Like everyone else, working studio musicians like to take a break and blow off steam now and again during a long session of serious focused work, as several clips on this site testify: e.g., Prison Story, “Hold it, Hold it," among others.
And it’s a fact that for the best musicians, especially if they know each other well, a “break” or “blowing off steam” will not be coffee and kvetching in the lounge, but just more music — only something fun, unrehearsed, a chance to stretch out a little after the hours if not days of focused playing.
Here’s one that the Whack band(s) broke into more than once across the months of recording. This particular clip comes from the Signet sessions (“Do you hear the bass, Rick?”). It should surprise no one that it’s a 12-bar blues.
We’re calling it Black Dog — for reasons that will become obvious— and we’re crediting it to that very prolific fellow “Trad”; there was a song Black Dog Blues in the ‘20s but — other than that they’re both blues — it bears no resemblance musically or lyrically to the Becker Band confection here. All sorts of clever web searches and a few inquiries haven't turned up the song in this clip either. But there’s nothing like wide distribution to shake out some 411, so perhaps more will be forthcoming.
We suspect it's simply made up of the constituent parts common to virtually all spontaneous, improvised blues: a well-known structure and set of changes; lyric segments pulled from one or more blues idioms scrambled with the singer’s own improvisations; resulting in refreshed musicians ready to return to the wash rinse and repeat of their professional efforts.
There are several other recordings of this “song”, when the band pulled it out almost like a familiar palate-cleanser, a bit of ginger between songs and takes. Some of these are longer, with more verses of W’s singing and improv lyrics, and more kick-ass solos from Parks. If we find them again (don’t ask) we’ll add them here.
And finally, although we’re calling this Black Dog, you’re about to hear why we should probably call it All Bow Down Before Dean "Black Dog” Parks.
Movie: Matt Kerns. Special appearance by Lucy.
Black Dog (Traditional © 1992/2020)
Black Dog is barkin' all night long
Black Dog is barkin all night long
Black Dog baby, barkin’ all night long