The Things That I Used To Do

Album: The Things That I Used To Do (1953)

Songfacts®:

  • Slim claimed he was offered a song from God and a song from The Devil. He chose this one, which was the song from The Devil.
  • This has been covered by many guitar greats, including Jimi Hendrix, Stevie Ray Vaughan, and Chuck Berry. Slim's innovative playing, including the use of distortion, became widely copied.
  • Most hit songs at the time were specific to a certain region, but this was a rare R&B song that was popular in the North and South of the United States. It stayed at #1 on the R&B charts for six weeks.
  • Proceeds from this allowed Slim to feed his liquor habit. He died of pneumonia at 32.
  • Slim often played guitar with his teeth or behind his back when he performed this, theatrics that would be copied often in the years to come.
  • A young Ray Charles wrote the arrangements and played piano on this track. It was the first arrangement he got an official credit for. The session took place J&M Studios in New Orleans, where Charles was in town playing some clubs. The session was a grind, and it marked a milestone in Charles' career, as he led the musicians in take after take all night until they finally got it right. At the end of the song, when the horns fade out, you can hear Charles yelling, "Yeah!"

Comments: 3

  • Tony Arioli from Guerneville, CaFor some odd reason, I always thought that a version of this sung by Mel Blanc would be great.
  • Jan from New Orleans, LaGuitar Slim's son, Guitar Slim, Jr. performs in New Orleans. He has 3 CD's, one of which was nominated for a Grammy in the 80's (best traditional blues.) He performed with Stevie Ray Vaughn, who was a big fan of Guitar Slim, Sr. and Jr. Slim will be performing at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival in May 2009.
  • Robert from Santa Barbara, CaYou can hear Ray yell out "Hey!" at the end of the song.
see more comments

Editor's Picks

Steven Tyler of Aerosmith

Steven Tyler of AerosmithSongwriter Interviews

Tyler talks about his true love: songwriting. How he identifies the beauty in a melody and turns sorrow into art.

Alan Merrill of The Arrows

Alan Merrill of The ArrowsSongwriter Interviews

In her days with The Runaways, Joan Jett saw The Arrows perform "I Love Rock And Roll," which Alan Merrill co-wrote - that story and much more from this glam rock pioneer.

Annie Haslam of Renaissance

Annie Haslam of RenaissanceSongwriter Interviews

The 5-octave voice of the classical rock band Renaissance, Annie is big on creative expression. In this talk, she covers Roy Wood, the history of the band, and where all the money went in the '70s.

Dave Alvin - "4th Of July"

Dave Alvin - "4th Of July"They're Playing My Song

When Dave recorded the first version of the song with his group the Blasters, producer Nick Lowe gave him some life-changing advice.

Steely Dan

Steely DanFact or Fiction

Did they really trade their guitarist to The Doobie Brothers? Are they named after something naughty? And what's up with the band name?

Protest Songs

Protest SongsMusic Quiz

How well do you know your protest songs (including the one that went to #1)?