Just a Little Bit (Rosco Gordon song)

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"Just a Little Bit"
Single by Rosco Gordon
B-side "Goin' Home"
Released 1959 (1959)
Format Seven-inch 45 rpm record
Recorded 1959
Genre Blues
Length 2:05
Label Vee-Jay (no. 332)
Rosco Gordon singles chronology
"A Fool in Love"/ "No More Doggin'" (remake)
(1959)
"Just a Little Bit"
(1959)
"Surely I Love You"/ "What You Do To Me"
(1960)

"Just a Little Bit" is an R&B-style blues song recorded by Rosco Gordon in 1959. It was a hit in both the R&B and pop charts. Called "one of the standards of contemporary blues,"[1] "Just a Little Bit" has been recorded by a variety of artists, including Little Milton and Roy Head who also had record chart successes with the song.

Background[edit]

"Just a Little Bit" was developed when Rosco Gordon was touring with West Coast blues artist Jimmy McCracklin. According to Gordon, McCracklin started to write the song and agreed that Gordon could finish it with both of them sharing the credit.[2] Gordon later presented a demo version to Ralph Bass at King Records, who was reportedly uninterested in the song.[2] Gordon then approached Calvin Carter at Vee-Jay Records, who agreed to record it. Meanwhile, Federal Records, a King Records subsidiary released a version of "Just a Little Bit" by R&B singer Tiny Topsy (1959 Federal 45-12357),[3] with songwriting credit given to Ralph Bass and several others unknown to Gordon.[2] The Tiny Topsy song, featuring a pop-style arrangement with background singers and flute, did not reach the record charts.[4]

Rosco Gordon song[edit]

Rosco Gordon's "Just a Little Bit" was released in late 1959 and entered the Billboard R&B chart in February 1960. An early review described the song as "a rhymba [rhumba] blues",[5] a reference to Gordon's "slightly shambolic, loping style of piano shuffle called 'Rosco's Rhythm'".[6] The original Vee-Jay single lists Gordon as the songwriter, although some later issues (and versions by other artists) list Bass and others as the writers.[7] "Just a Little Bit" was Rosco Gordon's fourth (and last) single to enter the R&B chart, where it reached number two during a stay of seventeen weeks in 1960.[8] "Just a Little Bit" also appeared in the Hot 100 at number 64, making it Gordon's only song to enter the pop chart.

Influence and other recordings[edit]

According to music writer Steve Turner, the opening horn line of the original Roscoe Gordon version influenced Paul McCartney during the writing of the Beatles hit "Birthday".[9] Several musicians have recorded "Just a Little Bit". In 1965, Roy Head had a Top 40 pop hit with the song and when Little Milton recorded it in 1969 (Checker 1217), it reached number 13 in the R&B chart and number 97 in the pop chart.[10] Other recordings include: Them (for their 1965 album The Angry Young Them); Etta James (1967 Tell Mama); Magic Sam (1968 Black Magic); Elvis Presley (1973 Raised on Rock/For Ol' Times Sake); Jerry Lee Lewis (1974 Southern Roots); Slade (1974 Old New Borrowed and Blue); The Animals (1977 Before We Were So Rudely Interrupted); Joe Louis Walker (1990 Live at Slim's, Vol. 2); and Johnny Winter (1997 Live in NYC '97).[11]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Herzhaft, Gerard (1992). "Just a Little Bit". Encyclopedia of the Blues. University of Arkansas Press. p. 456. ISBN 1-55728-252-8. 
  2. ^ a b c Dallas, Karl (July 30, 2002). "Rosco Gordon (Obituary)". The Independent. Retrieved May 1, 2011. 
  3. ^ Gordon recalled this as taking place in 1958; Billboard shows the releases in 1959.
  4. ^ Whitburn, Joel (1988). Top R&B Singles 1942–1988. Record Research, Inc. ISBN 0-89820-068-7. 
  5. ^ "Rosco Gordon – Just a Little Bit". Billboard (Nielsen Business Media, Inc): 39. November 23, 1959. ISSN 0006-2510. 
  6. ^ Thomas, Bryan. "Rosco Gordon – Biography". AllMusic. Rovi Corp. Retrieved May 1, 2011. 
  7. ^ "Just a Little Bit (Legal title) – BMI Work #782502". BMI Repertoire. BMI. Retrieved May 1, 2011. 
  8. ^ Whitburn 1988, p. 170.
  9. ^ Turner, Steve (1994). A Hard Day's Write: The Stories Behind Every Beatles Song. HarperCollins. ISBN 0062736981. 
  10. ^ Whitburn 1988, p. 259.
  11. ^ "Song Search Results for Just a Little Bit". AllMusic. Rovi Corp. Retrieved August 17, 2014.