Wednesday, April 4, 2012
A Natural Born Soul Sender
The version of "Gloria" from Van Morrison's 1993 release "Too Long In Exile" is far and away my favorite.
I'll give you two reasons.
The first is John Lee Hooker and his vocal performance, which is not of this Earth.
"She's a sender. She's a killer. Natural born soul sender. Midnight. Mid-nii-YI-yight."
John Lee Hooker, possessed by that she-devil named Gloria.
The other reason?
This story, which was told to me around the time of the LP's release by someone who had worked on the record.
Hooker's age might have played a part in this, or maybe it was John Lee falling under his own spell, but "Gloria," a song that had been played countless times by countless bands, was giving John Lee a bit of the asshole. He and Van tried relentlessly to lay down an acceptable take. Each take grooved along splendidly, until the moment Van would vamp the query, "What's her name?" John Lee would respond, "BESSIE MAE!"
One last fave thing about this tune: John Lee spelling out her name. It's different every time.
This version rocks in so many ways.