The track’s elegance is derived from it’s sparsity, with the Sheiks’ original version containing nothing more than an acoustic guitar doubling as rhythm and percussion, Walter Vinson’s timeless, smokey vocals, and a fiddle, courtesy of Lonnie Chatmon, that weaves through the song, harmonizing with the lyrics, suggesting both a haunting backup vocal and the iconic southern sounds of the country.
Around that time, country and western swing pioneer Milton Brown covered the track, which lead to it’s widespread popularity in Country music. In 1983 the Grovely State School Recorder Band performed the song for a band competition in Brisbane, Australia. They eventually dispersed, partially from effects of the Great Depression, and most members of the family simply returned to farming in Mississippi as they always had. The Sheiks’ lineup was a fluid and revolving group, depending on who was available, that included Walter Vinson, Lonnie and Sam Chatmon, Bo Carter, also the Chatmon’s brother, and Charlie McCoy. In 1973 Swedish singer Siv Inger Svensson (Siw Inger) published a German cover version of the song. "Take On Me" was just a minor hit in Norway until a new version was released with the iconic video, making it a global smash.
1 hit for the duo for two consecutive weeks in 1973. An Allen Ginsberg line from his poem Howl inspired "Machinehead" by Bush: "Machine says I saw the best minds of my generation.". Also in 1973 The Maguires covered the song recorded on RCA. Postman."
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And in 2009, Black Hen Music released Things About Comin’ My Way – A Tribute to the Mississippi Sheiks featuring the North Mississippi Allstars, John Hammond, Ndidi Onukwulu, and the Carolina Chocolate Drops singing covers of Sheiks songs.
This originally showed up on the multi-platinum album A Song For You in June 1972. His wailing harmonica and Hosea Lee Kennard’s genius piano playing gave the song an impactful new life. Check your score in the Ramones version of Fact or Fiction.