2021 SONG DRAFT- ROUND 3 PICK 9- NOSTALGIC ITALIAN SELECTS-‘LOOK AT LITTLE SISTER’ -HANK BALLARD AND THE MIDNIGHTERS

Look at Little Sister / I Said I Wouldn't Beg You by Hank Ballard & the  Midnighters (Single, Rock & Roll): Reviews, Ratings, Credits, Song list -  Rate Your Music

Welcome to Round Three of the 2021 Song Draft hosted by Hanspostcard. It has been fun for me to pick and share my songs, but even cooler to check out the picks of the other participants.

As I compiled my list of songs to pick from, I had Hank Ballard and Stevie Ray Vaughn on the list with two separate songs. Then, I had some music playing on YouTube at work and changed my Stevie Ray song to this one – just so I could share the video. More on that in a minute.

There are some songs that you can search and find pages and pages of notes and stories about. However, there really wasn’t a whole lot about this song. I removed Stevie’s name from the search and just searched “Look at Little Sister. All of a sudden, there was Hank Ballard.

Hank was born in Detroit in 1927. In 1953, he joined the Doo Wop group, the Royals. Because of the group The Five Royales, the group changed their name to The Midnighters. In 1954, Hank wrote “Work With Me Annie” which was a number one R&B song for 7 weeks. In 1959, he wrote and recorded “The Twist,” which became Chubby Checker’s signature song. In 1960 he had two top 10 records with “Finger Poppin’ Time” and my original Hank song draft pick “Let’s Go, Let’s Go, Let’s Go.”

In a concert clip of Hank singing “Look At Little Sister” he says he wrote the song in 1959 after watching his little sister out in the back yard dancing around. Whether or not that was true, or whether it was just a clever way to intro the song at the show, I didn’t know. I am friend’s with Hank’s son, Daryle, on Facebook (He is a singer, too) so I reached out to him and asked. He confirmed to me that his dad told him that his sister was indeed the inspiration for the song. I had no idea that the song was originally done (and written) by Hank. I had to find it. After listening to it, I was blown away. It sounds fantastic! It has that early Rock and Roll/R&B/Rockabilly feel to it.

Hank was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990.

LOOK AT LITTLE SISTER

Hey, hey, hey, hey, hey mama look at little sis
Out in the backyard….shakin’ like this
Hey, hey, hey, hey, hey, hey….look at little sister
Hey hey hey hey….look at little sister

What about the neighbors….what they gonna say
Stop little sister….gettin’ carried away
Hey hey hey….look at little sister
Hey hey hey hey….look at little sister

Shakin’ like a tree….rollin’ like a log
Shakin’ and a rollin’ now….that ain’t all
Hey hey hey….look at little sister
Hey hey hey hey….look at little sister

(Guitar solo)

Shakin’ like a tree….rollin’ like a log
Shakin’ and a rollin’ now….that ain’t all
Hey hey hey….look at little sister
Hey hey hey hey….look at little sister

What about the neighbors….what they gonna say
Stop little sister….gettin’ carried away
Hey hey hey….look at little sister
Hey hey hey hey….look at little sister

What about Stevie’s version??

Stevie Ray Vaughn released Look at Little Sister on his third album Soul to Soul in 1985. I gained a better appreciation for Stevie Ray’s music long after he had passed away. All I really had heard was “Pride and Joy” and “The Sky Is Crying” prior to that. The more I listened to it, the more I appreciated his vocals, and of course, his guitar playing. Which brings me to the video I wanted to share.

It was a toss up between a few of Stevie’s songs for this song draft, but then I saw a video of him doing Look at Little Sister live. What is so special about it? In my opinion, the video of this particular performance shows what an amazing talent he was. During the second half of his guitar solo, at around the 2:35 mark, he breaks a guitar string. Now if you just listen to it without watching it, you have no idea it broke. The solo is flawless. Watching it, you realize that he just improvises the rest of the solo around the strings he has left. I can watch this video over and over again and am amazed at how he never flinches.

What makes the video even cooler, is that his crew knows his string is broke. He looks at them mid-solo, after the solo, the crew brings him another guitar, Stevie keeps singing while the new guitar is handed to him, and without missing a beat, he is back to playing when he’s supposed to. It truly is an fascinating thing to watch.

Stevie Ray Vaughn was killed in a helicopter crash in 1990, the same year Hank Ballard was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Stevie Ray would be posthumously inducted in 2015.

Don’t ask me to pick one or the other as my favorite – I can’t. To me, that is what makes a great song. Here is the same song, recorded two and a half decades apart. Each version having a similar, yet different feel to it. Yet, they both stand alone as fantastic tracks.

So, did I cheat and actually make this about TWO songs instead of one? No. I draft one great song – but feature two different versions! I hope you enjoy this one as much as I do!

25 responses to “2021 SONG DRAFT- ROUND 3 PICK 9- NOSTALGIC ITALIAN SELECTS-‘LOOK AT LITTLE SISTER’ -HANK BALLARD AND THE MIDNIGHTERS

    • I had heard the SRV version before, but only found the Hank version while searching for song info. I agree – both versions are excellent. I never posted Stevie’s version, but it is just as good.

  1. Hanks voice is terrific in this and SRV…what can you say? He was one of the most aggressive guitar players I’ve ever seen along with Hendrix. There was no fear in either one…they always went for it. That string breaking shows a lot of prep in many bars and clubs.

    No I couldn’t pick one either…just enjoying them both on some headphones…the only way to listen. Great writeup Keith!

  2. Consider mind officially blown that you are fb friends with Mr. Ballard’s son. You can’t get any closer to the source than that. First time hearing his version and learning he is the songwriter and original recorder of this grooving R&B tune. I like both versions also, but I nod to the songwriter with my preferred version. Mr. Vaughn has my admiration for two things: 1) making it look easy, and 2) staying calm under pressure. Excellent write-up, Keith. I love learning new things about good music. As far as pushing the boundaries I did the same thing with “Dimming of the Day” by including the original by Richard & Linda Thompson and the cover by Bonnie Raitt.

  3. Killer tune. Love this pick. Stevie knew how to choose the right songs. Heard his version first and it was instant “YES”. He is one guy I miss. Hanks version is right up there. What a cool song. Maybe I’ll do a version too. Fantastic piece.

  4. Very cool how you could meld two draft choices into one. I love Hank’s version. Hearing it for the first time today, it knocks my socks off. It would be my choice over SRV’s version, but both are great. I love that you were able to get info directly from Hank’s son.

  5. I knew and totally dig the SVR version of “Little Sister” – what an amazing guitarist and pretty good blues vocalist! That clip of his live performance is amazing.

    I had not heard Hank Ballard’s original. This rocks very nicely as well – cool!

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