Alan Freed’s colossal reputation is based largely on the fact that he invariably passed up seemingly antiseptic white cover versions in favor of the original recordings by black acts. And Freed’s aesthetic judgment was largely borne out; the number of white covers that surpassed the black originals was vanishingly small. I feel I can make a case for exactly two, one of which was Elvis’ take on “Hound Dog,” which leaves Big Mama Thornton’s blues shouter in its high-velocity dust.
This is the other.
What’s particularly cool about this Diamonds gig is that Maurice Williams, who wrote the darn thing and recorded it first with his Gladiolas, gets to sit in. I’d like to think Alan Freed would have enjoyed it.