Tue February 4, 2014
Ira Gershwin's MOJO
"'MOJO is a commonplace part of the rhetoric of the culture of a substantial portion of the American people. As a figure of speech, the concept of having, or not having, one's MOJO working is not something in which any one person could assert originality, or establish a proprietary right." So the court ruled in Stratchborneo vs. Arc Music in 1973. The defendant? Rights holder to the Preston Foster tune "Got My Mo-Jo Working (But It Just Won't Work On You)." Ann Cole recorded it in 1956. Muddy Waters saw her sing it and made his own version (which also prompted litigation). A couple of decades earlier, Ira Gershwin wrote essentially the same song (minus the black cat bone and hoodoo ashes). It was first performed on Broadway by Bob Hope.
We'll sort all that out on Mystery Train this week, and also hear music from The Seeds, Screamin' Jay Hawkins, Billie Holiday, Don Gibson, Joni Mitchell, Laura Marling, Tarheel Slim and Jimmy Cliff, among others. Tune in Wednesday at 6pm and Sunday afternoon at 4.