WFMU Ichiban, Rock and Soul with Debbie D

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Schoolgirls, Airplanes, and Motor Vehicle Operators

This ditty has been re-used, re-written, and ripped off for good and ill, which is as it should be. Everything good is a rip-off of something else. But the first Sonny Boy Williamson (John Lee "Sonny Boy" Williamson, not to be confused with Sonny Boy Williamson II, aka Sonny Boy Williamson Too, Sonny Boy Williamson Also, or Rice Miller; more on him here) is generally credited with inventing it. And maybe he did. I don't claim any scholarly high ground here. If you can read enough Document Records liner notes to figure it out without killing yourself, then god bless you.

"Good Morning Little School Girl" was popular enough that one of its verses, the one about getting an airplane and flying it all over your town, was given its own franchise with "Airplane Blues".

And then Memphis Minnie gave it new lyrics and had a big old hit with "Me and My Chauffeur Blues".  Fittingly, Chuck Berry, no slouch when it comes to songs about schoolgirls, automobiles and occasionally even airplanes, re-shaped it into "I Want To Be Your Driver", one of his many criminally under-rated mid 60's recordings.
So here are those and others, as always presented in the scratchiest fidelity available for your responsible home use as consenting adults.

Sonny Boy Williamson - Good Morning Little School Girl
Sleepy John Estes - Airplane Blues
Blind Boy Fuller - Flyin' Airplane Blues
Memphis Minnie - Me And My Chauffeur Blues (1941)
Muddy Waters - Good Morning School Girl
Nina Simone - Chauffeur
Memphis Minnie (w/Little Walter!) - Me And My Chauffeur Blues (1952)
Junior Wells & "Friendly Chap" - Good Morning Schoolgirl
Lattie Murrell - Good Morning Little School Girl
Mississippi Fred McDowell - Good Morning Little School Girl
Chuck Berry - I Want To Be Your Driver
Larry Williams - Little School Girl

Thanks to Andy Maltz for putting on his pants and leaving the house to loan me some of these recordings, and to Robert Crumb (in advance) for not suing us for using his Sleepy John Estes drawing.


dusties66 said...

The address for the Lattle Murrell version of Good Morning Schoolgirl appears to be broken.

Matt Fiveash said...

Whoops. Should be working OK now Dusties, give it another try...