Friday, September 30, 2016

SHG: Chris Kenner: "I Like It Like That"

Chris Kenner: “I Like It Like That, Part 1”
Entered the chart on: 7/3/1961
Peaked on: 7/31/1961
Weeks at #2: 3
Song at #1: “Tossin’ and Turnin’” by Bobby Lewis

So, after two very “meh” R&B tunes and a talented artist at his worst*, I’m ready to be entertained again. Can Chris Kenner turn that around?

I will tell you this, it probably helps not to know about this guy going in. His life would make the most depressing Todd in the Shadows episode ever. “He died of a heart-attack at the age of 46 while serving his prison sentence for statutory rape” doesn’t exactly cast sunbeams on your day.

So...not exactly the nicest guy in the world. But we’re not here to censure people for their moral standing, we’re here to review songs. After all, if people only listened to music produced by people of high moral values and good character, nobody would ever listen to Richard Wagner. Last I checked, they were still producing festivals in the guy’s honor.

Back on the subject of Chris Kenner...there’s a part 2? Hell, I’m listening to both parts! I don’t want to suffer that “Honky Tonk” disappointment all over again! Which won’t happen, because I’ve already heard this song before.

Right, this song has always confused me. “The name of the place is ‘I Like It Like That’?” Is that the actual name of a club in New Orleans or something? I’ve said before that I don’t really care for spoken word stuff before, but the refrain is so infectious and Kenner’s performance is so involving, I’m willing to cut him some slack. Plus this tune hooked me from the start with that rousing piano intro.

Speaking of “rousing piano intros,” is that Allen Freaking Toussaint? I think it is! Allow me to add that I am so glad I chose to listen to Part 2 as well. First off, as with “Honky Tonk,” Part 1 cuts off a paltry one minute and 55 seconds. Second, we’re offered splendid sax and piano solos on the flip. It’s functionally an instrumental, with just the backing vocalists doing their thing (Chris must have gone outside for a smoke break) as Allen and the mysterious sax player wail away.

Have I mentioned that I could just listen to Allen Toussaint’s piano playing all day?

A good selection to get your party jumping.

Rating: 4

*Suit at Mercury Records circa 1961: “Say, Brook, did you see Calvin and the Colonel last night? Funny stuff! You ought to write a song like that!”

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