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Truth! Ever heard original "Mustang Sally"? It's killer.

Tone_Terrific

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
31,859
It's a soul song with an amazing groove and real wit, and when a band plays it any of those other ways they ruin it and the universe becomes a little worse.
groove of the original. Apparently it's a lost art.
It's a soul tune ffs
Apparently it's a lost art.

Your average rock n roll bar band cannot, will not, ever, play it like this.
There are many many tunes that those bands cannot play like the originals, and very very few that they can play better than the originals.
Fortunately, we can get by with more modest versions or there would only be real pro musicians playing gigs doing what they do best.;)
 
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4,901
Ha, it was years before I heard any version BUT the one in the OP. I had heard some Sir Mack Rice, but not Mustang Sally.

Not sure who's playing on either recorded version, but the two singers were both associated with the Falcons, which included Robert Ward. If you don't know them or Ward, get ye to Google! Also Eddie Floyd who went on the Stax and Knock on Wood.

My thoughts on Mustang Sally and cover bands--many think of it as a chore and don't bother working up an arrangement or getting a groove, oh it's just for drunk chicks. So sure it sucks, self fulfilling prophesy. There's Wilson or Sir Mack's groove, and the live version posted above is great, but just making an effort to do one of your own would go a long ways IMO.
I first read about Robert Ward in Guitar Player. Ry Cooder might have mentioned him in an interview. And some of his records on Black Top were reviewed in Guitar Player. Somewhere I learned that he used the vibrato on his Magnatone 260. I'm not sure where I heard him first. It might have been a YouTube. Or it might have been a blues compilation. But I bought the only thing I found by him in a record store- one CD on Black Top. When I was learning about soul and funk I found out that Robert Ward had a band called the Ohio Untouchables that backed the Falcons and would become the Ohio Players.

I was in Ankara, Turkey and four years old when Wilson Pickett had a hit with "Mustang Sally". It was almost too recent to be on the "oldies" station that my mom sometimes listened to in the 1970s while driving. Although I most likely heard "Mustang Sally" in the 1970s it wasn't very often. Once I started playing guitar, in 1975, I was listening to and looking for blues records. I didn't pay much attention to soul/R&B. I wanted to listen to Lightnin' Hopkins. But I started working regularly as a musician in the late 1970s. Since "Mustang Sally" was basically a three chord tune and wasn't on a record in my record collection I most likely learned it on the bandstand. And when working with a band that was already together when I "joined" I played the tunes the way the particular band I was working with played them. The tunes played more like the record were more often than not popular tunes of the time. Band practice was usually about learning a current tune. Standards were often played from memory. But I don't remember "Mustang Sally" being a tune that I played very often. And if "Mustang Sally" was requested during the 1980s it wasn't the most requested tune. It was just one of several or many tunes requested.

In the 1990s and until 2004 I mostly played with "blues" bands. Though in the areas where those bands traveled there weren't many strictly blues clubs. It was in the clubs that sometimes had blues bands where I first recall getting requests for "Mustang Sally" more often. At Bob's Ladson Tackle Shop in Ladson, South Carolina there was one woman in particular who in various states of inebriation would request it when she wanted to dance. Between 2004 and 2007 I worked with a party band that played "beach music" and a fair amount of 1960s R&B. "Mustang Sally" was in the song list. But we didn't play it every night, probably because that band had lots of tunes that folks who liked that kind of music could dance to. It was similar when I worked with another party band between about 2008 and 2011.

But before the pandemic I spent about five years working with two consecutive bands that mostly played standards. With those bands I played "Mustang Sally", and "Wonderful Tonight" and "Sweet Home Alabama", just about every night I worked with them. There were no band practices. By the time I started working with those bands I had definitely heard Wilson Pickett and Sir Mack Rice's versions of "Mustang Sally". And, like with other bands I worked with that played it, we played it from memory. And I played parts that fit with the way the bass player and drummer played them.

One educated guess why lots of folks don't play "Mustang Sally" with a similar "groove" as the original is a basic lack of R&B knowledge. I know lots of fairly versatile musicians who can play "rock", "country", and "blues rock", and a fair amount of non-R&B pop tunes but have never spent much time listening to or studying R&B. I might not have noticed it as much had I not started listening to soul, R&B, funk, soul jazz, and black gospel.
 

griggsterr

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
6,839
Wilson picket at that point was just un stoppable. Whatever it was, he had it.
Muscle Shoals players didn't hurt. It wasn't until 30 years later that I found out the musicians were a bunch of middle aged white guy farmer types. I believe it was Wilson Picket who went there and the band was sitting in the studio and he asked when the musicians were going to get there?
 

bobcs71

Member
Messages
4,413
Probably doing their best Buddy Guy Jeff Beck version of it.
Maybe you are right but they haven't listened close.
It still has a grove and sincerity that is missed by any band I've played in.
I can't match the rhythm guitar feel or Jeff's tasty fills.

 
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1,416
Maybe you are right but they haven't listened close.
It still has a grove and sincerity that is missed by any band I've played in.
I can't match the rhythm guitar feel or Jeff's tasty fills.

Actually (and not that I dont respect those guys) IMO their version doesn't have the groove and sizzle that make Wilson's version so good. Too much rock and blues, not enough soul.
 

bobcs71

Member
Messages
4,413
Actually (and not that I dont respect those guys) IMO their version doesn't have the groove and sizzle that make Wilson's version so good. Too much rock and blues, not enough soul.
I agree it had a "rock injection". JB was being JB. I prefer Wilson Pickett but I appreciate their take on it. We already had Pickett's version.
 

tapeworm

Member
Messages
8,232
Maybe you are right but they haven't listened close.
It still has a grove and sincerity that is missed by any band I've played in.
I can't match the rhythm guitar feel or Jeff's tasty fills.

You’ve got to think about the bands that typically cover this song. It’s usually old, white blooze rock weekend warrior cats. Of course they are going to miss the soul, feel and throw in a 10 min guitar solo. I can’t say I’ve ever seen what I would call a legit band cover this one. I kind of consider it to be on the No Way list as far as covers go.
 

amstrtatnut

Member
Messages
12,280
I dont understand all the cover band criticism. Someone wanna post a bad version? I wanna kniw if Ive been doing it wrong. It seems pretty straightforward to me. Whats to mess up?
 

tapeworm

Member
Messages
8,232
I dont understand all the cover band criticism. Someone wanna post a bad version? I wanna kniw if Ive been doing it wrong. It seems pretty straightforward to me. Whats to mess up?
Now I’m definitely interested in this thread. This is gonna get good. We could go on for years posting examples.

 
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Tone_Terrific

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
31,859
because...guitar players

no offense intended :)
Every song needs an instrumental section.
It's the absolute lifeblood of jazz.
If you have guitar players you WILL have a guitar solo.
It give the band a chance to extend themselves before the vocalist takes over the solo position again and everyone has to drop back into comp mode.
It's the way.:banana
 




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