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There are two ways to look at the contents of this record which pairs Floyd Dixon with Mari Jones, the underage female vocalist in Johnny Moore’s Three Blazers with whom he’s now recording for Aladdin Records.

The first is that we need to be really concerned about his decisions in life, for this is coming just a month after Dixon told us he “liked them young when they’re in their prime” on the salacious Girl Fifteen, to which Jones replied she was “old enough for you”, even stating they’d have to arrest her to if the police came for him.

Apparently they avoided prosecution somehow, presumably by getting married down South where you barely needed to reach puberty to tie the knot, and it would seem as though he’s already knocked her up and is keeping house with her which could possibly make us accessories for supporting their union by raving about these records.

The OTHER way to look at this however is to state unequivocally that we don’t care about their illicit romance provided that the records they’re making together remain every bit as good as that last one.


I Swear You Know Your Stuff
Floyd Dixon has been one of the more vexing artists to cover around here, for while he continually ventured into rock over the course of his long career, he was also equally prolific in slow cocktail blues and even dabbled in more down home country blues from time to time.

Yet just when you think he’s going to settle into one realm, such as agreeing to front Johnny Moore’s Three Blazers, the preeminent cocktail blues outfit in the land, that’s when he drags them into the rock field on a succession of releases that are far more appropriate for rock ‘n’ roll than a lot of his solo sides we’ve covered.

Go figure.

Here on Real Lovin’ Mama he gives us yet another saucy duet with Mari Jones, the real life girlfriend of Johnny Moore despite her being a teenager at the time. You’d think they’d all want to sidestep the scrutiny of such questionable activities that bragging about it on record would bring, yet Dixon penned his last record to shine a light directly on it.

Now he’s at it again working atop a solid, if slightly mild, rhythm track laid down by The Three Blazers while he ramps things up with his delivery and lyrics that are racy enough to draw smiles as the two singers trade barbs – and sexual suggestiveness – with obvious relish.

This is what rock ‘n’ roll is all about, isn’t it? Simple, to the point and pulling no punches. What’s not to admire?


Look At Me
The story – if that’s what you want to call it – is kind of scattershot, with Dixon and Jones clearly digging each other, at least in bed, while at the same time casually tossing around insults about how one another looks.

It doesn’t make much sense, nor is it probably intended to, but since the lines themselves are humorous and the way in which they deliver them acknowledge that fact by never sounding very serious about actually putting the other down and making them feel bad, the whole thing comes across as an enjoyable and lively exchange designed to one-up each other, like a game of The Dozens.

The best exchange comes early when Jones responding to Dixon’s comment about the size of her ass by telling him “the shape of mine has caused many a wreck”, suggesting that he’s one of the guys who has run aground on her hips over the years.

Of course the question has to be raised as to just when she developed physically since she’s so damn young, but since presumably the majority of listeners at the time didn’t know this – as Real Lovin’ Mama makes no mention of her age, unlike the previous release – we’ll ignore the obvious impropriety over that crucial detail and just focus on the performances themselves which are never less than entertaining.

Dixon and Jones have good rapport, shifting the way they deliver the lines as if it’s an actual dialogue rather than just reciting the lyrics on a lead sheet (though it WAS Dixon who wrote them, so he’d know how they should be put across).

Despite the put-downs you always get the sense they’re really into each other and it’s amorous rather than acrimonious, allowing you to take the insults with a few pounds of salt rather than just a grain of it.

Came Out Of The Graveyard
One thing that sometimes doesn’t get acknowledged enough is that musicians are a lot more versatile than their own catalog often reveals but because we’re accustomed to hearing them play in a single style they don’t always get a chance to show this facet of their abilities off in a public fashion.

To that end seeing the name Johnny Moore’s Three Blazers on a song by Floyd Dixon, who often DID venture into cocktail blues under his own volition, you’d expect this would be a slow, downcast sort of record… Dixon’s piano, some muted guitar licks and a faint beat.

Instead Real Lovin’ Mama is a solid rocker, churning effectively, holding the rhythm throughout and capped off by a strong tenor sax by producer Maxwell Davis which removes any vestiges of the cocktail blues idiom from the equation by its mere presence.

It’s the ideal example of cultural transformation… certainly not a permanent one by any means, but one that shows that you can adapt to changes in music if you want and do it well enough not to be called out on it in a negative way.

Because Davis’s sax dominates the arrangement the other musicians, including Moore and his brother Oscar (both excellent guitarists) remain in supporting roles but they make their moments count, contributing immeasurable textures to the song while Dixon’s rolling piano boogie locks everything down.

The sax solo though is where the real action lays, adding excitement without ever losing control and featuring the tone that would be picked up on by most tenor players on vocal records over the next decade… the 50’s rock sound in a nutshell.

That the rest of the band was a 40’s cocktail blues outfit adapting to the new landscape so well was a sign of just where the larger music scene was gravitating towards. Rock ‘n’ roll was no longer the upstart genre, it was the trendsetter.


You Gave Me A Thrill
Considering that Floyd Dixon had been selling consistently over the past few years, the lack of widespread interest in two of his most invigorating records which were cut for one of the top rock labels in the nation was surprising. In fact it’d be the flip side, Telephone Blues, a song firmly in the cocktail blues bag that became the huge hit.

With our recent decision to cut back on reviewing the songs from rock artists that fall more outside of the rock genre we won’t cover that one here, even though in its own field it’s quite good.

But so is this one and while Real Lovin’ Mama may be a notch below the first side released with Mari Jones last month, it still manages to prove beyond any doubt that in spite of his ongoing association with other styles there’s no debating that Dixon was a stellar rock act all along.

Sometimes that versatility might’ve hurt him when it came to really establishing himself at the forefront of any one movement, but when looking back on his career it gives him the kind of diversity that allows you to cherry pick whatever sides resonate with your musical tastes the most.

For rock fans there’s little doubt cuts like this were what you’d gravitate towards and reconfirms that there will always be room at the table for Floyd Dixon whenever he delivers songs like these.


(Visit the Artist page of Floyd Dixon for the complete archive of his records reviewed to date)