Tuesday, March 11, 2008
"I Wish It Would Rain" has always, always, been one of my favorite hurtin' songs. (Turns out there's a good reason it's so genuinely mournful, as you'll find out if you click that link to Wikipedia there.) The Temptations recorded the original version, along with another favorite hurtin' song of mine, "Just My Imagination." And their recording is so good, a real classic. But until today, I'd never heard this version, or even heard of the singer.
O. B. McClinton was an African-American country singer, one of about two in the whole country at the time (Charley Pride is the much better known one). He grew up in Mississippi, listening to Hank Williams records and longing to be a singer. He wrote songs that were recorded by Otis Redding and Clarence Carter, and those songs got him an audition at Stax Records, where he became their first country musician. Much later, he was one of the pioneers of marketing albums exclusively on TV.
I got this track on a collection of Stax recording artists covering Motown songs, which is mostly good but ranges from the sublime (Isaac Hayes's "Never Can Say Goodbye") to the execrable (Billy Eckstine's demolition of "My Cherie Amour"). If you buy that collection, stay away from Billy Eckstine.