Today’s post is sort of a sequel to this one from 2013 which we called “Um, Wrong Song.” In it we collected a playlist of songs like Neil Sedaka’s “Stairway to Heaven,” which might be mistaken by a listener for a cover of a very different tune.
Today we thought we’d look at a few potential cases of mistaken identity, such as pianist Dr. John Harris over there, who could be mistaken for Malcolm John “Mac” Rebennack, ie Dr. John.
And Little Stevie Kelton must have been hoping some people wouldn’t look too closely at the label for his 45. He covers “Okie from Muskogee” on one side, which is a song we can safely assume Stevie Wonder has never sung. On the side above we hear “Mr. Winter,” which was written by the awesome-ly named Don McCool.
This next guy had a little fun with the confusion caused by his name. Ray Charles wrote and arranged for Perry Como, briefly worked on The Muppet Show, and had a healthy stack of top-selling albums leading The Ray Charles Singers (helping invent easy listening along the way), but he still jokingly billed himself as “The Other Ray Charles,” as on this 1968 album of film favorites.
We have posted The Ray Charles Singers in the past (here) because he wrote and arranged a great theme for the City of Minneapolis. Charles actually worked with Ray Charles, the Georgia-born piano player who pioneered soul music, on several occasions. And neither were actually born Ray Charles.
We recently read that ABC is developing a new television series starring Carol Burnett, who hosted a highly successful variety show for more than a decade. Maybe they could hire the Carl Burnett Quintet to write the theme.
And the cellist from the Mellos Quartet, whose recording of Schubert’s “Death and the Maiden” quartet we posted this summer, was Peter Buck, but not the same Peter Buck who played guitar for REM.
Steve Millar recorded parts of his album I Want Your Love at the former Sound 80 studio here in our neighborhood, and also at Cookhouse Studio here in Minneapolis. He also made a second album with his backing group Diamondhead. This copy had an autograph!
Another record with a ‘local connection’ of sorts is this 50s R&B single by the Jayhawks. Of course it couldn’t be the Twin Cities’ own Jayhawks because they didn’t make their first record until 1986. The Jayhawks on this 45 recorded “Stranded in the Jungle” thirty years earlier.
And last for today we have guitarist Robert Johnson, who is of no relation to the enigmatic blues performer whose influence cannot be overstated. This Robert Johnson already had a pretty impressive resume by the time he recorded Close Personal Friend, his debut album. As a Stax Records session regular, he performed on records such as Isaac Hayes’ Hot Buttered Soul and Luther Ingram’s huge hit “If Loving You is Wrong I Don’t Want to be Right.” Johnson also auditioned for the Rolling Stones after Mick Taylor left the band, and toured with John Entwistle of the Who and Ann Peebles. Close Personal Friend was released in 1978 and features some catchy new wave oriented pop.