You Gotta Move (song)

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"You Got to Move"
Song by Mississippi Fred McDowell from the album You Gotta Move
Released 1965 (1965)
Recorded Berkeley, California, July 5, 1965
Genre Hill country blues
Label Arhoolie (no. 304)
Producer Chris Strachwitz

"You Gotta Move" is a traditional African-American spiritual song. The lyrics carry the Christian message that regardless of one's situation in life, it is God who determines one's ultimate fate. Beginning around the 1940s, the song has been recorded by a variety of gospel musicians, usually as "You Got to Move" or "You've Got to Move". In 1965, Mississippi bluesman Fred McDowell recorded it as a slow, slide guitar Hill country blues solo piece. His secular rendition inspired many subsequent recordings, including a popular electric-combo version in 1969 by English rock group the Rolling Stones.

The song generally follows an eight-bar blues arrangement and has been compared to "Sitting on Top of the World".[1]

Versions[edit]

The Two Gospel Keys recorded "You've Got to Move" in 1948.[2] They performed it as an uptempo gospel song. Similar renditions followed by Elder Charles D. Beck (1949),[3] Sister Rosetta Tharpe (1950),[4] the Original Five Blind Boys of Alabama (1953),[5] and the Hightower Brothers (1956).[6] The Reverend Gary Davis recorded the song in 1962.[7] It includes a more ominous verse:[8]

You may run, can't be caught
You may hide, can't be found
Brother when God gets ready, you got to move

In 1964, soul singer Sam Cooke recast the song with lyrics about a broken relationship for his 1963 album Night Beat.[9] When Mississippi Fred McDowell later recorded it in 1965, he used lyrics closer to Davis' 1962 rendition.[1] However, his version has a haunting slide guitar line that doubles the vocal.[10] A verse from the song is inscribed on his headstone:[11]

You may be high, you may be low
You may be rich child, you may be poor
But when the Lord gets ready, you got to move

The Rolling Stones regularly performed "You Gotta Move" during their 1969 US tour. They recorded a version at the Muscle Shoals Sound Studios in Alabama in December 1969. It was later included on their 1971 album Sticky Fingers. Mick Jagger sings the song in a Southern black dialect with electric slide guitar accompaniment that follows McDowell's.[10] Two different concert versions are found as bonus tracks on the 1969 tour's Get Yer Ya-Yas Out! and on 1977's Love You Live. The latter features Billy Preston, who plays on Sam Cooke's version.[12] The albums attribute the song to McDowell.

Aerosmith covered the Rolling Stones' version for their blues cover album Honkin' on Bobo in 2004.[13] They perform the song at a considerably faster rock tempo and also named the coinciding DVD, You Gotta Move after the song.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Sing Out (1969). "You Got to Move". Sing Out!: 12. ISSN 0037-5624. 
  2. ^ Billboard (January 10, 1948). "Advance Record releases". Billboard (Nielsen Business Media, Inc) 60 (2): 29. ISSN 0006-2510. 
  3. ^ Billboard (May 14, 1949). "Advance Record Releases". Billboard (Nielsen Business Media, Inc) 61 (20): 127. ISSN 0006-2510. 
  4. ^ Coda (1966). "Sister Rosetta Tharpe". Coda (John Norris) 7 (5–12): 9. ISSN 0010-017X. 
  5. ^ Nations, Opal. "Oh Lord, Stand by Me". AllMusic. Rovi Corp. Retrieved March 6, 2015. 
  6. ^ Blues Unlimited (1982). "The Hightower Brothers". Blues Unlimited. 142–146: 37. 
  7. ^ Billboard (October 20, 1962). "Singles Reviews". Billboard (Nielsen Business Media, Inc) 74 (42): 44. ISSN 0006-2510. 
  8. ^ Phillips, Bill (1974). "Piedmont Country Blues". America's Best Music. The Institute for Southern Studies. p. 59. 
  9. ^ In 1934, Memphis Minnie and Kansas Joe McCoy recorded the two-part "You Got to Move (You Ain't Got to Move)" which deals with a broken relationship.
  10. ^ a b Koda, Cub. "Mississippi Fred McDowell – Biography". AllMusic. Rovi Corp. Retrieved March 1, 2015. 
  11. ^ Cheseborough, Steve (2004). Blues Traveling: The Holy Sites of Delta Blues. University Press of Mississippi. p. 216. ISBN 978-1578066506. 
  12. ^ Sam Cooke's Night Beat album also contains an updated "Little Red Rooster" along with "You Got to Move", both songs which the Rolling Stones later recorded closer to the original/blues versions.
  13. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Aerosmith: Honkin' on Bobo – Review". AllMusic. Rovi Corp. Retrieved March 1, 2015.