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Blues Time Machine
Hendrix inspired by Earl King's 'Come On'
Earl King is one of the great songwriters and performers to come out of New Orleans, and his legacy continues to live on. Many of his compositions, including “Big Chief," “Trick Bag” and “These Lonely, Lonely Nights” have become an important part of the New Orleans “songbook."
His 1960 recording of “Come On Pts. 1 & 2” is punctuated with many starts and stops, featuring his expressive voice and aggressive and precise guitar work. If you look through Jimi Hendrix’s early releases, there are only a handful of songs among the dozens that he did not write. Earl King’s “Come On” is one of those.
The song appearing on Hendrix's 1968 album Electric Ladyland.
Hendrix upped the ante by increasing the tempo, but kept the guitar part pretty much the same as the original. You can listen to the studio recording below, but if you are a Hendrix fan you might be interested in this live recording from Berlin, 1969 (audio only):
Mac Rebennack, aka Dr. John, another New Orleans legend, took on the tune in 1972, turning it into a full-on party. When he performs live, Dr. John often plays guitar on the tune. But, here he is at the piano with Joe Walsh on guitar having fun with the song:
Stevie Ray Vaughan was a huge fan of Jimi Hendrix and “covered” some Hendix tunes, including “Voodoo Chile," “Little Wing” and “Come On”.
“I actually learned to play from Jimi’s records. I remember getting my little stereo and I would mike that up with a Shure PA … and I’d have all this set up in my room. Of course, the parents were at work. I would go in there, dress up as cool as I could, and try to learn his stuff.” Stevie Ray Vaughan in a 1989 Guitar Player interview.
Here’s a live recording of SVR and band working through "Come On, Pt. 3":
Here are the complete versions of “Come On”
Earl King “Come On Pts. 1 & 2” 1960
Jimi Hendrix “Come On Pt. 1” 1968
Dr. John “Let The Good Times Roll” 1972
Stevie Ray Vaughan “Come On Pt. 3” 1985
“The Blues Time Machine” is a weekly feature tracking one great blues song through time. The series is hosted by John Kessler, from KPLU’s “All Blues,” and is published here every Friday and airs on KPLU 88.5 on Fridays at 12:10 p.m. and on Saturday and Sunday at 8 p.m. and 11 p.m.