I was happy to see Soul Music for this week’s Song Lyric Sunday prompt. Soul Music and Motown are what I grew up with and I knew immediately I wanted to pick two songs. Mustang Sally by Wilson Pickett and Shotgun by Junior Walker and the All Stars. Both are great songs and feature a lot of brass which was in keeping with the sound at that time. Both are simple songs in that one is about a crazy girl and her car and the other is about a dance, but the music and sound are what makes them.
This song is about a girl who lives a wild life in her brand new Mustang car. The singer bought her the car, which transformed her into “Mustang Sally,” and now she’s running around town, paying little attention to her sugar daddy. Pickett warns her that she needs to slow it down with one of the great threats in Soul music history: “Guess I have to put your flat feet on the ground!”
This song was written by Bonny Rice, also known as Sir Mack Rice. Bonny started singing with a vocal group called the Five Scalders in 1955 and joined The Falcons in 1957. Eddie Floyd was also in The Falcons, and Mack later wrote songs for him when he went solo. In 1960, Wilson Pickett joined The Falcons and sang lead on their 1962 hit “I Found A Love,” and left the group for a solo career later that year.In 1963, The Falcons broke up, and in 1965, Rice wrote a song called “Mustang Mama” after visiting his friend, the actress/singer Della Reese, in New York City. Reese told him that she was thinking about buying her drummer Calvin Shields a new Lincoln for his birthday, which Rice, being from Detroit, thought was a great idea. When he mentioned this to Shields, the drummer replied, “I don’t want a Lincoln, I want a Mustang.”As Rice explained on the 2007 Rhythm & Blues Cruise, he had never heard of a Mustang before, but Shields filled him in. They went for a drive and saw a billboard for a Mustang – Rice couldn’t believe Shields wanted such a small car instead of a big ol’ Lincoln. When he returned to Detroit, Rice started writing the song as “Mustang Mama,” with the chorus “ride, Sally, ride.” His publisher knew Aretha Franklin well, and brought Rice by her house, and he sang some of the song for her. Aretha suggested he change the title to “Mustang Sally” to better suit the chorus.In May of 1965 Bonny Rice released his original version of this song as Sir Mack Rice, and it hit the R&B charts, peaking at #15. Wilson Pickett came across the song when Rice was booked to play at The Apollo theater, and the headliner Clyde McPhatter didn’t show. Rice called his old bandmate Pickett, who performed in McPhatter’s place. When Pickett heard Rice perform “Mustang Sally,” he decided to record it himself. His version hit the R&B and Pop charts a year and a half after Rice originally recorded the song.Mack Rice later sang with Ollie and the Nightingales, joining them in 1970. He was also a staff songwriter for Stax Records, and wrote the hits “Respect Yourself” for the Staple Singers and “Cheaper To Keep Her” for Johnny Taylor.
LYRICS Mustang Sally, huh, ha Guess you better slow your mustang down, oh Lord What I said now Mustang Sally now baby, oh Lord Guess you better slow your mustang down, huh, oh yeah You been running all over town now Oh, guess I have to put your flat feet on the ground, huh What I said now Listen All you want to do is ride around Sally (ride, Sally, ride) Huh All you want to do is ride around Sally (ride, Sally, ride) Huh All you want to do is ride around Sally (ride, Sally, ride) Ha All you want to do is ride around Sally, oh Lord (ride, Sally, ride) Well isn't it One of these early mornings, hey Woah, gonna be wiping your weeping eyes, huh What I said now, lookit here I bought you a brand new mustang A nineteen sixty five, huh Now you come around signifying a woman You don't want to let me ride Mustang Sally now baby, oh lord Guess you better slow that mustang down, huh, oh Lord Lookit You been running all over town Oh, I got to put your flat feet on the ground, huh What I say now Let me say it one more time, y'all Now, all you want to do is ride around Sally (ride, Sally, ride) Huh All you want to do is ride around Sally (ride, Sally, ride) Oh Lord Writer/s: Mack Rice Lyrics licensed and provided by LyricFind
The “Shotgun” is a dance. There were many dance crazes in the ’60s, and two of them are mentioned in the lyrics: The Jerk (“Do The Jerk, baby”) and The Twine (“It’s Twine Time”). The Shotgun dance is more freeform, but you should sometimes stagger about like you’ve been shot.
“Shotgun” was the first hit for Junior Walker & The All Stars, who were signed to the Motown label Soul. Walker, whose real name was Autry DeWalt, was a saxophone player who made his vocal debut on this song. Walker recorded the vocals because the singer who was assigned to the session didn’t show up. He didn’t expect his tracks to make the cut, but the Motown producers liked the sound and left them in.
Junior Walker wrote this song. He got the idea after watching some kids in a club doing a dance he’d never seen before.
As explained in The Motown Story: Volume 1, the sound at the beginning that simulates a shotgun was created by kicking an amplifier. >>
Motown president Berry Gordy produced this track himself. When he heard the rough version, he took a personal interest in the track because he knew it could be a hit – if he could clean it up. Walker’s band wasn’t used to studio work and weren’t nearly as polished as Motown’s in-house all-stars, the Funk Brothers. So Gordy had the Motown musicians record parts and either replaced or augmented what was on the original.
“Shotgun” was a #1 R&B hit and rose to #4 on the Hot 100. The group had several more hit songs, including “What Does It Take (To Win Your Love)” (also #1 R&B) and a cover of the Supremes song “Come See About Me.” Walker played sax on Foreigner’s “Urgent” before his death in 1995.
Vanilla Fudge covered this song, taking it to #68 in 1969.
Courtesy of Songfacts
LYRICS I said shotgun shoot 'em 'fore he run now do the jerk baby do the jerk now. (Hey). Put on your red dress and then you go down yonder. I said buy yourself a shotgun now, were gonna break it down baby now. We're gonna load it up baby now 'a then you shoot 'em 'fore he run now. I said shotgun shoot 'em 'fore he run now do the jerk baby do the jerk now. (Hey). I said shotgun shoot 'em 'fore he run now do the jerk baby do the jerk now. (Hey). I said Put on your high-heeled shoes. I said we're goin' down here and I listen to 'em play the blues. We're gonna dig potatoes, we're gonna pick tomatoes. I said shotgun shoot 'em 'fore he run now do the jerk baby do the jerk now. (Hey). Writer/s: AUTRY DEWALT Publisher: BMG Rights Management, Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC Lyrics licensed and provided by LyricFind