From a concert in Eugene Oregon in 1971.
Rock Me Baby was written by BB King and first recorded in 1962. It was released in 1964.
I cannot count how many individuals and bands covered this song. But this version of Big Momma Thorton’s had to be my favorite. This LADY stood out from all the rest. She started her career in 1951. Composers Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller wrote ” Hound Dog ” for Big Momma. Johnny Otis produced it and she recorded it in 1952 and it was released in 1953.
It was the song that made her a star. But according to several sources she never saw much of the profits if any. Her credits are endless with other blues players who backed her through this time up until her death in 1984.
Junior Parker, Lowell Fulson, Gatemouth Brown, Muddy Waters, James Cotton, Otis Span, Luther Johnson, and Lightnin’ Hopkins.
She wrote and recorded Ball ‘n’ Chain in 1961. And was the inspiration behind Janis Joplin. Among many other artist who idolized her. Some have been confused because Thorton had an album come out in 1968 Ball “n” Chain that she recorded with Lightnin’ Hopkins. But it was originally recorded in 1961.
Just a few of her other hits included “Everything Gonna Be Alright”, “Big Mama’s Blues, “I’m Feeling Alright”, “Big Mama’s Bumble Bee Blues”, “Looking The World Over”, “Big Mama’s Shuffle”, and “Since I Fell For You”, but a ton more. Thornton performed at the Monterey Jazz Festival in 1966 and 1968. I always wondered why she missed 67 where the start of Hendrix and Joplin exploded.
Big Momma was a self taught Harp and Drum player as well. There are many young people today that never realized that she was among the best Harp Players in the music business. Sadly she was only 57 when she died of a heart attack in 1984. That same year she was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame. To this day considering she launched one of Rock -n- Roll’s biggest artists career, Elvis Presley with Hound Dog. Why Willie Mae Thorton herself was never inducted into the Rock -n- Roll Hall of Fame. But reality is without the likes of the BLUES that go back to the 1920s, there wouldn’t of been anything created called Rock -n- Roll.
Turn the lights down low and Rock Me Baby …… All Night Long ~