Monday, August 22, 2011

Hank Ballard And The Midnighters - "Let's Go, Let's Go, Let's Go" - King, 1960

I play this one all the time, a great, great tune that just puts a smile on my face.
Hank Ballard is a GIANT, I tell you.  Maybe you've heard this song before.  Or that scorcher "Work With Me Annie". Or maybe you've heard that little tune called "The Twist", which was in no small part responsible for the 60's dance craze scene.  In the mid-50's, Hank Ballard had a big hand in creating Rock and Roll.
Hank was a Detroit, Michigan native; performing young in church and enjoying the sounds of singing cowboy Gene Autry. In '53, he joined up with The Royals,  but they had to change their name to avoid confusion with The Five Royales.  Their first big hit was in '54, "Work With Me Annie" - a huge tune with a not so subtle sexual message.
"Work with me Annie,
Let's get it while the gettin' is good!
(So Good! So Good! So Good!)"
"Annie" led to a number of answer songs like "Annie Had a Baby" and "Annie's Aunt Fannie". In '54, they released respectable ballad "Tearsdrops On Your Letter", but the B-side was a monster that was a number 1 hit for Chubby Checker (twice!), "The Twist".
From Wikipedia: "Ballard & the Midnighters had several other hit singles through 1961, including the Grammy-nominated "Finger Poppin' Time" and "Let's Go, Let's Go, Let's Go" which hit number 7 and number 6, respectively, on the Billboard pop charts."
The band split in '65, never again reaching those early peaks. Hank Ballard did release a few more singles and a James Brown produced album.  He passed away in 2003.
Syd and Hank
Based out of Cincinnati, Ohio, King Records put out too many brilliant records to name.  Syd Nathan started the label in '43, originally focusing on country or "hillbilly" music.  But RnB really picked up at King and sister label Federal starting in the 50's.  We're talking guys like James Brown, Bill Doggett, Charlie Feathers, Wynonie Harris, Joe Tex, etc, etc. I've been seeing Federal repros about; so do yourself a favor and buy some!

And, the clip:

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