As I’ve copped to before, sometimes I discover great music through questionable sources. For example, my discovery trail to Earl King’s “Trick Bag” began in 1990 thanks to a cassette tape that featured one of the most ubiquitous songs of that era. But let’s start at the beginning…
Released in 1962, King’s original has a solid, loping, irresistible groove and an engaging story.
In 1964, Seattle band the Artesians took the song and added layers of noise and bombast with muscular organ and lots of hi-hat. I swear if you put your face close enough to the speaker when you listen to this version, you’ll feel your hair blown back. (Incidentally, if anyone has information on this band, please let me know. I’m having trouble turning up much on them.)
Now let’s leap to the ’90s. In 1990, Robert Palmer created a cultural phenomenon with his video for “Addicted to Love” – you know the one, with the heavily made-up, dead-eyed ladies in their little, black dresses. Despite the fact that everyone grew sick to death of that song, the album it came from, Riptide, was actually pretty good for its time and was loaded with some fairly non-conventional twists, including Palmer’s slightly disco-ish cover of “Trick Bag”.
Then in ’91, the guitar returned to save our souls, and in ’92, the Gories brought “Trick Bag” back to its roots, hitting somewhere between the sparse groove of the King original and the freak-out of the Artesians cover.