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MODERN 20-781; NOVEMBER 1950



Maybe someone made a mistake and labeled them wrong.

Maybe fearing censorship of the other side due to its sexualized theme Modern Records was making a calculated play to ensure this release wasn’t blackballed entirely by jukebox distributors or record stores by promoting this more acceptable song.

Maybe because this was a solo performance by Little Willie Littlefield, their reigning star, it was in their best interest to keep him happy and designate the cut where nobody but him is heard on it as the top side of the single.

Or maybe considering the downcast romantic theme of this one and the exultant celebration of deeply satisfying sex between loving partners on the other, it tells us that the Bihari Brothers were all involuntarily celibate and weren’t about to let others have fun singing about getting some while they were each going home alone at night.


Please Give Me A Chance
Let’s state something right away so nobody is mislead into thinking this cut isn’t worth their time or effort to hear it…

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with this side of the record. It’s well written, sung and played from front to back with a solid story and an appropriate mood that’s being cast by everyone involved.

But the other side, Ain’t A Better Story Told, is absolute perfection. Everything about it is flawless, from the sly story that somehow disguises its explicit nature with deft wordplay, to a rolling groove that makes it immensely pleasurable in its own right without necessarily feeling the need to satisfy your hormonal urges right then and there.

By comparison You’ll Never Miss A Good Woman ‘Till She’s Gone is more of a workmanlike effort. It gets the job done for sure, but it’s just that the job itself isn’t nearly as enjoyable as the carnal displays of the other side.

To each their own though… there’s certainly no shame in moaning about your loneliness while you lose all hope for ever being loved again. It’s a perfectly valid form of expression… cathartic even.

Maybe when all is said and done Littlefield – and those preferring this side – will recover enough from their rejection to seek out a new partner who might satisfy them as much as the one you lost that put you in such a dark place to begin with.

But for our own peace of mind let’s hope that Willie sang this one first and THEN met Laura Wiggins who got his mind off such morose topics as this by some X-rated means or another.

When You Think You’re Right
The slow deliberate piano sets a dour mood to start with. Even with a few flourishes at the end you know full well what you’re in for even before Maxwell Davis’s mournful sax comes in to reinforce this perception.

When Littlefield enters the picture, his nasal tones making him sound even more despondent, the scene is set. We know he’s got romantic troubles to deal with and we know that by the end of the record he’ll be no better off than he is at the start.

But that’s alright, because it’s not our hearts that are in peril here, we’re just neutral observes to HIS misery and if he’s able to tell us about it in an interesting descriptive way before he keels over with grief, all the better.

You’ll Never Miss A Good Woman ‘Till She’s Gone is about what you’d expect from the title, Littlefield accepting blame and asking for forgiveness for whatever his transgressions were that caused his woman to leave him. The halting delivery sounds a little asthmatic maybe, but at least it suits the mood he’s going for. The real problem in forging a deeper connection though is because he doesn’t offer any details about their broken relationship aside from a vague admission of guilt there’s not much here to go on when forming our opinion of his plight.

He certainly sounds sorry, but he also sounds sad, so there’s a chance he’s only sorry that he’s alone which makes him sad rather than being sorry for what she left him over. Then again it could be he’s sorry that he’s sad and the only way to rectify that is to tell her he’s sorry but leave out the reasons why.

I wish I could delve into this more but there’s honestly more words in the title itself than there are in the rest of the song (and some of the words he manages to add he gets wrong) making this more of an exercise in near-catatonic grief than a true mea culpa.

Luckily for Littlefield he’s got Maxwell Davis as a grief counselor – err…… producer that is, and he makes sure to give Willie the support group he needs to get through this ordeal.


Love You So
Any time you have the two names already mentioned you’re going to have a good musical track. Little Willie Littlefield was a really good pianist and Maxwell Davis an incredible sax player, both of whom were known for their judgement in what to play – and what not to play – as much as for their technical skills themselves.

Both deliver good parts on You’ll Never Miss A Good Woman ‘Till She’s Gone as Littlefield’s stabbing piano backed by sluggish drums forms the primary rhythmic bed while Davis’s sax comes in to add some color, drawing out his lines as a way to sort of speed up the ponderous pace while at the same time not outracing the song itself since he’s merely extending notes rather than adding more of them.

Willie’s playing adjusts during these sections as well, the left hand keeping things in the slow lane while he breaks off some quick patterns with his right that are the aural equivalent of running in place, making you think you’re getting somewhere when in fact you stay right where you are.

It’s the kind of thing Davis was known for, adapting to the peculiar requirements of a given song in a way that won’t overshadow it, yet still provide more than just a mundane track that has no character to it.

Where things pick up however is in the break where the guitarist, Chuck Norris I’m guessing, throws a wrinkle into the proceedings with a sparse solo that coaxes so many sounds from his guitar, sharp and stinging as well as cool and soothing, that it winds up offering far more commentary on the story than Willie himself is giving us. Even the long pauses between certain passages are revealing in a way, suggesting that the character is not able to process what’s going on and is trying to work his way through it with little success.

All told it’s another solid unpretentious track by Davis ideally suited for a solid unpretentious record.

Now I Know
Just how appealing that record is when all is said and done is another question.

Unlike the top side where your appreciation of what they were doing increased the more closely you paid attention to the details, you’d probably enjoy You’ll Never Miss A Good Woman ‘Till She’s Gone a little more the LESS you focused on it. In passing the despondent mood envelops you and you get enough of a sense of what Littlefield is going through to feel some sympathy for him. When you pull up a chair and ask him to explain his situation however you learn little and soon are looking for an exit.

It’s not that you don’t care about his happiness, it’s just you have your own happiness to consider and he’s just feeling sorry for himself and that’s sometimes best done in privacy. It’s still a pretty good record by a good artist with a very good arrangement so you won’t regret giving it a spin, but you’ll surely be flipping it back over for another romp with him and Wiggins which is a helluva lot more fun.

So maybe the best way to view this song is that after partaking – even vicariously – in the bedroom antics of the the other side, you’ll need something in the slow lane like this in order to wind down.


(Visit the Artist page of Little Willie Littlefield for the complete archive of his records reviewed to date)