"The Blues Don't Knock" appears on this fantastic 1969 LP by Don Covay & The Jefferson Lemon Blues Band
It takes a little "something" to get me to fall in love with a blues song. That something is a combination of two things: a significant addition of sophistication and a significant subtraction of predictability. For whatever reason, the blues form is a seductive crutch that too many musicians lean on—and have the audacity to call themselves "songwriters." Some make slight adjustments to the form to keep it melodically interesting, but there is a "sameness" to the blues that I can't help but feel bored by. Sure, I'll listen to Muddy Waters At Newport, Albert King, The Blues Project (feat. Al Kooper) and a bit of The Paul Butterfield Blues Band, but that's pretty much the extent of my "blues desert island list."
But, my recent discovery, "The Blues Don't Knock" by Don Covay & The Jefferson Lemon Blues Band, is an example of a blues song that has a little "something." Written by Sidney Wyche, whose songs have been covered by everybody from Aretha Franklin and Elvis Presley, it's greatness should be of no surprise. This is a real songwriter's song, as evidenced by some unexpected melodic turns in the verses and the bridge. By far the most "goosebump-y" moment of "The Blues Don't Knock" is in the final 45 seconds. Covay sings the blues melody an octave up and his slightly strained delivery is incredibly emotive and effective.
Listen to this song. I also suggest listening to the corresponding album House Of Blue Light, which is fantastic, to say the least. Guitar enthusiasts take note—the J. Lemon Blues Band features the expert John Hammond.
"The Blues Don't Knock" by Don Covay & the Jefferson Lemon Blues Band
House Of Blue Light by Don Covay & the Jefferson Lemon Blues Band