Saturday, January 8, 2011

.....and pull yourself together

As far as I know, there are only three singles credited to Sterling Magee from his pre-Mister Satan days. I've previously posted cuts off two of those 45's, this is from the third.

What a strange group of recordings, I'd love to know more about the sessions which produced them. There's something about the interplay of instruments that makes me wonder if Magee isn't at the very least playing both bass and guitar on the basic tracks. And then there's the harmonica, 'cause yeah, I'm almost certain there's harmonica on all of them, often so subtly and oddly employed that it's hard to tell what instrument it is.

On this 45, the added horn parts so closely follow what was presumably laid down earlier by harmonica that it's extremely difficult to tell where the horns start and the harmonica ends.

Toss in the fact that I've rarely heard bass lines from the late 60's pushed so far to the front [plugged directly into the mixing board?] and I end up thinking there's only one possible word to describe the sound: idiosyncratic.

I wouldn't know how common the use of multi-tracking was at that time, but these records often make me think of an artist working alone with a 4-track. The drumming on the b-side is so simple it might as well be a drum machine. Given that Magee's 'Mister Satan' persona was, at least initially, a one man band, could be some there's some small bit of truth to this impression.

Hope ya'll enjoy this one....I think it's killer.


  1. Hi Ana,

    FWIW: the drummer is Pretty Purdie.Also, 'Satan' doesn't like his 45's and dealings with Ray Charles.

    (source:'Satan talks to Norman Darwen'/Blues & Rhythm #63 p.11)


  2. Thanks for the info Marc. After I published this post it occurred to me that maybe I was making it sound too much like I as on to some some kind of 'secret'. More than anything I only meant to draw attention to what I think is an odd and somewhat singular sound. Which I still think of as idiosyncratic.

    I'm more than a little shocked to hear the Pretty Purdie was the drummer on these sides. Not that I don't doubt Satan said it, but I do find it hard to believe. There are at least two sides by Magee where there isn't a single drum flourish, a single off beat, a single change in I said in the post, it might as well have been a drum machine.

    Unfortunately, it doesn't appear that interview is archived online, but I'm still looking. Do you by any chance have a link?

  3. I'm with you, but that's what the man said when asked who played on the Tangerine sides.
    That interview is not archived online.