Wer war/ist Jean Knight ? - CDs, Vinyl LPs, DVD und mehr
Mr. Big Stuff
Mr. Big Stuff
The 1970 edition of ‘Sweet Soul Music’ featured King Floyd’s Groove Me, one of two R&B chart-toppers waxed at the same time at the Jackson, Mississippi studios of Malaco Records. Jean Knight’s Mr. Big Stuff was the other, granted an equally irresistible groove by New Orleans arranger Wardell Quezergue. The sassy number took a surprisingly long time to hit the shelves.
Jean Caliste was born June 26, 1943 in New Orleans. She was fated to forge a musical career, her parents being entertainers themselves and her mother a church singer (Jean followed suit on the sanctified front). Sarah Vaughan and Etta James left their mark on her vocal technique. While visiting Cosimo Matassa’s recording studio one day, Huey P. Meaux, known as ‘The Crazy Cajun,’ talked producer Henry Hines out of Jean’s contract. Meaux helmed Knight’s 1964 debut platter for his Jetstream label, a revival of Jackie Wilson’s impassioned Doggin’ Around. She made three more for Huey’s Tribe imprint and another for Jetstream before Jean cut the cord with the colorful entrepreneur.
Quezergue had a deal going to record at Tommy Couch and Wolf Stephenson’s Malaco studios under the auspices of Elijah Walker. Wardell laid down a series of backing tracks on May 4-8, 1970 with Malaco’s young house band (guitarist Jerry Puckett, bassist Vernie Robbins, drummer James Stroud, and Quezergue on organ). On the 17th, Knight and Floyd came in to dub their vocals. Groove Me and Mr. Big Stuff are acknowledged classics now, but in 1970, Couch couldn’t find a label interested in either one, so he and Wolf launched Chimneyville Records to unleash Groove Me. Stax publishing boss Tim Whitsett finally convinced his label to acquire Mr. Big Stuff. A full year after it was waxed, the song cracked the R&B charts, not stopping until it sat at #1 and a spectacular #2 pop.
The same three writers dreamed up a sequel, You Think You’re Hot Stuff, that made a Top 20 R&B impression late that year, and Knight’s Carry On made chart noise in early ’72. After Stax cut her loose, Knight bounced from label to label, stopping at Dial, Chelsea, and several more. Cotillion picked up her 1981 duet with Premium, You Got The Papers (But I Got The Man), Jean’s first trip to the R&B hit parade in nearly a decade. A cover of Rockin’ Sidney’s ’85 zydeco sensation My Toot Toot was Jean’s last chart entry. She’s still big stuff today around Louisiana.
- Bill Dahl -
Various - Sweet Soul Music 26 Scorching Classics From 1971
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