Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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Tagged: Ramsey Lewis Trio

Wade in the Water

First recorded by The Sunset Four Jubilee Singers (1925).
Also recorded by Graham Bond Organisation (1965).
Hit version by Ramsey Lewis (US #19/R&B #3/UK #31 1966).

From the wiki: “‘Wade in the Water’ is the name of a Negro Spiritual first published in New Jubilee Songs as Sung by the Fisk Jubilee Singers (1901). It is associated with the songs of the Underground Railroad, and the verses reflect the Israelites’ escape out of Egypt as found in the Book of Exodus. Some sources claim that songs such as ‘Wade in the Water’ contained explicit instructions to fugitive slaves on how to avoid capture. (This particular song allegedly recommends leaving dry land and taking to the water as a strategy to throw pursuing bloodhounds off one’s trail.) The first known recording was made in 1925 by The Sunset Four Jubilee Singers.

The “In” Crowd

First recorded by Dobie Gray (US #13/R&B #11/UK #25 1965).
Also recorded by First Gear (1965).
Other hit versions by The Ramsey Lewis Trio (US #5/R&B #2 1965), Bryan Ferry (UK #13 1974).

From the wiki: “‘The ‘In’ Crowd’ is a 1964 song written by Billy Page and arranged by his brother Gene that was originally performed by Dobie Gray on his album Dobie Gray Sings for ‘In’ Crowders That ‘Go Go. Gray’s powerful Motown-like version, complete with brass section, reached #13 in the US and #25 in the UK in 1965. The Ramsey Lewis Trio recorded an instrumental version of the tune later that same year at the suggestion of a coffee shop waitress.

Hang On, Sloopy

First recorded (as “My Girl Sloopy”) by The Vibrations (US #26/R&B #10 1964).
Hit versions by Little Caesar & The Consuls (CAN #1/US #50 1965), The McCoys (US #1/UK #5 1965), The Ramsey Lewis Trio (US #11/R&B #6 1965).

From the wiki: “‘Hang On, Sloopy’ is a 1964 song owned by Wes Farrell and Bert Russell, originally titled ‘My Girl Sloopy’. A tale told around Columbus, Ohio, is that Sloopy was a waitress/singer, who used the name ‘Sloopy’ on stage. The truth is the song was never about her. It was written by a St. Louis teen who created a fictitious ‘Sloopy’ and then sold his publishing rights to Farrell and Russell.

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