Title: Ain't Too Proud To Beg b/w Mr Invitation
Catalogue Number: Phillips 6078 002
Review Format: 45
Release Year: 1972
Plundering the Vinyl Vault once more, one picture sleeve caught the Bluesbunny's attention. Aha, that one! Famous it is too amongst collectors for it features a stunning, bare breasted woman apparently suckling a lion cub. Real man appeal. In case you do not recognise the description, the sleeve belong to a band called Mama Lion and the song turns out to be a cover of the Temptation's favourite "Ain't Too Proud to Beg".
For your information, the stunning, bare breasted woman - also the singer, by the way - is Lynn Carey. Those of you who are cinephiles will remember Russ Meyer's classic "Beyond the Valley of the Dolls" and may well also remember that she provided the dubbed singing voice for the fictitious band the Carrie Nations whose rise to fame was the subject of the film. Well, she also released some stuff under the name Mama Lion. The cover - by today's standards - is tame but at the time it brought some notoriety to the band.
All very interesting you might say but what about the music? Taking the cover of "Ain't Too Proud To Beg" first, what we get is a rockier bluesy version of the soul classic with Ms Carey giving Janis Joplin a run for her money with a raspy full power vocal. Nowadays it sound very dated (if rather charming) with the production and arrangements lacking discipline. Mind you that could be said of a lot of music of that time period. "Mr Invitation" keeps it company on the flipside. As best the Bluesbunny memory can recall, this is an edit from the rambling original LP version. It still sounds more like a jam than a song but Ms Carey's over the top lead vocals give it life and things were different in 1972 of course so it probably made more sense then. Different times, different drugs.
So there you have it - a single better known for its cover than the music contained therein. All the Mama Lion releases are collector's items these days but a couple of CD reissues and compilations have surfaced on a variety of obscure labels like Picar and Music Unlimited. Not entirely sure how legitimate these labels might be but they are probably the easiest and cheapest way of getting some Mama Lion these days
March 14, 2008
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