Carl Perkins – Everybody’s Trying To Be My Baby

I learned about Carl Perkins through George Harrison and The Beatles. On their first tour, they all adopted “stage names” and George’s was George Perkins. A wonderful title for this song.

This gets kind of confusing. It was written by Carl Perkins, but it’s also very similar to another song by the same title by Alabama country singer Rex Griffon in 1936. Carl modernized it by the same sound he was getting out of Blue Suede Shoes.” Meanwhile, the melody was also borrowed from the Hank Williams song “Move It On Over” and “Mind Your Own Business.” Rock Around The Clock also borrowed from this.  Anyway…it is credited to Carl Perkins.

Carl Perkins was on the rise fast in 1956. He just had 3 top-10 hits in that year. On March 22, 1956, Perkins was severely injured when the car he was riding in crashed on Route 13 between Dover and Woodside, Delaware. Perkins and his band were headed to New York City for a Mar. 24, 1956, appearance on NBC-TV’s Perry Como Show after playing a show in Norfolk, Virginia, on Mar. 21, 1956. Perkins had sustained three fractured vertebrae in his neck, a severe concussion, a broken collar bone, and lacerations all over his body. Perkins remained unconscious for an entire day.

Worse than that…his brother Jay Perkins had a fractured neck and severe internal injuries. Later he developed a malignant brain tumor and died in 1958.  It had been planned on the Como show to present Carl with a gold record for Blue Suede shoes. When the wreck happened the song had peaked at #1 on the Country Charts and #2 on the Hot 100. Perkin’s career was never the same after that.

After 1956 he had 6 more top 40 hits in the country charts but never a top 10 hit again. One of those songs peaked at #31 in 1986 called “Birth of Rock and Roll.” Throughout the rockabilly revival of the 80s Perkins worked with Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and many more.

Carl Perkins continued to achieve many successes throughout his career, such as writing the 1968 number one country hit “Daddy Sang Bass” as recorded by Johnny Cash as well as Glen Campbell and The Statler Brothers. He played for about ten years with Johnny Cash, playing lead guitar on Cash’s number one country hit “A Boy Named Sue.” He even appeared on the Johnny Cash Show playing “Matchbox” with Derek And The Dominoes.

Everybody’s Trying To Be My Baby was recorded in March of 1956 in Sun Studios with no other than Sam Phillips producing.

The Beatle’s version was recorded their version on October 18, 1964. They did it in one take not counting Ringo overdubbing a tambourine and George doubling his voice. It was released on the Album Beatles for Sale released in December of 1964. It was not their best album by any stretch. They were worn out and the album included a lot of covers. The album was not available in the United States and Canada until 1987. The song appeared on their US-only album Beatles 65.

George Harrison sang lead because he was a huge fan of Perkins. It was his showcase song on early tours.

Everybody Is Trying To Be My Baby

Well they took some honey from a tree
Dressed it up and they called it me

Everybody’s trying to be my baby
Everybody’s trying to be my baby
Everybody’s trying to be my baby, now

Woke up last night, half past four
Fifty women knocking on my door

Everybody’s trying to be my baby
Everybody’s trying to be my baby
Everybody’s trying to be my baby, now

Went out last night, I didn’t stay late
‘Fore I got home I had nineteen dates

Everybody’s trying to be my baby
Everybody’s trying to be my baby
Everybody’s trying to be my baby, now

Went out last night, I didn’t stay late
‘Fore I got home I had nineteen dates

Everybody’s trying to be my baby
Everybody’s trying to be my baby
Everybody’s trying to be my baby, now

Well they took some honey from a tree
Dressed it up and they called it me

Everybody’s trying to be my baby
Everybody’s trying to be my baby
Everybody’s trying to be my baby, now

Carl Perkins – Blue Suede Shoes

Well it’s one for the money, two for the show
Three to get ready, now go cat go

This song could be the definition of rock and roll.  One of the many great Sun records that were released. Carl Perkins is a guitar hero to me with his rockabilly style that he never lost. I see why George Harrison and a generation was such a fan of the man. This song is up there with Johnny B Good as a Rock and Roll standard.

This song was written by Carl and it soon became a rock and roll anthem. This is another song that by law…you have to know if you are in a rock band. It’s probably better known by a singer from Memphis…named Elvis. I always favored this version…it has Carl playing guitar and that is all I need.

Carl recorded this in Memphis in 1955 for Sam Phillips at Sun Records. As he was driving to make his first national appearance to promote it on the Perry Como Show, he got into an accident that seriously injured him and killed his brother.  He later said he was 85 miles away from being the first rockabilly on national television.

Perkins never fully recovered, either emotionally or career-wise. With Perkins unable to touring and promote it, Elvis’ cover version became a massive hit. Presley’s copy was done at RCA studios in Nashville. Perkins did have some hits after this but nothing like Blue Suede Shoes. Interestingly enough…Elvis’s version only made it to #20 in the pop charts.

This single was released in 1956. The B side was Honey Don’t. The single peaked at #2 in the US Charts and #1 in the Country charts.

I always wondered about blue suede shoes and what was so special about them. Blue suede shoes were a luxury item in the South…you would only wear them on a special night out. . You had to be careful with them though, since suede isn’t easy to clean.

Perkins never owned a pair, but Johnny Cash told him a story about someone who did. Cash told Perkins a story from his days serving in the Air Force in Germany. Cash’s sergeant…C.V. White. He would wear his military best when he was allowed off base, and at one point said to Cash, “don’t step on my blue suede shoes.” The shoes were really just Air Force-issued black, but white would say, Tonight they’re blue suede!

The story Perkins told is that later on, he was playing at a high school sorority dance when he came across a guy who wasn’t paying much attention to his date, but kept telling everyone not to stop on his “suedes,” meaning his blues suede shoes. At 3 a.m. that night, Perkins woke up and wrote the lyrics based on what happened that night and the story he heard from Cash. He couldn’t find any paper, so he wrote it on a potato sack.

Perkins based the beginning of this song on a nursery rhyme One For The Money: “One for the money, two for the show, three to get ready and four to go.”

Sam Phillips, the owner of Sun Records, came up with the idea of changing the line “Go, man, go” to “Go, cat, go.” He thought the change would make it seem like less of a country song and more of a rocker…it worked!

From Songfacts

Sam Phillips discovered Elvis Presley but sold his contract to RCA for $35,000. The money helped Phillips finance this and other records by artists like Johnny Cash and Roy Orbison, but Elvis became The King. Elvis recorded this later in 1956. His version hit US #20 and UK #9.

This was the only Top 40 hit for Perkins on the pop charts, but his influence reaches much further. He was extremely influential to other artists, including Elvis, The Beatles, and Johnny Cash. Perkins was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987.

The lyrics describe some of the things that Perkins would prefer over getting his shoes scuffed, and the list includes some derelict behavior: stepping on his face, stealing his car, burning down his house and drinking his liquor. Some in the Sinatra-loving older generation were horrified, and used the song to back their case that rock ‘n’ roll was the Devil’s music.

This was the first song to hit the US Pop, Country, and R&B charts at the same time. Released on January 1, 1956, the song made a slow climb up the charts, appearing on all three in May, which is when it reached its peak of #2 on the Pop charts.

In Perkins’ original version of this song, there are two deliberate beats after each of the first two lines: “One for the money… bomp, bomp; two for the show… bomp, bomp.” The Elvis version eliminates the pause between the lines and speeds it up considerably.

Dave Edmunds, who later toured with Perkins, tells a story about recording the song with the rock legend for a segment to air on The South Bank Show, a UK program. According to Edmunds, Perkins played the intro without the beats between lines, insisting that when he recorded it, that was a mistake. Edmunds began pleading with him to do it as he did on that record, but then realized the absurdity of explaining to Carl Perkins how to play “Blue Suede Shoes.”

In later appearances, Perkins did play the song in line with his original recording, often with Edmunds by his side. One of his last appearances was with Edmunds performing the song on The Jay Leno Show in 1997 (Perkins died the next year).

The B-side of the single was “Honey Don’t,” which was covered by The Beatles.

This song was a family affair: Perkins’ brother Jay played rhythm guitar on the track, and his other brother Clayton played bass (W.S. “Fluke” Holland was Perkins’ drummer). Jay died from a brain tumor in 1957, and Clayton took his own life in 1974.

The charting versions of this song in America were by:

Carl Perkins – #2, 1956
Elvis Presley – #20, 1956
Boyd Bennett – #63, 1956
Johnny Rivers – #38, 1973

Pat Boone, Conway Twitty, The Dave Clark Five and Merle Haggard are among the many to record it. A version by Buddy Holly surfaced in 1964 on an album of outtakes called Showcase.

The “better not step on my shoes” trope found its way back to the zeitgeist when Spike Lee included a scene in his 1989 movie Do The Right Thing where a character gets very upset when someone steps on his Air Jordan sneakers.

Perkins, backed by Lee Rocker and Slim Jim Phantom of The Stray Cats, recorded a new version of this song in 1985 for the soundtrack of the movie Porky’s Revenge! The soundtrack was produced by Dave Edmunds, who also got Willie Nelson, Jeff Beck and George Harrison to record songs for it, leading to a gaping disparity in quality between the film and the soundtrack.

Later in the year, Edmunds spearheaded the “Carl Perkins and Friends” concert special, recorded October 21 in London and aired January 1, 1986 on Cinemax. Harrison, Ringo Starr, Eric Clapton and Rosanne Cash were among the “friends.”

The Count performed this song on an episode of Sesame Street. It became a counting exercise (one, two, Blue Suede Shoes).

Blue Suede Shoes

Well it’s one for the money, two for the show
Three to get ready, now go cat go
But don’t you, step on my blue suede shoes
You can do anything but lay off of my blue suede shoes

But you can knock me down, step in my face
Slander my name all over the place
And do anything that you want to do
But uh uh honey lay off of my shoes
And don’t you step on my blue suede shoes
You can do anything but lay off of my blue suede shoes

Oh let’s go cat!

But you can burn my house, steal my car
Drink my liquor from an old fruit jar
Do anything that you want to do
But uh uh honey lay off of them shoes
And don’t you, step on my blue suede shoes
You can do anything but lay off of my blue suede shoes

Rock!

Well it’s one for the money, two for the show
Three to get ready, now go cat go
But don’t you, step on my blue suede shoes
You can do anything but lay off of my blue suede shoes

Well it’s blue, blue, blue suede shoes
Blue, blue, blue suede shoes yeah
Blue, blue, blue suede shoes baby
Blue, blue, blue suede shoes
You can do anything but lay off of my blue suede shoes

Jim Dickinson – Dixie Fried

He hollered, rave on, children, I’m with you
Rave on, cats, he cried
It’s almost dawn, the cops are gone
Let’s all get Dixie fried

He was born James Luther Dickinson but most people knew him as Jim Dickinson. It doesn’t get much more southern than this album and the title track.

He worked at Memphis Sun Records and Ardent Studios in the 1960s on, to sessions with the Rolling Stones (piano on Wild Horses at Muscle Shoals), Ry Cooder and Bob Dylan. He also played with his roots band Mud Boy & The Neutrons and the Dixie Flyers.

Dickinson produced recordings for performers as diverse as Willy DeVille, Green on Red, Mojo Nixon, Tav Falco’s Panther Burns, Toots and the Maytals and Screamin’ Jay Hawkins.

In the 70s he produced Big Star’s 3rd Sisters/Lovers album and in the 80s The Replacements Please To Meet Me album in Memphis.

In 1971 he started to focus on production work, producing and appearing on Ry Cooder’s acclaimed Into The Purple Valley and Boomer’s Story albums. Atlantic offered him a chance to record a solo album, and his debut Dixie Fried came out in 1972. It gave him the chance to present his own off-beat take on southern roots music, resulting in an album full of R&B and country.

The song was written by Carl Perkins and Howard “Curley” Griffin.

So if you want… sit back and sip some Tennessee Straight Sour Mash Whiskey and get Dixie Fried.

Dixie Fried

On the outskirts of town, there’s a little night spot
Dan dropped in about five o’clock
Took off his jacket, said, the night is short
He reached in his pocket and he flashed a quart

He hollered, rave on, children, I’m with you
Rave on, cats, he cried
It’s almost dawn, the cops are gone
Let’s all get Dixie fried

Well, Dan got happy and he started raving
He pulled out a razor, but he wasn’t shaving
And all the cats knew to jump and hop
‘Cause Dan was raised in a butcher shop

He hollered, rave on, children, I’m with you
Rave on, cats, he cried
It’s almost dawn, the cops are gone
Let’s all get Dixie fried

Well, the cops heard Dan when he started to shout
They all ran in to see what it was about
And I heard him holler as they led him away
He turned his head and this is what he had to say

He hollered, rave on, children, I’m with you

Rave on, cats, he cried
It’s almost dawn, the cops are gone
Let’s all get Dixie fried

Now, Dan was the bravest man that we ever saw
He let us all know, he wasn’t scared of the law
The black dog barked, but the boy didn’t flinch
He said, it ain’t my fault, hon, that I been pinched

He hollered, rave on, children, I’m with you
Rave on, cats, he cried
It’s almost dawn, the cops are gone
Let’s all get Dixie fried

Now, Dan was the bravest man we ever saw
He let us all know he wasn’t scared of the law
And I heard him holler as they led him away
He turned his head and this was what he had to say

He hollered, rave on, children, I’m with you
Rave on, cats, he cried
It’s almost dawn, the cops are gone
Let’s all get Dixie fried

Yeah, it’s almost dawn, the cops ain’t gone
And I’ve been Dixie fried