Thursday, January 10, 2013

Danny Overbea: Forty Cups Of Coffee (1953)

Danny Overbea isn't well known.  Hell, I don't know anything about him.  This guy does.  But I have his version of "40 Cups Of Coffee" on a Chess comp.  It was a Checker release in 1953.  Ella Mae Morse released a version of it the same year that seems to be better known now (Bob played it on his radio show);  I don't know which came first.  And the indefatigable Bill Haley also did it, in 1957.

Give me Overbea's version (and I'm sorry the youtube cuts off early).  It's just a perfect slice of assured Chicago blues:  the balance between the guitar and piano and the horns and the voice is just right.  His delivery of the lyrics is perfect - you can completely believe him pacing the floor, loading up on cigs and coffee, waiting for his baby to come home (and she does - that's why I'm sorry it cuts off).  Ella Mae Morse's version is fine, but she has to shout it to create a tenth of the authority that Overbea lets drop like a drip of honey. 

They don't make songs like this anymore.  No bullshitting, no cleverness, just honest straightforward my-baby's-gone blues.  Fresh.

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