Sunday, June 26, 2016

Slim Harpo - Baby, Scratch My Back (with film clips of old Blues dancing)

Edited by Azizi Powell

This post showcases a video of the Blues/R&B song "Baby, Scratch My Back" performed by Slim Harpo.

Information about Slim Harpo, the lyrics to this song, and selected comments from this video's discussion thread are also included in this post.

The content of this post is presented for cultural, entertainment, and aesthetic purposes.

All copyrights remain with their owners.

Thanks to Slim Harpo for his musical legacy. Thanks to all those who are quoted in this post, and thanks to Allan Gange, the producer and publisher of this video on YouTube.

Hat tip to Pittsburgh's storyteller, harpo, and folklorist Amir Rashid for hipping me to Slim Harpo, and the fact that a "harpo" is someone who plays a harp (harmonica).

"James Isaac Moore (January 11, 1924 – January 31, 1970),[1][nb 1] better known by his stage name Slim Harpo, was an American blues musician, a leading exponent of the swamp blues style, and "one of the most commercially successful blues artists of his day".[2] His most successful and influential recordings included "I'm a King Bee" (1957), "Rainin' In My Heart" (1961), and "Baby Scratch My Back" (1966) which reached no. 1 on the R&B chart and no.16 on the US pop chart. A master of the blues harmonica, his stage name was derived from the popular nickname for that instrument, the "harp".[3]...

He had his biggest commercial success in 1966, when the predominantly instrumental "Baby Scratch My Back" reached no.1 on the R&B chart and no.16 on the US pop chart. Harpo described it as "an attempt at rock & roll for me." Like his previous records, it was recorded with producer J. D. Miller and the regular Excello musicians, including guitarist Rudy Richard, bassist James Johnson and drummer Jesse Kinchen, in Crowley, Louisiana."...

(Slim Harpo)

Aw, I'm itchy
And I don't know where to scratch
Come here baby
Scratch my back
I know you can do it
So baby, get to it

Aw, you're workin with it now
You got me feelin' so good
Little bit to the center now, baby

This little girl sho' knows how to scratch
Now, you're doin' the chicken-scratch
Aw, it's lookin' good, baby
Just gettin' scratchy
That's what I'm talkin' about


SHOWCASE VIDEO: Slim Harpo Baby, Scratch My Back

Allan Gange, Uploaded on Feb 3, 2010

Slim Harpo's cool classic set to old dance clips and animals scratching
selected comments from this video's discussion thread:
These comments are presented in chronological order based on their posting date, except for replies, with the oldest dated by year comment given first. However, these comments may not be in consecutive order. I've assigned numbers for referencing purposes only.

1. theophano
"This is Louisiana "swamp blues"."

2. kajunmoon
"slim harpo from lobell,louisiana ..that scarch in the guitar he called it the chicken scratch ,i think rudy richard is playing it idk i do know rudy is playing and alive and well.."

3. lsubail
James Johnson on guitar on this track. Rudy did play on many. Both are still playing in the Baton Rouge area"

4. briggsm
"whatever those two guys are doing at 0:07 i wanna learn it! whats that called?"

5. fatguyinlittlecoat86
"@briggsm I don't know what is called, but if you look up So You Think You Can Dance! Season 7 Week 3 practice session of Alex Wong and Twitch (Twilex), you can see them practicing this dance for their up-coming performance."

6. Atomank68
"Huuuyaah! Real southern, backwoods "country" blues and soul. Loved this one since I was five years old!"

7. robin2012ism
"I liked the rubber legs best. Job well done - for your first too!"

8. Mayer Shalelhashbazz
"great tune, excellent montage. well done.


9. margaret andrews
"Thanks for the video..very nice job!!! talking bout some kool kats.. the brothers that was dancing in the field..if I am not mistaken the one that was movin his foot like he was slidin.. that dance use to be called by the ol' folks the "sloup"...I know it sounds crazy but I remember that dance...Thanks again, very good" job!!
"Sloup" = "slop"

10. Lily Bell
"Does anyone have any idea who these people are who are featured in this video?"

11. Allan Gange
"Hi Lily Bell. I can tell you the clips I used (they are all on YouTube). The bendy man is Earl "Snake Hips" Tucker. The original video is in colour. The group with the harmonica and the break dancer are from the clip of The Mills Brothers singing Caravan. The two fellas dancing by the fence are slowed down. They are actually dancing to Muddy Waters singing Got My Mojo Working at the newport jazz festival. Hope that helps"

12. GOLDBAND45rpm
"Those two guys dancing in the video is taken from 'Newport Jazz Festival 1960' during Muddy Water's performance OR 'Jazz On a Summer's Day' during Chuck Berry's performance.Which one anybody?"

13. Allan Gange
"Hi. I can confirm that it was taken from Muddy Waters performance of Got My Mojo Working - I had to slow the footage down to try and match the music. It was my first video. Seems like forever ago"

14. Mark King
"So many Great musicians who were really never appreciated as much as they should have been and Slim is one of them. Love you man!"

"Who is the guitarist please????"

16. GOLDBAND45rpm
"Poor records of participating musicians makes recording details difficult to map out at times but guitarist on this recording could be either Rudolph Richard or James Johnsson or even Slim himself who was more active on some of his later recordings"

17. Byron Stevens
"This is one of them Sure Nuf R&B Records that we wouldhave to play3 or 4 times on our air shift per day. Hang in there People."

18. Trixie Hutts
"nice dance what was that called talkig about the in the back ground the rubber leg"

19. ayahuascayage
"A very well done and entertaining video that really accentuates one of my favorite Slim Harpo songs. Thanks."

20. David White
"I recognize "Snake Hips" (the fellow on stage with the white shirt) -- but who are the two gents dancing outside by the picket fence, what movie are those group dance scenes from, and who's that hillbilly band?"

21. Level Lez
"+David Whiteis the two gents dancing1960 Newport Fest"

22. Bill Mavin [2016]
+David Whiteis Newport Festival dancing to got my mojo working. Saw it on you tube

23. Old Chrome
"Cool vid! Congrats. I saw in this the origins of Elvis's moves and the origins of break dancing!"

14. J. Foster
"OMG! Breakdancers! Moonwalking!" 

25. Phil Bell
"A rare blues classic, what a gem ! I defy anybody out there to name the harmonica player ! don't tell me the obvious answer of Slim himself (which is perfectly possible). Whoever it is they can really play that thing. I hope they were well rewarded for their talent. It gets my vote ! thanx Slim !"

26. Bill Mavin [2016]
"+Phil Bell Lazy Lester"

27. THEMOJOMANsince1959
"I love to read the comments and realize that I'm not alone lovin' the Blues like I do. It's so sad they didn't have videos or more films of our early R&B & Rock pioneers. Today's kids will never really know will they?"

28. Wesley Cole
"+THEMOJOMANsince1959 I'm 18 and me and my friends love blues. Today's kids know more than you might think."

29. Kimberly Reynolds
"I like this video very much. this was the type music I was raised on. I always loved the blues."

30. Tonithenightowl
"I wonder if the dancers from Soul Train realized where they got their moves from? lol Such a cool song and loved the video."

31. billy fatbowe
"......This music taste better than the music yo mama used to make.....'-)0////"

32. byron, stevens
"A great big sound that was on the Chitlin Circuit."

33. 59cadcoupe
"I bought this song when it was brand new, it was different from anything else on the radio. Still love it!

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