Hank Ballard & the Midnighters - King 5341
Stanley Brothers - King 5384
Flip 'n' Shaky - unreleased
Hey now, hey now, hey now. I love this song, it's one of that rare breed that works equally well as a rhythm and blues tune and a bluegrass number no doubt. Written by Hank Ballard, he and the Midnighters recorded the song 50 years ago today in Cincinnati, Ohio. As the title suggests it's finger poppin' rocker with a hypnotic, highly danceable beat and proved to be their first pop hit in 1960, reaching number 7. The sax solos are superb.
The Stanley Brothers cut it later that year on and theirs is an equally exciting high stepper. Their high lonesome vocal duet and acoustic backing are a mile from the uptown sound of Hank Ballard, but it works a treat. The sax is replaced by a banjo solo and if Syd Nathan had released these back to back it would have been one of the world's finest, most ingruiging singles of all time.
The Flip 'n' Shaky version hasn't seen the light of day but is performed once a year, every year on the Sunday following the Rockers Reunion. The only place to catch the gig is on the M4 between Reading and Neath. If you happen to see the duo finger poppin' and singing their heads off, be sure to give them and wave and a wide berth.