That's All Right (Jimmy Rogers song)
|"That's All Right"|
|Single by Jimmy Rogers|
|Format||10-inch 78 rpm & 7-inch 45 rpm record|
|Recorded||Chicago, August 15, 1950|
|Label||Chess (Cat. no. 1435)|
|Jimmy Rogers singles chronology|
"That's All Right" or "That's Alright" is a blues song that is "a recognised standard and is widely performed". Based on earlier songs, Chicago blues singer and guitarist Jimmy Rogers recorded "That's All Right" in 1950. The song became a hit and has been recorded by numerous blues and other artists.
According to Jimmy Rogers, "'That's All Right' was composed from a mixture of ideas from bluesmen Robert Junior Lockwood and Willie Love, and 'I put some verses with it and built it that way. I built the song'". Lockwood "was performing it years earlier in Helena, Arkansas", which was confirmed by Muddy Waters: "'That's All Right', that Robert Jr.'s song".
In 1947, Othum Brown recorded "Ora Nelle Blues" (Chance 1116), described as "substantially the same song". It features Brown on vocal and guitar with Little Walter on harmonica (some pressings of the Chance single are titled "That's Alright" and credited to "Little Water J."). It has been suggested that Jimmy Rogers played lead guitar on the first take of the song and that Brown took the theme from Rogers. An earlier version of "Ora Nelle Blues" was recorded on a "one-shot vanity disc" by Floyd Jones on vocal and guitar with Little Walter providing second guitar.
Jimmy Rogers song
At the end of a 1950 Muddy Waters recording session, Jimmy Rogers recorded "That's All Right" as his debut single for Chess Records. A moderate- to slow-tempo twelve-bar blues, it has been called "one of the most tuneful and instantly memorable of all variations on the basic blues format". The song features Rogers' guitar and plaintive vocals, with Little Walter playing the harmonica in the style of Sonny Boy Williamson I and Ernest "Big" Crawford on bass (Muddy Waters did not perform the song).
Despite the title, the lyrics indicate "clearly ... it is not 'all right'":
You told me baby, your love for me was strong
When I woke up little girl half of this, big world was gone
But that's all right, I know you don't love me no more, but that's all right
"That's All Right" became "an instant hit in Chicago" and cemented Rogers' relationship with Leonard Chess, leading to his nine-year association with Chess Records. Jimmy Rogers performed the song throughout his career, recording additional studio and live versions of the song.
Recordings by other artists
Many blues and other artists have recorded "That's All Right", including Junior Parker as a single (1958), Mose Allison from the album Mose Allison Sings (1963), Robert Nighthawk from And This Is Maxwell Street (1964, released 1998), Canned Heat from Historical Figures and Ancient Heads (1971), Doctor Ross, Freddie King from King of the Blues (1971, released 1995), Buddy Guy & Junior Wells from Alone and Acoustic (1981), James Cotton from Fire Down under the Hill (2000), and Etta James from Blues to the Bone (2004).
- A different "That's All Right" aka "That's All Right Mama" was written by Arthur Crudup and covered by Elvis Presley.
- Darwen, Norman (1989). That's All Right (Album notes). Jimmy Rogers. Chess Records. p. 1. CD RED 16.
- Glover, Tony; Dirks, Scott; Gaines, Ward (2002). Blues with a Feeling: The Little Walter Story. Routledge. ISBN 978-0-415-93711-5.
- Collins, John (1998). The Story of Chess Records. Bloomsbury USA. p. 44. ISBN 978-1-58234-005-0.
- Nadel, Alan (2010). August Wilson: Completing the Twentieth-Century Cycle. University of Iowa Press. p. 65. ISBN 978-1-58729-875-2.
- Herzhaft, Gerard (1992). "Jimmy Rogers". Encyclopedia of the Blues. University of Arkansas Press. p. 297. ISBN 1-55728-252-8.