As we have seen over the last couple of weeks, “You Left The Water Running” is a damn fine tune. Versions by Otis Redding, Wilson Pickett, Fire Dept all sound fab and groovy – and other artists that have covered the song include Sam & Dave, (“Hold On! I’m Comin'”) and Barbara Lynn (The Rolling Stones covered Lynn’s “Oh Baby (We’ve Got A Good Thing Going)”), whilst there exist incendiary versions by both Don Varner and Geno Washington and, ah, I’ll tell you what, here’s a playlist to save you looking them all up….
Top of the heap is the little known Maurice and Mac, surely one of Chess Records’ least heralded acts, despite their absolutely nailing this track. Their version, released in 1968 and recorded at FAME Studios in Muscle Shoals is, to my ears at least, an absolute no-holds-barred genuine R&B classic.
Funky drums, that plucked-violin-string riff, the harmonies, the horns, that bluesy guitar lick, then the church organ and Maurice and Mac’s cries….ah, it’s a thing of wonder and joy! Take a listen and tell me this isn’t a hit record.
Ah, but of course. It wasn’t.
Maurice McAlister and Green ‘Mac’ McLauren were previously members of Chicago-based group The Radiants, a vocal act signed to Chess Records until 1965.
Maurice and Mac formed a duo and recorded a few sides for Chess in a style similar to that of Sam & Dave, but never broke through with any chart success. They weren’t so much a one-hit wonder as a no-hit wonder.
The reason for this is a mystery – on the evidence of “You Left The Water Running” it wasn’t down to the music. The duo split in 1972, hitless, but having bequeathed to the world a classic song or two of finest R&B.
The other interesting thing about Maurice McAlister is that as well as being a great singer, he could also pen a decent tune, not least Sugar Pie DeSanto’s “Soulful Dress”, mentioned in the pages at the turn of the year, and which – because looking up stuff on Google is a chore – I have cleverly inserted below. I know. I’m such a professional.
That’s two great, slightly obscure R&B tunes for the price of one.
Now, let me see you dance around your kitchen….