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One of the things you should learn growing up, and this applies to all tumultuous situations in life but we’ll stick to relationships in this discussion, is to never react emotionally in the heat of the moment.

Take a deep breath… go for a walk outside… sleep on it… whatever method you choose has to allow for enough time for your visceral response to diminish without allowing it to see the light of day, because that’s when you’ll say something you’ll regret. Whether it’s trying to hurt the one you love or show the one you love that you’ve been hurt by them, the immediate flood of emotions is bound to overwhelm your senses and make matters worse.

Of course it should go without saying that when you’ve been cheated on, dumped or had your heart broken and are so devastated you can barely think straight, let alone address the person responsible in a calm, rational and controlled manner, the WORST thing you can do is to make a record blubbering about your feelings and release it to the public to show the world just how overwrought you are.

But then again how many of you have that chance? Hmm?


Ain’t Gonna Do That No More
Though we make fun of it here, the above life lesson hasn’t changed in centuries… other than the lack of record companies to put out such documents of your emotional breakdown… but it’s frankly amazing how human beings are considered “evolved” and yet still make the same fundamental mistakes, one generation after the next.

Of course today we have even more ways to humiliate yourself for sport with limitless social media outlets at your disposal plus the cameras and video recorders we all have in our pockets. With all that available to humiliate them in public fashion you’d think we’d become more guarded, not less, but humans always let their emotions get the best of them in situations like this.

If there’s one redeeming factor you can point to about it I suppose, it’s that if and when they DO overreact publicly, it at least shows how much they care about the outcome.

An outcome they’ve now rendered all but unsalvageable by claiming they’re Wise To You Baby after being callously treated by their partner.

Sure, when they’re guilty of all the things that this woman Rosco Gordon is talking about seems to have done, maybe they deserve to have shots taken at them like this, but if in doing so it winds up making you look bad too, not for being complicit in the bad deeds per say, but just in the fact you obviously can’t get over the pain you’re feeling, maybe it’s best to keep a stiff upper lip and keep those thoughts to yourself.

But when all of that hurt is building up inside of you, sometimes the only release is to vent about it as Gordon does here.

That doesn’t always mean it’s something we eagerly want to hear however.


As Soon As My Back Is Turned
With a slow foreboding introduction of piano, bass and drums, marching in lockstep as if to the electric chair, you know this isn’t likely to be a record you’ll be dancing to, smooching to, or partying to and that suspicion is confirmed as soon as Rosco Gordon opens his mouth and sounds as if he’s been crying for the last twenty minutes, his stuffed nasal passages barely allowing him to get the words out clearly.

Hardly the greeting most rock fans are hoping for when cueing up a new record but these kinds of stories can be rewarding on an observational level, as long as they don’t hit too close to home in any listener’s personal life.

That’s not going to be much of a problem for anyone listening to Wise To You Baby however, for even though it’s pretty certain that a lot of the audience felt the same way as Gordon does here at one time or another, when they’re in that state of mind the last thing they’re going to be doing is gently dropping the needle into the groove of a record because doing so would cause you to spill the whiskey you’ve been downing to kill your pain, or to drop the razor blade you’ve taken out to slice your throat.

Gordon is a mess here and I don’t mean his singing, though that’s hardly neat and orderly either. Rather it’s his characterization that causes uneasiness in us because he’s taking overreaction to the extreme. Yes, I know he’s been betrayed by someone he loved and trusted and has every right to be upset. So then dump her ass, block her number and move on in a hurry… we’re all for that.

But instead he’s claiming he’s writing off ALL women because of this one’s actions. Not just that, he’s telling US to stop seeing girls “because the woman ain’t gonna treat you right”.

Speak for yourself, Rosco. I know it probably seems as though they’re all cut from the same cloth, but they aren’t, just as guys aren’t either. For instance, not all guys would be crying and moaning like you are because one girl who (according to you) was perpetually drunk, happened to be untrue. If we took your advice then where would we be?

Probably sitting next to you on a barstool somewhere talking about photosynthesis or some other stimulating topic we looked to fill the endless nights spent without curvy company.

Besides, without girls to fall for in the first place, how would we write, sing or listen to all the love songs that have made rock ‘n’ roll so enjoyable during its first five years of existence?


I Know Just What You’re Putting Down
The thing is, as unappealing as his overall position is, and as uncomfortable as his weepy performance makes us, the rest of this record is far from terrible. In fact, some of it is quite good.

The tension created in the arrangement with the droning horns keeping a slow and steady melodic underpinning that Gordon continually breaks free of in his misery is very well done and the sax solo manages to be enjoyable even as it can’t do much to break the spell of gloom he’s cast.

As a result we’re kind of torn by Wise To You Baby. Gordon’s performance is entirely appropriate for the situation he’s put himself in but we just don’t like him putting US in the situation as innocent bystanders.

We may not agree with his outlook, we may find fault with his reaction and desperately hope to avoid being implicated by his behavior if we’re seen consoling him, but we can’t fault the performance much, especially that of The Beale Streeters behind him who once again show their value matches their lofty reputation.

Though it comes without enthusiasm for the image it conveys, we’re still compelled to judge the record fairly and it does reflect this unfortunate mindset he’s suffering from pretty accurately.

Let’s hope for his sake though – but mostly for ours – that by his next release someone new will have caught his eye and he’ll be a lot more upbeat and optimistic again, allowing us to relax and listen in comfort without having to worry being dragged into his messy affairs.


(Visit the Artist page of Rosco Gordon for the complete archive of his records reviewed to date)