This is the latest from The Bluesmobile’s C.C. Rider, who spends her life venerating the founding fathers of the blues. She’s walked the crooked highways of this singing country to resurrect the voices of the past. With the dirt of the Delta on her hands, she sleeps in the shadow of the giants on whose shoulders popular music now stands.
Big Mama Thornton
(December 11, 1926 – July 25, 1984)
If Big Mama’s body was big, her talent was cosmic. Big Mama Thornton is one of the most bad-ass women in blues. A self-taught drummer. Accomplished harmonica player. Killer songwriter. She had one of the biggest voices in the business. You probably know her song “Ball n’ Chain.” If you think Janis Joplin could sing, take a listen to Big Mama.
Big Mama Thornton originated another song you’ll recognize. It was her first hit, recorded in ‘52. It’s a track that got really famous a few years later when an innocent public turned on their TV’s to see a young man thrusting his hips to the rhythm.
Elvis Presley’s version may be the bigger hit, but there’s nothin’ like the original. Here’s Big Mama Thornton and the Johnny Otis band with “Hound Dog.”