Morning Song – Mockingbird
Look for the origins of “Mockingbird” and you’ll find it’s taken (first by Inez Foxx and her brother Charlie) from “a traditional lullaby, thought to have been written in the Southern United States. Its author and date of origin are unknown“.
Folklorist John Lomax first got “Hush Little Baby” from Annie Brewer in Montgomery, Alabama back in 1937. So, from “Anonymous” to Annie Brewer to John Lomax to Inez & Charlie Foxx—who transmute it from a lullaby to an exuberant love song—to, well, just about everybody.
After 1963 “Mockingbird” gets covered by everyone from Dusty Springfield to the Belle Stars to Toby Keith, but most famously by James Taylor and Carly Simon. (Taylor’s tenor is a near-perfect match for Charlie Foxx’s.)
So what do blues veterans Taj Mahal and Etta James bring* to it? A rollicking New Orleans shuffle, a second-lining horn section, and enough grown wo/man experience to make you believe that love can be even more fun the second time around.
Works for me.
*Regular readers know this little blog’s First Rule Of Cover Songs: you’ve got to bring something new to it.