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KING 4485; NOVEMBER 1951

 
 

 

By now all but the most fervent fan of Wynonie Harris had to know he’s peaked commercially and creatively… that it’ll be downhill from here on in.

Maybe it won’t be a rapid decline and there’s sure to be some high points along the way, but the signs are unmistakable. After a very strong 1950, Harris has been mostly forgettable in 1951. So far he’s had just one big hit for the year but otherwise he’s been average at best and with ever younger and more diverse artists popping up all over the rock spectrum over the past year time is definitely not on his side.

He’s got no cause for complaint though as one of the few acts who made a splash before rock ‘n’ roll existed who not only managed to make the transition to the new style when it came along in 1947, but who actually helped to define it. In turn rock ‘n’ roll defined him, truly a match made in heaven.

But while the success rate has slowed, his notoriety has dimmed some and there’s no longer quite as much anticipation for each upcoming release, rest assured that Wynonie Harris still knows how to draw attention to his records.

With sex of course.
 

 

Come Up To My House
Though there will be another few years of steady singles on King Records, followed by a handful of sides recorded for other labels, this record will be the last official national chart hit by Wynonie Harris.

It’s not a bad way for a ribald Lothario to exit the spotlight.

Sex was to Wynonie Harris what chicken was to Colonel Sanders. Though mainstream pop songs had danced around the subject for years using coy substitutes for the action and making sure to present it with a cheerful and harmless veneer, rock ‘n’ roll brought it to the forefront of popular culture, stripping it down to its skivvies for the world to see.

Rock songs dealt with the dirty deed in as unambiguous a fashion as was legally permissible for the early 1950’s with Harris as its main champion.

He sang about lust, not love and about rough sweaty sex, not tender romantic caressing. He sang it with a gleam in his eye – and probably with his pants around his ankles while the recording studio secretary provided “inspiration” while he performed.

Sometimes, as with I Like My Baby’s Pudding, he was shortchanged by the compositions themselves, as King Records figured his reputation and brash vocal style alone was enough to sell a salacious title, even if the content couldn’t live up to its promise.

But other times, as with Lovin’ Machine, he pulled no punches and went as far as the obscenity statutes of the day would allow… and frankly some of the lines within would escape prosecution mainly because most straitlaced prosecutors wouldn’t understand what he was referring to.

The rock audience on the other hand didn’t need any explanation at all.
 


 
 

Something You’ve Never Seen
We’ve criticized the overuse of trumpets on early rock records so many times that anyone who plays that instrument and reads this site has long since developed a complex over it, but here’s one example of how they can be properly used which may ease their minds.

The exaggerated razzing tones of the trumpets that open this record are exactly what it calls for to set the proper scene, calling attention to the off-color content to follow, sneering unapologetically in the process at what is to come before Wynonie Harris even opens his mouth.

Once he does enter the picture however he’s definitely not going to tone things down and act demure about his unquenchable urges. Nobody in rock boasted as much about their libido as Harris did and having finally exhausted – literally and figuratively I’m sure – ALL of the eligible female partners in the continental United States over the past few years, he decides that the only thing that will give him the 24 hour a day physical satisfaction he requires is a Lovin’ Machine.

That’s right, he’s laying the blueprint for vibrating sex dolls in Nineteen Fifty-One… a year in which married couples on television still slept in separate beds!

Needless to say society would hardly approve of science being used in the perverted manner that Harris envisions, but for those of you unlucky enough to have not yet found a real life female willing to undress for you and do wonderfully unspeakable acts behind closed doors, Harris has not only come up with something to fulfill your carnal needs, but also make himself money in the process, charging a nickel for its beginners course while upping the charge to a quarter for a program that is guaranteed to get results (and collect them for you to take home in a Dixie Cup!)

As with most of Harris’s songs pertaining to this delicate matter, he’s not shy about expressing his fondness for the events he describes, though admittedly without real honest to goodness girls to picture in the story we’re forced to be a little more discerning when it comes to what images we conjure up. But because he’s pushing this invention like a true believer rather than a snake oil salesman we’re prone to cast aside any concerns, moral or mechanical, and take this out for a spin ourselves.
 

 

Things Light Up
I know for the uninitiated who eagerly came to this website to learn about the birds and the bees for the first time this will be a disappointment to hear, but the particulars of what is going on once you’ve deposited your… ahh… “money” can’t be properly explained without detailed charts and diagrams. But let’s just say his unbridled enthusiasm will convince you to invest in this scientific marvel.

Don’t worry about not knowing the technical jargon he uses – such as levers and slots – because Harris has got some veteran lab assistants led by Todd Rhodes who are experts at putting such things into layman’s terms, primarily Charles “Lefty” Edwards whose tenor sax manages to hit G notes and G spots with equal measure during his solo. With future Motown star Benny Benjamin pounding out the beat, it’s safe to say that this was a session that left them all limp with exhaustion.

Now there are times where Harris’s technique might take you out of the mood so to speak, but even his clunky patter towards the end where he tries cramming in too many big words without proper lubrication could be said to provide some vital lessons for the inexperienced, both in terms of making sure the machine is well oiled, but also offering up a real life example of the need for a smoother tempo change to provide a gratifying conclusion to the performance.

No, listening to this certainly won’t replace vital real world experience in your carnal endeavors, and a Lovin’ Machine will be a bulky, expensive and potentially embarrassing contraption to have sitting around the house when company drops by, but it’s 1951 so you can always claim it’s a top secret computer and nobody will likely be any the wiser.
 

It’s Real Gone!
You’d think with all of Wynonie Harris’s conquests he might be somewhat reluctant to admit to coming up with such a convoluted device to supplement his litany of bodacious beauties, but Harris has no shame when it comes to how he tabulates orgasms in an average day.

Whether underage girls (Good Morning Judge) or senior citizens (Sittin’ On It All The Time), drunk or sober, innocent waifs or those who’ve been around the block a few hundred times, Harris takes what he can find… and then takes some more while he’s at it.

He’ll also be glad to take your woman if you’re daft enough to turn your back on him for a split second and so whatever your personal opinion of the ethics of an artificial Lovin’ Machine, maybe you should be glad this might wear down his motor just a little and keep him from climbing through your bedroom window already looking for his fourth or fifth quickie in the neighborhood when you head off to work in the morning.

But even though this single concludes his official recognition as one of rock’s biggest studs, you gotta admit it’s a pretty enjoyable climax.
 
 
SPONTANEOUS LUNACY VERDICT:

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 
(Visit the Artist page of Wynonie Harris for the complete archive of his records reviewed to date)