ecently received a marvelous comment from Jacques regarding Ride of the Tarzana Kid:
Hi. I really enjoyed your article on the “Tarzana Kid” LP by John Sebastian ; I still own, in mint condition, the original Reprise vinyl on MS 2187 that I bought as a US import in Brussels in September 1974 just after I received my M.D. in Economics. This is, to my ears, John’s best solo recording although, like you, I think that “Harpoon” is plain filler.
I would also point out that two tunes were NOT written by John or the Spoonful collective whatever the writer’s credits claim. These tracks are: “Sportin’ Life” which was recorded (same tune, same lyrics) by Brownie McGhee in NYC in 1946; I have this song on the “New York Blues 1946-1948” CD released in France by Blues Collection #159952 ; I really love John’s version though. The braggin’ “Wild About My Lovin'” is an adaptation of Jim Jackson’s same title; I have “take #2” of this gem of an old time blues record on Document Records DOCD-5114 (Austria); it was recorded in Memphis in February 1928. I like Sebastian’s Spoonful and solo interpretations of that song to which he imparts more of a jug band feel.
There’s an earlier version of that tune by the Jim Kweskin’s Jug Band with an incredible vocal by Geoff Muldaur (available on Vanguard CD # 79521). Hope it might be of interest to you.
As a matter of fact, I think that Sebastian has never received proper credit, at least until recent years, for the excellent cover versions he recorded of blues music, Memphis blues in particular. However, it is a pity that he never gave credit to the originators of this covers (until his more recent records). But most of the “white kids playing the blues” did the same at that time.
Regards and thanks for your website.
And thanks for taking the time to write, Jacques. Fascinating stuff.