Nellie Lutcher: Hurry On Down


Hurry On Down


Nellie Lutcher (piano, vocals)


The Best of Nellie Lutcher (Blue Note)

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Nellie Lutcher (piano, vocals),

Ulysses Livingston (guitar), Billy Hadnott (bass), Lee Young (drums)


Composed by Nellie Lutcher


Recorded: Los Angeles, April 10, 1947


Rating: 95/100 (learn more)

Fats Waller's two greatest disciples, Julia Lee and Nellie Lutcher, were both alike and different. By way of comparison, the two Afro-American pianist-singers shared a signature song, or at least a piece of material that the two of them developed independently from a folk-blues source. Lee first recorded it in 1929 as "Won't You Come Over To My House" and then again in 1944, on her first Capitol date, as "Come On Over To My House"; Lutcher called her version "Hurry On Down," and recorded it at her own first Capitol session, in 1947. They are similar enough to be considered variations on the same material: Lee sings "Come on over to my house, baby / Nobody home but me" and Lutcher coos, "Hurry on down to my house, baby / Ain't nobody home but me."

With Lee, you somehow assume the song is being sung by a housewife, whose kids are at school and whose husband is at work; Lutcher, contrastingly, sounds like a teenaged girl whose parents have stepped out to catch a Hopalong Cassidy triple feature. The way Lee sings it, there's no doubt what she has in mind; with Lutcher, you're also relatively sure, but it also sounds like she could be desiring a play date, and not necessarily in the amorous sense; it almost sounds as if it could be a couple of kiddies cavorting innocently. Really.

Lee sings it with deliberateness; even though it's fast and exciting, every word and every intention is crystal clear. Lutcher machine-guns out the lyrics in a way that reminds me of Bob Hope deliberately swallowing his punch lines to make audiences listen harder. Lutcher sings it as fast as humanly possible, without apparent regard to intelligibility. She knew that audiences wouldn't miss her larger point. Her special effects, her yelps and squeals, are more important than the actual words, and her meaning is impossible to misinterpret.

Reviewer: Will Friedwald

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