It was nothing but a very weird coincidence, but the day after I posted a podcast I put together featuring a portion of Mitch Ryder's show at UTC, I got a copy of Alice Cooper's new CD, "Breadcrumbs."
The coincidence lies in the fact that both Ryder and Cooper chose to perform the Shorty Long version of "Devil With a Blue Dress," which is the original, released in 1964. It is much slower and bluesier than the version Ryder turned into a monster hit in 1966 with the Detroit Wheels.
You can hear it and the entire podcast here. "Devil" is the last song. You can hear the Cooper version on Spotify. The album, which is pretty darn good, came out on Friday.
Cooper paired his version with "Chains of Love." Of course, the Ryder hit that most people are familiar with was paired with "Good Golly Miss Molly," which is the version Bruce Springsteen did so often in his concerts, while throwing in "Jenny Take a Ride" for good measure.
While introducing the song at UTC, Ryder said that he had heard Long's version in Detroit, where it was a minor hit but "went nowhere" else. He said that during a recording session in New York, the producer asked if they knew of any hits in Detroit that they might consider recording, and they suggested "Devil."
Ryder and the Detroit Wheels were all in their teens, but had had two hits already with "Jenny Take a Ride" and "Little Latin Lupe Lu," which was written, by the way, by Bill Medley of the Righteous Brothers. I know that because he mentioned it during our interview last week. He also mentioned that the duo was able to befriend everyone from Frank Sinatra to Elvis Presley to the Beatles, which is pretty crazy to think about.
Ryder said last week after hearing the Cooper version that it was simply a coincidence that both did the song that way, but that "it is pretty cool."
* I'll say it again — and probably again and again — but I just don't understand going to a concert and talking through the entire thing. I'm sure whatever it was the young girl had to say to the young boy at the Brandi Carlile show was very important, but why make your way to the front of the stage to have the conversation?
And while we are at it: You kids get off my lawn.
Contact Barry Courter at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6354.