Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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Junco Partner

Written and first recorded by James “Wee Willie” Wayne (1951).
Also recorded by Professor Longhair (1951), Louis Jordan (1952), Holy Modal Rounders (1964).
Popular versions by Richard Hayes (US #15 1952), Dr. John (1972), The Clash (1980).

From The Originals: “It’s almost a miracle we actually know this is a James Wayne song, for he was locked away in a madhouse for arson. All the while his royalties went in someone else’s pockets, not to mention the shrewd and obscure label boss Bob Shad, who signed for as many of Wayne’s compositions he could lay hands on. Here’s poor James in his mental institution claiming authorship to anyone he bumps in to.

“No-one around believes he wrote famous songs, million-sellers that is! Any time James came up with that same routine, he was administered another manic depression pill to ease down his presumed delusions of grandeur. In the end James Wayne was like the local Napoleon. Then finally he was entitled to petition to be bailed out, was assigned a public defender and it was this Mort Borenstein who finally came to realize his client really wrote all of these songs, that he really was entitled to years of unaccounted royalties, that he wasn’t even sick in his head or anything.

“Count it out: Junco Partner had been recorded by luminaries like Louis Jordan and Dr. John, later also by The Clash, The Dirty Dozen Brass Band, John Hammond, Michael Bloomfield, John Mooney, Harry Connick Jr., James Booker, Warren Zevon & three-fourths of REM.”

Professor Longhair, “Junco Partner” (1951):

Richard Hayes, “Junco Partner” (1952):

Louis Jordan, “Junco Partner” (1952):

The Holy Modal Rounders, “Junko Partner” (1964):

Dr. John, “Junco Partner” (1972):

The Clash, “Junco Partner” (1980):

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