Sunday, December 16, 2012

Willie Mabon - I'm The Fixer/ Too Hot To Handle

Willie was a handsome stylish man who always looked sharp in his tuxedo. His sly, insinuating vocals and chunky piano style won the heart of many an R&B fan during the early '50s. His other Chess r&b hits I'm Mad (number 1 in 1953) and Mel London's Poison Ivy (number 8 in 1954) established the pianist as a genuine Chicago blues force (listed in Cash Box's top 25 R &B stars of 1955 along with Muddy, Wolf, Walter and Lowell Fulson), but he faded as an R&B hitmaker as rock & roll ruled the waves . Chess were crafty enough to record a female answer to I'm Mad, I'm Glad by Mitzi Mars. Throughout his Chess tenure, piano and sax were consistently to the fore rather than guitar and harp, emphasizing Mabon's cool R&B approach. Willie's original version ofWillie Dixon's hoodoo-driven The Seventh Son was less successful in 1955, the remainder of his fine Chess catalogue also missed out on the rock n roll boom.
Willie never regained his momentum after leaving Chess in 1956. He stopped at Federal in 1957, Mad in 1960, Formal in 1962 (where he stirred up some local sales with his leering "Got to Have Some"), and USA in 1963-64. Willie sat out much of the late '60s but came back strong after moving to Paris in 1972, recording and touring Europe prolifically until his death. He played many of the big European festivals in Montreux, Berlin and Holland.

A mod favourite from the early 60's and perhaps the most well known track by Willie. Both sides of the single can also be found on both lp's I've posted earlier.


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