“Say Man” b/w “The Clock Strikes Twelve” by Bo Diddley on Checker 931 was a surprise hit when it was released in August 1959. About this song Bo Diddley told Rolling Stone magazine, “Although it sounds like a spur-of-the-moment jam, Diddley maintained it was written down long before it was recorded. ‘A lot of the things I did in the Chess studios, we were just goofin’ around,’ he said. ‘They played it back, and it shocked all of us! Of course, they cut out all the dirty parts.'”
With February 1960’s “Who’s Been Talking,” Howlin’ Wolf reprised the melody to his “Going Back Home” from a few years earlier. The “B” side was “Tell Me,” and it was Chess 1750. We can also see by the writer’s credit that he composed both of these songs.
The Staple Singers had a unique sound among gospel groups. In October 1959 Vee-Jay 881 was their latest release – “Downward Road” b/w “So Soon.”
This has to be a rare item: Junior Wells’s “Little By Little” backed with “Come On In This House.” It was issued as Profile 4011 in February 1960. Unlike previous Wells blues songs, “Little By Little” featured a back-up vocal group. This must have paid off, because it was on the national R&B charts in the late spring and early summer. The flip side is “Come On In This House” not “Come On A My House.” Junior Wells may have consented to using group harmony, but he would have sounded ridiculous singing “Come On A My House.”
November 1959 saw the release of Bo Diddley’s “Say Man Back Again” b/w “She’s Alright.” This was Checker 936. After the success of “Say Man” Diddley and the Chess Brothers went back for more. But I always thought the vocals were mixed down too low in the mix of this one.
A November 1959 release that was a hit in early 1960, Jimmy Reed’s “Baby What You Want Me To Do” b/w “Caress Me Baby” on Vee-Jay 333 was a blues that actually charted in the pop Top 40. His wife sings with him on it. I have a CD from the late 1980s, when studio chatter and alternate takes were all the rage in the reissue market, and just before “Baby What You Want Me To Do” the recording engineer is asking him the name of the next song. Reed is so intoxicated he can’t remember the name of his own song.