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This was written and originally recorded by a the R&B guitarist Sticks McGhee, who adapted it from a chant he learned at Army boot camp. He first recorded it in 1947, but the song became a hit when McGhee signed with Atlantic Records and recorded it again in 1949. It became the first hit for Atlantic, which later was home to Led Zeppelin, Aretha Franklin, The Spinners and many others. A young Tom Dowd engineered the session and went on to produce The Allman Brothers, Eric Clapton, The Drifters and many others.
Fairly tame by today's standards, this was a particularly raucous song when Sticks McGhee recorded it in 1949. It's about getting drunk and not caring who knows it. The song was an early influence on Lewis and many other Rock music pioneers.
Lewis performed this at his very first live appearance in 1949. The song was a good indicator of things to come for Lewis, as he sang about drinking despite a stern religious background that prohibited such behavior. Lewis became famous for his rowdy stage antics and sexually charged persona, as well as 6 marriages (including one to his 13-year-old second cousin) and a history of alcohol abuse.
An R&B version of this song became a chart success 15 years after Lewis' initial success.
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