Directly From My Heart To You

Here are three versions of the same song. They are all great.

The first is the original performed and written by Little Richard – a real singer-songwriter before the term was coined, not to mention, a true keyboard virtuoso of rock and roll and an electrifying performer.

The second is by Fenton Robinson, who penned “Somebody Loan Me A Dime” (covered by Boz Skaggs with Duane Allman). Fenton also played guitar on the original version of “Texas Flood”, a Larry Davis song later popularized by Stevie Ray Vaughn. He has a singular style grounded in the blues but very much influenced by jazz.

The third is from Frank Zappa’s album “Weasels Ripped My Flesh.

It features Don “Sugarcane” Harris, who was one half of the fifties duo Don and Dewey. Don and Dewey were described as “dueling Little Richards”.  Don wrote the punk favorite “Farmer John” which was covered by many artists including Neil Young.  Sugarcane was unique because he was classically trained and played jazz\blues on electric violin way back when no one knew what that was. He actually recorded with Little Richard back in the day and shared a studio with him when Little Richard Penniman was recording his classic hits.

My favorite is Sugarcane’s version. I first heard Harris play on Zappa’s “Hot Rats” album – truly, one of the first appearances of jazz-rock fusion. He also is featured on the Mothers of Invention album “Burnt Weeny Sandwich”. He later recorded some fine solo albums and recorded and toured with John Mayall.

When I spoke to Frank Zappa after a concert at New York’s Felt Forum in 1972 I asked about Harris and Zappa said “Sugarcane’s in jail.” I thought that he was just being droll, perhaps, because he had moved on musically and thought that my question was pedestrian. However, I learned afterward that Don did indeed have problems with the law and Frank had previously bailed him out from jail.

Anyway, I hope you enjoy these three versions of this great song.

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