Like Erma Franklin, Arthur Crudup and other black musicians working in the rhythm and blues scene right before rock ‘n’ roll took off, Big Mama Thornton saw her songs re-recorded by white musicians and turned into chart-topping hits. Before Elvis recorded “Hound Dog,” there was Big Mama’s version. And before Janis Joplin recorded “Ball ‘n’ Chain,” there was Big Mama’s version. On this song, about being dragged down by a burdensome love, she comes across as a darker, more downtrodden version of Aretha Franklin, with a deep, soulful voice that she could twist and turn and run raw with emotion.
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