No tags :(

Share it

MODERN 20-797; JANUARY 1951



Here’s the Floyd Dixon we’ve come to expect… a nasally vocalist singing original material with a dejected point of view.

As such it means here are the litany of Floyd Dixon shortcomings that we have to pick through each time out.

So the question becomes is it better to get a flawed Dixon who at least is making an attempt at creativity such as this, or were we better off yesterday when we got a better performance on a song he “borrowed” from somebody far better than he’ll ever be?

You Didn’t Do Me Right At All
To cut to the chase and to alleviate whatever concerns the closing section of the review for Doin’ The Town may have led to when I said that how a record sounds is just part of how these songs are judged – the other factor being how well they contribute to rock’s ongoing evolution – let’s just say that this side of the record is by no means better than the flip.

It doesn’t sound as good, probably because he wasn’t lifting Amos Milburn’s material in the process, but then again this side also doesn’t do a damn thing to push rock as a whole even one step further along the creative path towards tomorrow… so we’re off the hook in both regards when we criticize it for its shortcomings.

But these shortcomings are all aesthetic, not ethical (other than the fact that once again Jules Bihari stole writing credit from Dixon here, something he was adept at throughout his decades running Modern Records along with his equally scurrilous brothers Joe and Saul).

Despite being a new song unencumbered by its relation to any other previously recorded song, You Made A Fool Of Me is simply standard run-of-the-mill material from Dixon as he’s sad about the actions of a girlfriend, something that plays into his natural tone of voice which always seems as if he just emptied half of a box of tissues before the tapes rolled.


You’ll Be Sorry Someday
For some reason this is a recurring theme in the music of Floyd Dixon and while every so often it might make for an interesting topic, there’s far too many drawbacks involved when he trods the same ground every time out.

Maudlin themes lend themselves to slower paced arrangements which in turn lead to his vocals emanating from his nasal passages far more so than when he sings uptempo, or even medium tempo, songs. That’s a huge problem to overcome because it’s not a very pleasing sound and it reveals his tendency to fall flat at times.

Then there’s the related issue of his own pacing on You Made A Fool Of Me which tends not to fit that of the band, as in he doesn’t have enough lyrics to fit their framework. As a result he tries spacing the words out artificially, or worse yet, drawing out certain words over multiple measures which creates an even more awkward delivery that undercuts the emotional content even further.

All of which is a shame because the musicians he has along for the ride aren’t at fault for the record’s problems.

I Always Tried To Please You
The song itself is hardly very deep or insightful, though it’s not terrible either.

He’s recounting how he was told off by his girlfriend and is clearly hurt more than angry by the rebuke. Unfortunately he sticks to generalities rather then delves into specifics which hurts his cause, both as a singer because it gives him no good lines to sink his… ahh… nose into, but also because you tend to feel more sympathy for somebody who reveals more about their problems than someone who just makes broad claims of mistreatment.

Had he added a double-time bridge or something where he could rattle off a few sarcastic details, it’d have gone a long way to changing your opinion of You Made A Fool Of Me, giving it more bite as well as a change of pace to liven things up a bit.

Luckily the band is there to take on that task themselves and they’re the best part of the record, starting with Dixon himself on piano displaying his usual skill both in holding down the rhythm and adding enough melodic accents to keep things interesting.

But he’s hardly the only one who deserves credit as Maxwell Davis’s saxophone work is as exemplary as ever including a solo that is slow, slinky and has such great tone that it almost speaks more than the words of the song.

There’s also a guitar solo, probably handled by Chuck Norris, which picks up the pace a little at first before downshifting into a lower gear but along the way he adds so many textures in its brief time in the spotlight that it gives the record an entirely different feel, yet one that remains connected to the primary one set by Dixon. Even the two responsory notes he plays during Davis’s solo shows just how intuitive their playing was in the studio.

Musically this arrangement subtle and understated, hardly trying to do anything dynamic, but it’s a tight and effective from start to finish featuring really good musicians on top of their game.

Say what you will about the underhanded business practices of the Biharis, the reason why Modern Records’ catalog holds up the way it does is because they always employed the best studio musicians and it shows here, elevating a song that is mediocre at best into something that’s at least worth hearing.

I Know That Every Bend Can’t Turn Out To Be The Best
As one of rock’s more prolific artists of this era – even more than we chronicle, as we obviously leave out his blues selections altogether – we know full well what Dixon’s strengths and weaknesses are because they’re rarely far from sight.

You Made A Fool Of Me is no different in that regard. A portable story lacking deeper insight and sung with an affliction he can’t shake free of, yet aided by his admirable sincerity and especially the band’s stellar arrangement and performances this is more or less what you expect out of Dixon each time out.

If that’s something you have an affinity for then you’ll probably be happy he sticks to what he knows best, but if you long for something with a few new wrinkles in it, then this record, competent though it is, might be one quickly passed over in search of something more challenging.

Neither view is wrong. As always Floyd Dixon just keeps on going, head down, seemingly oblivious to the reactions, good or bad… or both, that his output receives.


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