Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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Rag Mop

Written and first recorded (as “Get the Mop”) by Henry “Red” Allen (1944).
Hit versions by Johnnie Lee Wills & His Boys (US #9/C&W #2 1949), Doc Sausage & His Mad Lads (R&B #4 1950), The Ames Brothers (US #1 1950).

From the wiki: “‘Rag Mop’ is a 12-bar blues, adapted by Tulsa Western Swing bandleader Johnnie Lee Wills (Bob Wills’ younger brother) and steel guitarist Deacon Anderson from an earlier song, ‘Get the Mop’, composed by Jazz trumpeter and band leader Henry ‘Red’ Allen. (Wills and Anderson would later be successfully sued for plagiarism by Allen’s publisher.)

“Considered a novelty song, the lyrics to ‘Rag Mop’ consisted almost entirely of spelling out the song title; because of that, it is sometimes referred to as ‘Ragg Mopp’. Wills and his band first covered ‘Rag Mop’ for Bullet Records in 1949, but the most popular version of the song was recorded by The Ames Brothers and released by Coral Records in 1950. Doc Sausage & His Mad Lads also covered the song in 1950, peaking on the R&B chart at #4.

“‘Red’ Allen’s career began in Sidney Desvigne’s Southern Syncopators. After playing on riverboats on the Mississippi River Allen then traveled to Chicago in 1927 to join King Oliver’s band. As a bandleader, Allen recorded for Victor from 1929 through 1930. He also made a series of recordings as co-leader with Coleman Hawkins in 1933 for ARC Records.

“After World War II, Allen would record for Brunswick in 1944, Victor in 1946, and Apollo in 1947. He continued making many recordings under his own name, as well as recordings with Fats Waller and Jelly Roll Morton, and accompanying such vocalists as Victoria Spivey and Billie Holiday. After a short stint with Benny Goodman, Allen formed his own band at The Famous Door in Manhattan. He then toured with the band around the USA into the late 1950s.”

Johnnie Lee Wills & His Boyrs, “Rag Mop” (1949):

Doc Sausage & His Mad Lads, “Rag Mop” (1950):

The Ames Brothers, “Rag Mop” (1950):

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