Prison Work Song Recast as “Rock”

The Guerrillas‘ “Lawdy Rolla” is a King reissue of a European single on Polydor.

Points out the YouTube contributor who posted this audio clip:

“Traditional worksong recording [from] Alan Lomax’s Negro Prison Blues & Songs – ‘Early in the Mornin” http://youtu.be/lw6GFCupesI  US ish (issue) of a French Congo acoustic RnB/Jazz tune, has an amazing vibe and groove”

“Lawdy Rolla”      The Guerillas      1969

Alan Lomax would record a performance of “Early in the Mornin'” in 1947 at Mississippi State Penitentiary’s Parchman Farm, thus setting into motion a chain of events that would lead to this prison work song entering the realm of popular music.

Australia’s Purple Hearts would inject “Early in the Mornin'” with fresh energy in 1966, as would Christchurch, New Zealand’s The Chants (as noted here), no doubt using The Graham Bond Organization‘s more polite version from the previous year’s The Sound of ’65 album as a template.

King would release “Lawdy Rolla” in October, 1969.  Little to no information seems to exist about this obscure 45, which commands a respectable price at auction.  The Guerrillas would record these two songs at Studio CBE in Paris.

Polydor picture sleeve – Note the spelling variant of Guerrillas

Guerillas Polydor 45Lyrics to the original prison work song can be found here — for mature audiences only.

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