Ask "Mr. Music"
April 26, 2010
"Don't Do It" by "Little Charlie and the Nightcats"
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April 19, 2010 - "Don't Do It" by "Little Charlie and the Nightcats"
Roughly 20 years ago I lived in northern California. One summer, I went to the San Francisco Blues Festival. Many of the entertainers were from that general area.
One local band that really stood out, I think named the Nighthawks, did an original novelty song that was so brilliant I was wishing I had a tape recorder with me. The lyrics, describing a doctor-patient conversation, could easily have been adapted into a comedy skit. That's a possibility I would like to explore. If you can provide the text of their hilarious talk, I would be very grateful.
I never heard this song again, so it may not have been released on record. You may be my only hope.
- Aaron Selman, Evansville, Ind.
The clues you provide point conclusively to a jump blues band from Sacramento. You have the "night" right, but the wrong critter. They are Little Charlie and the Nightcats, featuring Charlie Baty.
Their song that understandably tickled you so much is "Don't Do It," from their 1989 LP "The Big Break" (Alligator 4776).
Jocularity aside, the doc does offer good advice:
"I was under the weather and I wasn't getting better so I went to get a physical check
When I went to the doc it was a heck of a shock, he told me boy you are a miserable wreck
He said your liver's all swollen and your stomach's got a hole in it, from drinkin' too much for too long
There's a good indication you've got bad circulation 'cause your blood pressure's almost gone
You got no reflexes in your solar plexus when I tap you on the top of your knee
He said your pulse ain't steady and your lung's getting ready to collapse every time that you breathe
And at the rate you're goin' all the tests are showin' & boy you'll never live to get old
But I came up with a plan to make you healthy again, but son you gotta do what you're told
That's when he told me:
If you dig it, don't do it
And if you like it, better leave it alone
And if it's too much fun that ought to clue you son
That you're probably doing something that's wrong
I'm surprised at you and all the things you do
'Cause that ain't what your body is for
And if you think it's bad so far, wait till after this guitar
'Cause the doctor said a whole lot more
Cut out your boozing, quit them drugs you been using, and don't be smoking no cigarettes
And you know lovin' a stranger nowadays boy is just like playin' Russian roulette
Get the grease outta your diet - better broil it, don't fry it - and don't you eat no more barbecue
I wouldn't tell you no lie, take this rule and apply. Now listen to what else you better do:
You better cut out all sweets, and don't be cramping your feet in them pointed-toe Italian shoes
Boy look-a here, you're gonna damage your ears playin' them loud rockin' rhythm and blues
And if a rabbit don't eat it, buddy you don't need it. That's the rules of your new menu
You better get you a pen, I ain't gonna say it again, 'cause there's a whole lot more that you need to do:
You need to lose some weight, you need to stand up straight. Boy, your posture is a terrible disgrace
You need to suck in your gut, you need to tuck in your butt, you need to clear them zits up off of your face.
And I kept waitin' and waitin' for the man to finish, but the sucker just went on and on... on and on... and on."
IZ ZAT SO?
I have not mentioned it until now, but a few months ago I started a list of songs that never made any of the national charts, but ones I felt should have been big hits. Thus far there are only four on the list.
Motivated by today's topic, this is the time to reveal those tunes that deserved better:
"Don't Do It" (Little Charlie & Nightcats) (1989); "Don't Make My Poor Heart Weep" (Bobby Rand) (1957); "Miserlou" (Dick Dale & Del-Tones) (1962); and "Sleepless Nights" (Tony Williams) (1961).
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