The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #21389 Message #1253226
Posted By: Jim Dixon
22-Aug-04 - 12:03 AM
Thread Name: Origins: Hound Dog?
Subject: Lyr Add: HOUND DOG (from Big Mama Thornton)
Lyrics and notes copied from "Music 103-Listening CD2: United States" Henry Spiller, Kenyon College, Gambier, OH
HOUND DOGThe following notes are copied from "100 Records that Set the World On Fire"
As sung by Willie Mae ("Big Mama") Thornton
You ain't nothing but a hound dog been snoopin' round my door (x2)
You can wag your tail but I ain't gonna feed you no more
You told me you was high class but I could see through that
And daddy I know you ain't no real cool cat
[Repeat verse 1]
You made me feel so blue you made me weep and moan
I'm sorry to tell you baby, I'm gonna send you home
[Repeat verse 1]
This song fits somewhere between the genres of R&B and Urban Blues. This version features the quintessential blues instrument-harmonica-but also emphasizes the backbeat. The song form is basically a 12-bar blues. Though the song was written by the New York songwriting team of Lieber and Stoller (who also brought you hits like "Love Potion No. 9" and "Yakety Yak"), it is said that Big Mama changed a lot of the lyrics, making the song distinctly her own and bringing the sexual implications to the foreground.
Willie Mae Thornton "Hound Dog" (Vogue 1953)
The record came together more or less accidentally at a recording session in Los Angeles in August 1952. Precocious songwriter Jerry Leiber (20 years old) came up with a few phrases for Willie Mae to spit out with gleeful venom, The Johnny Otis Band hit a funky mambo groove, and Pete Lewis was goaded into playing one of the best guitar figures ever, especially in the solo where Willie Mae exhorts him to growl and moan like a dog without a bone. Three years later, Elvis truly did shake the world with his reworking of the song, and Leiber & Stoller had to take Johnny Otis to court to establish that, young as they were, they really had written the song without his help. Later, when everybody thought that the only credible performers were those who wrote their own material, Willie Mae said she wrote it. But I look into Jerry's eyes (one brown, one blue) and I believe he thought up those words - "You can wag your tail but I ain't gonna feed you no more". CG