With a, " cobra snake for a neck tie", a skull for a chimney and a surreal line in loony braggadocio, this 78rpm smash is just one way the former Otha Ellas Bates staked out his position as a colossus of rock'n'roll. Accelerating his widely imitated, "shave-and-a-haircut two-bits" rhythm to freight train speed, and spreading Jody Williams' fuzzy machine-shop guitar and Jerome Green Latin-voodoo maracas over the top, Bo asks his lady Arlene, "Who's it to be, him or me?" to shattering effect. On the flip, I'm Bad sees Bo still swagering like a cuddly blues golem of myth.
Availability: His Best CHESS CD
89. GEORGE JONES: White Lightning/ Window Up Above (1959)
Hard liquor would subsequently prove to be the bain of Nashville's most celebrated lush, but on his first country number 1 --wrtten by the Big Bopper-- Jones conveyed all the nihilistic glory of the most reckless kind of Southern drinking, not least during the verse in which a visiting city slicker takes an ill-advised slug of moonshine, and George, " heard him amoaning as he hit the ground". All told, a suitably stoopid soundtrack to a Tennessee Saturday night-- with a flip that suggests the nightmare of the next day's hangover.
Availability: The Best Of 1955-67 WEA/RHINO CD