Thursday , September 24 2020
A cover worthy of the original....

VCV: John Primer – “Sugar Sweet”

There are myriad blues anthems that boast about the singer's sexual prowess or extol the virtues of a woman not to praise her but to elevate the man for having attracted her affections.  I don't want to say there is a shortage of great blues love songs but because pain holds such a dominant place in the blues lexicon some of those anthems are overlooked.  That's why “Sugar Sweet” is one of my favorite Muddy Waters songs.  The libido of the “Hoochie Coochie Man” and the “Natural Born Lover” can be felt in this song but the singer is undeniably in awe of the woman whose love is sweeter than sugar.

Waters was a pioneering guitarist, but others came behind him and took what he helped established and carried it to new and exciting places.  Where he has never been equaled is as a singer.  If modern science ever finds a way to clone the elements that create voice, I swear I think I'd want to sing like Muddy Waters more than any other singer.  That's how highly I think of Waters as a vocalist.  I want you all to understand that so that when I tell you John Primer turns in a vocal nearly on Waters' level, that's a damn big deal to me.

“Sugar Sweet” isn't a terribly challenging song to sing and any number of blues shouters could do it reasonably well, but there are some performers who have been at this so long and played with so many giants of the idiom their comprehension of traditional blues music is now so complete it's practically subliminal.  This isn't about being a great singer and it even goes beyond interpretive skill.  There's an intangible charm to Primer's version of this song that gives it life and makes it almost as enjoyable as the original recorded by The Original.

About Josh Hathaway

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