Other People’s Songs: “It hurts me too”. Your correspondent off the rails

By Aaron Galbraith and (a rather over-excited) Tony Attwood

Foreword for new readers: Aaron in the USA selects the song and the tracks, and Tony in the UK adds his comments while listening to the recordings Aaron has selected.

Aaron: “It Hurts Me Too” is based on “Things ‘Bout Comin’ My Way”, recorded by Tampa Red in 1931, recording this in 1940.

Tony: This is an absolute classic blues format based around the chord sequence:

Bb, Bb7, Eb, Ebm, Bb, F, Bb

It’s a sequence that offers easily as much as the 12 bar blues sequence, but is used far less often for some reason.  Maybe because there are no repeated vocal lines, which makes the 12 bar blues even easier to write.  Or perhaps if it had become known as the 8 bar blues (which is in fact what it is) it would have caught on more. Personally, as a sequence, I love it.

But this song does show how much there is, in this simple arrangement of chords and a great musical arrangement built on top of it.  It is just verse after verse with the same last line for each verse, but so much can be done with it.

Aaron: Dylan’s version came from 1970s Self Portrait

Tony: Bob plays around with the rhythm and with the classic chord sequence adding an extra chord as the penultimate after “go wrong with you”.

But what we really notice is the addition of the swing beat which allows for all the laid-back fun in the instrumental verse.  That swing beat gives us 16 bars of bouncy 4/4 rhythm and a totally different feel.    And what really, really makes it work is that accompaniment, so gentle, but with so much swing – these guys must have had a wow of a time playing this.

I really wonder how on earth Bob thought of putting this rhythm to the song. Was it entirely his idea or did he hear this rhythmic version on an old 78rpm?   (And I must odd, it would be a hell of a track to dance to in a classic but fast 1930s swing style.   Way beyond my abilities now, and actually it probably was when I was a lot younger, but I can see it in my mind’s eye, and it sure looks good.)

Anyway, enough of that…

Aaron: Three members of The Rolling Stones released an album in 1972 called Jamming with Edward! Based on jam sessions while waiting for Keith to arrive in the studio, their version of the track incorporates lyrics from Dylan’s Pledging My Time

Tony: What a fabulous introduction; I just feel it is a trifle sad that with all this talent on display, they couldn’t come up with something more after that intro.  But then I guess they were just waiting for the final member of the band to show, and so they are going to play it, not work on the arrangement.   Good fun.  Nice change over to Dylan’s “Pledging my time” partway through as well, which of course is based on the same sequence.   I’m sure you’ll know it inside out, but just in case here it is…

Aaron: Several great versions followed over the years by the likes of Foghat, Eric Clapton, Robert Palmer , Steve Miller ETC. But here is a version by Keb’ Mo’ from 2000 who took this song in an entirely different direction

Tony: Wow this is a surprise – not a track I knew at all; either this is a brilliant find Aaron or I am, as ever, several hundred years behind the times.   This is incredible; it is exactly the sort of musical invention that I adore and worship.   He’s kept the lyrical style, and the chord sequence, although there is one change (the one written as Ebm in my original is played at Gb I think – sorry I am doing this in my head and not at the piano and that change just took me completely by surprise), and it is a stunner.   It works perfectly, while giving us that little feel that yes, ok, the beat is pronounced and speeded up, the instrumentation is different, but (he says) I’m still going to give you another surprise too.

And if I may wander over to another art form, it would be an absolute scream to dance this piece as a couple, to a triple-step just dancing around the whole ballroom floor.  Just the band playing this, and one couple travelling the whole floor – goodness I ought to have had a life writing film scripts rather than advertising copy.

Oh Aaron, that was so much fun.   Another article soon please!

PS: I’ve just started to play that final track again – I would strongly recommend anyone who has read this ramble of mine and listened to the Keb Mo version to the end now does this.  Go back to the start and play it again, and just take in that opening in the knowledge of where the song goes to.   I say again “wow, wow and thrice wow” (sorry to non-UK readers, that’s a very English joke… Frankie Howerd, if you remember).

Previously in this series…

  1. Other people’s songs. How Dylan covers the work of other composers
  2. Other People’s songs: Bob and others perform “Froggie went a courtin”
  3. Other people’s songs: They killed him
  4. Other people’s songs: Frankie & Albert
  5. Other people’s songs: Tomorrow Night where the music is always everything
  6. Other people’s songs: from Stack a Lee to Stagger Lee and Hugh Laurie
  7. Other people’s songs: Love Henry
  8. Other people’s songs: Rank Stranger To Me
  9. Other people’s songs: Man of Constant Sorrow
  10. Other people’s songs: Satisfied Mind
  11. Other people’s songs: See that my grave is kept clean
  12. Other people’s songs: Precious moments and some extras
  13. Other people’s songs: You go to my head
  14. Other people’s songs: What’ll I do?
  15. Other people’s songs: Copper Kettle
  16. Other people’s songs: Belle Isle
  17. Other people’s songs: Fixing to Die
  18. Other people’s songs: When did you leave heaven?
  19. Other people’s songs: Sally Sue Brown
  20. Other people’s songs: Ninety miles an hour down a dead end street
  21. Other people’s songs: Step it up and Go
  22. Other people’s songs: Canadee-I-O
  23. Other people’s songs: Arthur McBride
  24. Other people’s songs: Little Sadie
  25. Other people’s songs: Blue Moon, and North London Forever
  26. Other people’s songs: Hard times come again no more
  27. Other people’s songs: You’re no good
  28. Other people’s songs: Lone Pilgrim (and more Crooked Still)
  29. Other people’s songs: Blood in my eyes
  30. Other people’s songs: I forgot more than you’ll ever know
  31.  Other people’s songs: Let’s stick (or maybe work) together.
  32. Other people’s songs: Highway 51
  33. Other people’s songs: Jim Jones
  34. Other people’s songs: Let’s stick (or maybe work) together.
  35. Other people’s songs: Jim Jones
  36. Other people’s songs: Highway 51 Blues
  37. Other people’s songs: Freight Train Blues
  38. Other People’s Songs: The Little Drummer Boy
  39. Other People’s Songs: Must be Santa
  40. Other People’s songs: The Christmas Song
  41. Other People’s songs: Corina Corina
  42. Other People’s Songs: Mr Bojangles


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