Monday, January 4, 2010

Ten: Big Ten Inch Record

Bull Moose Jackson: Big Ten Inch Record


I remember this as if it happened yesterday. It was 1975 and Aerosmith had just released Toys In The Attic. By the release of that album, I was already a hardcore Aerosmith fan. One afternoon my father dropped over, during which time I was playing the LP and it was on the last track on side one, Big Ten Inch Record. Now I always read the liner notes and checked the label for the writer's credits but at 19 years old I sure didn't know who Fred Weismantel was. And without the benefit of the internet, it wasn't always as easy as it is now to do research on such things. When my dad came in and heard their version of the song playing, he simply said, "I know that one, it's an old blues tune. We used to dance to it."

When the song was released in 1952, the B side to 'I Need You', it was considered too risque for airplay and was banned from the airwaves. Loaded with double entendre,it was easy to figure out the song's true meaning. But that, apparently didn't stop my dad! And some twenty years later that didn't really matter much. But what I took away from that was a new realization that a lot of the songs that I liked way back then were actually covers of old blues tunes. After that enlightenment, I started to really pay attention and my love for the blues was born.

Bull Moose Jackson was born Benjamin Clarence Jackson in Cleveland Ohio on April 22,1919. He learned the sax and started his first band, The Harlem Hotshots, while still in high school. By 1943 he was recruited to play the sax for Lucky Millinder's band and began singing when he was needed to sub for Wynonie Harris. It was during this stint with Millinder where he got his nickname for his appearance. In 1948 he had a double-sided hit with 'All My Love Belongs to You' and 'I Want a Bowlegged Woman'. In 1961, he had a minor hit with ' I Love You, Yes I Do'.

The Moose lost his battle with lung cancer and passed away in 1989.

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