musicology #383

Modernist #11

(Chris Kenner – Land Of 1000 Dances)

Sliding out of the Jamaican selection into one from New Orleans featuring a Cat who is perhaps best known to Mod/ernists for his 1961 cut ‘I Like It Like That’.

Popularised by Wilson Pickett in 1966 this, the 1963 original, speaks volumes for what distinquished the Mod/ernist from the Mods. Hold this quote from an ‘information panel’ on the subject by musicologist Johnny Spencer, (he of the magnificent project)

“By 1964 the Mods had arrived and it was all over for the Modernists, the faces that had piloted this new paradigm of liberty for British youth, a liberation that was carried in the mind from generation to generation. Mods, generally the younger siblings of the Modernists, could not claim the originality of their predecessors, although they shared many of their preferences, smart clothes, Soul music etc, they came to a ready made situation, the territory had been won, what they chose to do was enjoy it. They were more casual and this led to a lack of vigilance, a dropping of the guard, and soon the media and corporate interests were in there, bleeding, filleting and gutting this new market and threat to the status quo. Masses of newer converts, ‘tickets’, were soon sold the concept of Mod: an outfit, pop idols and an attitude, it was small wonder that by 1965 the entire movement was dead, and with the age of the ‘Skinhead’, who also shared a subtle common bond with an emerging, oppressed black culture, the first real and enduring anti-fashion movement started”.

Nailed on..

Today’s cut is based on a spiritual entitled ‘Children Go Where I Send You’, further evidence of the debt owed to the Gospel tradition by the new music emerging out of the urban experience of big cities such as New Orleans, Chicago, New York, Detroit and Memphis where migration had a major impact. Recorded for and released on the fabulous Minit label which had already scored with Mod/ernists by releasing cuts like the above mentioned ‘I Like It Like That’, Ernie K Doe’s ‘Mother In Law’ and Benny Spellman’s ‘Fortune Teller’, (To name but Three)..written by Chris Kenner and Fats Domino.


15 thoughts on “musicology #383

  1. as an aside when I was a lad from around 1969 onwards, the only skinheads I knew were working class few middle class boys wanted anything to do with the ‘ardnuts ………


  2. FANTASTIC…you are so right, to me that track is exactly the difference, Wilson Pickett’s is good,
    but this is soooooo much better, this reminds me so much of the on..once again the quote from Johnny Spencer on the ‘marketing’ of the mod is just how it seemed to me at the time..


  3. Chris Kenner – Land of a 1000 Dances. Bullseye!!

    One of my all time Mod favorites. Slower – but not too slow – rolling, stomping beat. Great for jiving (well, I thought so… it got me out on the dance-floor).

    Pure 1963 Mod! As countess says… FANTASTIC.

    I don’t know if Robert Parker’s Let’s Go Baby (Where The Action Is) was released around the same time but, for me at least, it hits the same “feeling” jiving spot!

    PS. Never heard that intro before!!


  4. Supa8…. few working class boys wanted anything to do with the ‘ardnuts either…. Now, the skinheads, well…….


  5. I always love all the dance names he throws in, and the mention of the “name of the place – “I Like It Like That” [and the band called the Twistolettes!]. Great tune, tho I do still prefer
    “I Like It Like That, Pts 1&2” – both sides are killer !!! And don’t forget “Ooh-Poop A Doo” – that’s another one from ‘those days’….


    1. Steve,
      all great tunes..I have an ‘answer’ cut to ‘I Like It Like That’ by a girl group..Jesse Hill’s Ooh Poo Pa Doo, (musicology #334) Pt’s 1 & 2…classic, shame about the name !! all are on Minit along with other great tunes like ‘Fortune Teller’ and the BIG Ernie K Doe cut…’Mother In Law’. Allen Toussaint deserves a lot of the credit for what came out on the label…some of them Irma Thomas cuts are ‘marrow tremblers’. Can’t say I know the Doctor Feelgood but I’m sure it’s a the way when did you first start buying music and do you remember the first, (major), tune you bought?


  6. …another one I always think of that’s a bit down-home ‘southern’ R ‘n B is “Dr Feelgood” by Dr Feelgood & the Interns [aka Piano Red] , came out here on a Stateside EP which I still have….


  7. young Liam…..I also had a penchant for the flipside of Kenner’s Land of a Thousand Dances

    the very infectious

    ‘Thats my girl’


    1. Sir D,
      welcome my man..quality tune. On reflection I don’t think I have a duff tune by Chris Kenner?
      For me though it has to be this one for it’s danceability but also something about the ‘lowdown’ feel. Unfortunately I cant read music, (maybe I should learn), so I can’t identify the key it’s in but I think that’s something to do with it. In fact I think that’s one I’ll add to the list of things to try and achieve while I’m here on Mother Earth…learn a bit of music theory !!


  8. yes, you can hear Toussaint very clearly in the backing vocals. In fact, many of those tracks were released on a series of Lps – We Sing The Blues, New Orleans Our Home Town, ETC, all currently available on 2-on1 CDs via Stateside at price on Amazon [ end of commercial]


    1. not on a commision are you Steve? hahahahaha..seriously though, thanks for that tip i’m on my way there now !!


  9. On Land Of 1000 Dances. While “searching” Chris Kenner and Allen Toussaint I got really pissed off at how often Wilson Pickett is accredited as the singer of this song. Then, while checking all the published lyrics sites, I had one of those “illumination moments”… The song Wilson Pickett is accredited with is the na-na-na-na version. Chris Kenner’s original is completely different. And the difference (oh yahhh) is like chalk and cheese. Listen to it again and imagine it without that insistent, driving/jiving Oh yahhh after one line, and the hypnotic whoo, whoooo after the next. Without it, it just wouldn’t be the same song!!!

    So to set the record straight, here it is, exclusive to themusicologist, the complete and *definitive lyrics to the Kenner/Toussaint song

    Land Of 1000 Dances (oh yahhh)

    Children go where I send you (How will you send me)
    I’m gonna send you to that land, the land of a 1000 dances

    You gotta know how to pony (oh yahhhh) like boney marony (whoo, whoooo)

    You gotta know how to twist (oh yahhhh) it goes like this (whoo, whoooo)

    Mash potato (oh yahhhh) do the alligator (whoo, whoooo)

    Twist the twister (oh yahhhh) like your lil’ sister (whoo, whoooo)

    Did you get your yoyo (oh yahhhh) say hey let’s go go (whoo, whoooo)

    Get out on your knees (oh yahhhh) do the sweet peas (whoo, whoooo)

    Roll over on your back (oh yahhhh) say I like it like that (whoo,whoooo)

    Do the watusi (oh yahhhh) do the watusi (whoo, whoooo)

    Can you do the fly (oh yahhhh) with a hand jive (whoo,whoooo)

    Can you do the slut (oh yahhhh) the chicken in the pot (whoo, whoooo)

    Can you do the fish (oh yahhhh) slow slow twist (whoo, whoooo)

    Can you do the bong (oh yahhhh) its so so wrong (whoo, whoooo)

    Can you do the tango (oh yahhhh) takes two to tango (whoo,w hoooo)

    Bye bye children (oh yahhhh) Bye bye children (whoo, whoooo)

    Bye bye children (oh yahhhh) Come on children (whoo, whoooo)

    I wanna show you (oh yahhhh) this little place (whoo, whoooo)

    across the track (oh yahhhh) The name of this place (whoo, whoooo)

    is I like it like that (oh yahhhh) The name of band (whoo, whoooo)

    the sister-lettes (oh yahhhh) Come on children (whoo, whoooo)

    I wanna show you (oh yahhhh) I wanna show you (whoo, whoooo)

    I wanna show you (oh yahhhh) Come on children……………… fade out

    (*is “the bong” the right WORD or not? I don’t know. But that’s not my point. Mine is the importance of “Oh yehhh, whoo whoooo”.)

    it’s that rhythmic (almost hypnotic), continuous, insistent, “oh yehhh, whoo whooo” that ‘s the key to it all; it’s that that hits the GROOVE in my opinion….. FANTASTIC!!


    1. 100% agree..with the ‘oh yeahs’ and the ‘wooh woohs’, certainly hypnotic. I’m guesssing that there’s something about the Key that it’s played in too. which I am not qualified to identify.
      thanks for taking the time to transcribe the lyrics..most appreciated


  10. I’m still “mining away” on the Sweet Soul Music 1961 booklet. These little gems of information are adding enormously to my limited knowledge of the period. I trust you too find them interesting.
    If not, then say so and I”ll leave it at that.

    This one is off the page about Chris Kenner’s “I Like It Like That, Part 1” on the Valient/Instant label.

    Kenner was one of the giants of New Orleans music and for me at least, he’s up there in R&B’s Parthenon.

    The text is so “good” and at the same time so “bad” and also so sad that I can’t find a way to edit it.
    So here’s the lot………..

    “It’s hard to believe that anything this good could be a #2 pop hit in 1961 and equally hard to believe that anyone so messed up as Kenner could get it together for long enough to record and promote it.

    Born on Christmas Day 1928 in Kenner, Louisiana, Christophe Kenner grew up singing in Gospel groups and first recorded for Baton Records in 1955 0r ’56.

    In the hands of producer Dave Bartholomew he he recorded “Sick And Tired” for Imperial in 1957, and then recorded for two local labels, Pontchartrain and Ron.

    Talking to John Broven, Kenner explained how he came to write “I Like It Like That”…. ‘It was a slang gimmick. It was a good title and I tried to put a story to it. We didn’t think it would be no big thing. I had it on tape for about two years before I recorded it. I had it on tape at Allen Toussaint’s house, and one day Joe Banashak was stopped by at Allen’s house and Allen played him some old tapes.’

    Kenner recorded “I Like It Like That” for Banashak on January 12th. 1961, and it was released on the Valiant (soon to be Instant) label.

    Unprepared for stardom, Kenner was hanging out with some winos under a bridge and hadn’t changed clothes for several days when someone came to find him to tell him that “I Like It Like That” had broken nation-wide.

    Swept up on tour, Kenner was almost mute on Dick Clark’s Bandstand and often forgot the words to his own songs on stage.

    He was no more organised in his approach to song-writing, frequently showing up with just a few words without chord changes, but in his haphazard way he came up with several bona fide classics.

    In addition to to the aforementioned “Sick And Tired” and “I Like It Like That”, he wrote “Land Of 1000 Dances” and “Something You Got”. More disciplined songwriters might hope to come up with just one of those.

    In 1968 Kenner was convicted of the statutory rape of minor and sent to Angola Penitentiary for three years. By the time he got out he’d accumulated $20,000 in royalties and proceeded to drink his way through it.

    He was found dead in his apartment on January 28th. 1976.”

    acknowledgements…. Bear Family’s (anachronistically titled) Sweet Soul Music CD series.


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