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KING 4491; OCTOBER 1951



Oh god, what fresh hell is this?

Always a promising way to start a review, isn’t it?

Of course looking at the title of this – and the flip side – surely justifies such a knee-jerk reaction as we’ve been handed another record by a top flight creative artist who was reduced to hastily covering a fellow rock act’s huge hit in an attempt to siphon off some sales and spins from the original while simultaneously running the risk that by doing so you might just derail Earl Bostic’s own rising hit which was released this very same month.

In case you somehow needed any MORE proof, that’s the shortsighted record biz for you in a nutshell.


I Didn’t Mean To Stay So Long
Despite their unquestioned pedigree as the top label in all of rock, not even King Records was immune from the detestable practice of covering current hits when the mood struck.

That they were successful enough without resorting to this however makes their decision to haul saxophonist Earl Bostic in at the start of October with the explicit instructions to cover two songs currently residing in the Top Ten was all the more bewildering since Bostic’s Flamingo, which would become his own biggest seller of his career, was hot off the presses at the same time.

It’d be one thing if Bostic had been in a prolonged creative and commercial slump as of late, but his own Sleep, released last spring, was still on the charts at this time so he hardly needed any career boost… not that I Got Loaded would give it to him if he had been so desperate.

The reason for this is because it’s not really an Earl Bostic record, even though he (presumably) plays on it and it came out under his name.

Instead it’s another showcase for Clyde Terrell, a vocalist who’d have a lengthy career in a variety of styles over the years and who’d already appeared on a few of Bostic’s singles without making much of an impression.

Why King Records couldn’t have released it under Terrell’s name instead is anybody’s guess, for at least then we wouldn’t have dueling Earl Bostic records on the market, nor would his fans be expecting sax pyrotechnics when they cued this one up.

I Fell Down On The Floor
You know you’re in trouble on an Earl Bostic record when it’s not his alto sax that’s the most prominent instrument you hear pouring out of your speakers when it kicks off, but rather a guitar.

That’s not to say horns aren’t present here, but they’re rather subdued most of the time… in fact the entire backing track sounds somewhat distant, mixed too low or positioned too far back from the microphones in the era before universal multi-track recordings.

Whatever the case I Got Loaded will be left to sink or swim on Clyde Terrell’s vocal prowess and while he’s a competent singer, he’s not a very engaging one. Whereas Peppermint Harris, the author and originator of the song, had convincingly embodied a drunk right down to the way he seemed to be singing with his eyes at half mast with a sloppy grin on his face while half in the bag, Terrell sounds perfectly sober which begs the question… what’s the damn point of the song NOW?

He’s supposed to be making excuses to his woman for coming home plastered and yet unless she had the ability to pick up scents like a bloodhound, she’d have no idea he had even a thimbleful of booze the way he sounds here.

Furthermore without the inebriated vocal qualities the song itself, while still telling a good story, can no longer convey the same humor because we can’t picture ol’ Clyde trying to convince his little lady that he was in fact ready to leave the bar while still in control of his faculties but was hauled back for another round against his better judgement.

All of that means that surely this modest reading is going to have something to offer from our host, the estimable Mr. Bostic, to make this worth hearing in lieu of a better vocal performance, but while we do get a solo that shows some grit on the first few notes, it quickly hands that back with an underwhelming close to the instrumental section which lasts all of ten measly seconds, half of which are as potent as a watered down drink.

In fact it’s doubtful it even is Earl Bostic, for despite his ability to make the alto sound like a tenor, he tends to make it sound like a GOOD tenor, not a duck with a head cold, so chances are it’s Wilbur Campbell which means that Bostic may not have even been in the studio and they’re just using his name to sell an ill-conceived cover record that nobody asked for and – thankfully – nobody wanted and therefore left it untouched in the bins as it deserved.


While It Was Going Down
The amazing thing about the entire cover record trend, which unfortunately is going to be a frequent topic here over the next four years of rock ‘n’ roll, is how unambitious it was at its core.

We’ll put aside questions of fairness to other artists who saw their big breaks getting ripped off before they were fully able to cash in on them in some cases, and we’ll also table the debate about what it says of the cover artist themselves who’ve agreed to take part in such creatively bankrupt endeavors and instead we’ll focus on the one overriding issue that made the entire movement bound for destruction and that is…

Why were they so BAD at it?

In other words, rather than take a good song and completely rearrange it, which with Bostic would’ve been easy simply by turning it into an exotic instrumental, they instead let a singer bring nothing new to the table on I Got Loaded unless you feel his sobriety which contradicts the entire theme is a stroke of inspiration.

As distasteful as this entire practice was, even more so if Bostic didn’t participate and had his name dragged through the mud anyway, we at least owe it to them to state that while there may be nothing inspired here to report, Terrell and company manage not to mangle the song altogether.

But when the best you can say is it’s an inoffensively worthless performance, I’m sure that’s not the kind of quote they’ll be clipping for their scrapbooks any time soon.


(Visit the Artist page of Earl Bostic for the complete archive of his records reviewed to date)

Spontaneous Lunacy has reviewed other versions of this song you may be interested in:

Peppermint Harris (July, 1951)