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Them: 'Baby Please Don't Go' (1965)

Greil Marcus, 'When That Rough God Goes Riding', June 2010

IN 1965, THEM'S 'Baby Please Don't Go'–usually cited as a rock 'n' roll update of a song first recorded by the Mississippi blues singer Joe Williams–had the virtue of sounding as if it had emerged full-blown from Van Morrison's forehead. After a twenty-five-second lead-in–knife-edge notes on a guitar, following footsteps from a bass, drums and organ kicking up noise, harmonica curving the rhythm–Morrison leaps into the song as if he hasn't noticed the musical horde racing ahead, and as with 'Mystic Eyes' in an instant the band is chasing him. There's a desperation in his hurry that all but rewrites the song: he's singing "Well, your man done gone," but you can hear it as "Your mind done gone" and believe it.

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