for the next verse.
Yes, some folks such as myself get great enjoyment from these things.
I’ve always liked this song, but had trouble with most versions of it. Frank Sinatra’s version is so iconic (like so many songs he sang), that everything else just seems to exist in his shadow.
Aretha Franklin recorded it on her second album in 1967, a year after the Frank Sintra version. This video is of her and Frankie Valli performing it on the Mike Douglas show on Christmas of that year, and while Frankie is doing a great job keeping up, Aretha really shines and seems to just belt it out effortlessly (not to mention playing a mean piano).
Work To Do by The Main Ingredient (via puchersoul)
Here’s a 1973 cover of the Isley Brothers’ excellent song “Work To Do,” which was released only a year earlier.
The Main Ingredient’s biggest hit was 1972’s “Everybody Plays The Fool,” and they only enjoyed modest success afterwards. Lead vocals here are handled by Cuba Gooding, Sr., father of actor Cuba Gooding, Jr. (obviously).
While I think Ron Isley’s vocal performance on the original recording is superior (although Mr. Gooding still does an excellent job), I prefer this version a bit more overall due to the slightly glossier production.