Good Morning, School Girl

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"Good Morning, School Girl"
Single by Sonny Boy Williamson I
B-side "Sugar Mama Blues"
Released 1937 (1937)
Format Ten-inch 78 rpm record
Recorded Aurora, Illinois
May 5, 1937 (1937-05-05)
Genre Blues
Length 3:00
Label Bluebird (Cat. no. 7059)
Sonny Boy Williamson I singles chronology
"Got Bottle Up & Gone"/ "Skinny Woman"
(1937)
"Good Morning, School Girl"
(1937)
"Blue Bird Blues"/ "Jackson Blues"
(1937)

"Good Morning, School Girl" is a blues standard which has been called "an important influence in Chicago blues".[1] The song was first recorded by pre-war Chicago blues vocalist and harmonica pioneer John Lee "Sonny Boy" Williamson in 1937. A variety of artists have recorded versions of the song, usually calling it "Good Morning Little Schoolgirl".[2]

Original song[edit]

Sonny Boy Williamson I recorded "Good Morning, School Girl" in 1937 during his first recording session for Bluebird Records. The song is an uptempo blues with an irregular number of bars.[3] Although identified with Chicago blues, "it was a product of Sonny Boy’s west Tennessee roots and his pre-Chicago ensemble work".[1] The melody has been traced to “Back and Side Blues”, a 1934 blues song recorded by Son Bonds. "Good Morning, School Girl" features Williamson's vocal and harmonica with accompaniment by Big Joe Williams and Robert Lee McCoy (also known as Robert Nighthawk) on guitars.

Blues versions[edit]

Texas bluesman Smokey Hogg recorded his version, calling it "Little School Girl". In 1950, the song reached number five on the Billboard R&B chart.[4] In the late 1950s and early 1960s, several versions of "Good Morning Little Schoolgirl" were recorded as acoustic country-style blues, including versions by John Lee Hooker, Lightnin' Hopkins, Mississippi Fred McDowell, Muddy Waters and Doctor Ross. In 1965, Junior Wells with Buddy Guy recorded it as a Chicago blues, with a distinctive guitar and bass line, for their influential Hoodoo Man Blues album. McDowell included a 1971 performance on Live in New York and in 1978, Muddy Waters recorded an updated rendition for I'm Ready.

Don and Bob/Yardbirds version[edit]

In 1961, Don Level and Bob Love, as the R&B duo "Don and Bob", recorded a different version of "Good Morning Little Schoolgirl" for Argo Records, a Chess subsidiary. Although it uses the phrase "good morning little schoolgirl", the song has different chord changes and lyrics, including references to popular dance styles of the time.[5] The Yardbirds with Eric Clapton later covered this version of "Good Morning, Little Schoolgirl" for their second UK single in 1964.[5] The song reached number 49 in the UK[6] and although the single was not released in the US, it was included on the Yardbirds' first American album, For Your Love. A live version of the song was included on Five Live Yardbirds, which featured Clapton and bassist Paul Samwell-Smith providing the vocals instead of lead singer Keith Relf.[7] The Yardbirds versions were credited to "H.G. Demarais" (aka Dee Marais, a Shreveport, Louisisana, record label owner/distributor and business associate of Leonard Chess), although some later reissues are credited to Sonny Boy Williamson; the original Don and Bob single list the writers as "Level-Love".[8]

Recognition and legacy[edit]

In 1990, Sonny Boy Williamson I's "Good Morning, School Girl" was inducted into the Blues Foundation Hall of Fame in the "Classics of Blues Recordings – Single or Album Track" category.[1] The song has been "covered countless times across the decades".[2] Examples include:[9] Chuck Berry, Paul Butterfield, Devil In A Woodpile, Grateful Dead, Gov't Mule, Jonny Lang, Huey Lewis and the News, Van Morrison, Paul Rodgers with Jeff Beck, Rod Stewart, Taj Mahal, Ten Years After, the Derek Trucks Band, Johnny Winter, and Widespread Panic. The Allman Brothers Band played it in the first set of their final concert at the Beacon Theater in New York on October 28, 2014.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "1990 Classics of Blues Recordings – Single or Album Track". Blues Hall of Fame Inductees Winners. The Blues Foundation. 1990. Retrieved September 20, 2010. 
  2. ^ a b Dahl, Bill (1996). Erlewine, Michael, ed. Sonny Boy Wiliamson [I]. All Music Guide to the Blues (Miller Freeman Books). p. 283. ISBN 0-87930-424-3. 
  3. ^ The Blues. Hal Leonard Corporation. 1995. p. 75. ISBN 0-7935-5259-1. 
  4. ^ Whitburn, Joel (1988). Top R&B Singles 1942–1988. Record Research, Inc. p. 192. ISBN 0-89820-068-7. 
  5. ^ a b O'Neal, Jim (January–February 2006), "Good Morning, Little School Girl", Living Blues (181) 
  6. ^ "Yardbirds – Singles". Official Charts. Official Charts Company. Retrieved June 2, 2013. 
  7. ^ Five Live Yardbirds (Album notes). The Yardbirds. Charly Records. 
  8. ^ "Don & Bob". RYM. Retrieved June 2, 2013. 
  9. ^ "Good Morning Little School Girl – Song Search Results". AllMusic. Rovi Corp. Retrieved June 2, 2013.