Let The Good Times Roll
Perfect opportunity to say a few words about this track, as Bono and The Edge actually performed it live this week, joining B.B. King and other artists at the annual Thelonious Monk gala in Los Angeles. (YouTube video behind the cut.) The song was previously recorded by Bono, Stevie Wonder and Ray Charles for Quincy Jones' 1995 album Q's Jook Joint.
^ All-star finale of the Thelonius Monk Institute of Jazz gala concert, Sunday 26th October 2008, at the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood. Bono and The Edge played 'When Love Comes To Town' with B.B. King, before being joined by most of the other performers for a group jam of 'Let The Good Times Roll'. (It's so easy to pick out the U2ers in that clip, despite the bootleg footage - I spotted Edge's stompy guitar playing and Bono's awkward clapping straight away. *g*)
Background info on the song: it was originally a hit for Louis Jordan and his Tympany Five back in 1946, and was written by Sam Theard and Fleecie Moore. (Or not... Moore was in fact Louis Jordan's wife, and apparently he often credited her with songs he'd written himself, so he could sign with more than one publisher whilst avoiding a breach of contract. Maybe not the wisest idea - she ended up stabbing him twice, they got divorced, and she got to keep all the royalties! Good times indeed.)
The Quincy Jones album Q's Jook Joint, released in November 1995, features a version of the song performed by Stevie Wonder, Ray Charles and our very own B-man. It seems to be a relatively unknown track, I've not seen it mentioned very much. But if you're a Bono-falsetto whore like myself, it's a must-have! The way he sings the line "Ooohh sugar, let the good times roll"... GUH. And later he does more high vocals in the background while Stevie and Ray sing their alternating lines. It's fabulous. If you prefer your Bono vocals more low and husky, there's something here for you too - his opening verse sounds great! All-in-all, sexy stuff.
Quincy Jones talks about Bono's participation in the album's liner notes:
One night in 1987, Charlie Hicks called from the limo and said that he was "With someone that wanted to meet me." "Tonight?" I replied, but before I could get the rest of my sentence out he said he'd be right over and hung up the phone. Five minutes later, Charlie, Bono and his lovely wife Ali walked through the door. He told me how he had listened to my albums growing up. I have to confess I didn't know anything about U2, but four hours later, there we were still talking. The next night, Ali picked me up and brought me to the Los Angeles Coliseum. Our seats were center stage right near the soundboard. I became an immediate fan. Later, during the Rattle and Hum tour, Bono leased the house next to mine. We've been friends ever since. He is smart, perceptive, curious, warm, real and strongly connected to music's roots. His introduction of Sinatra at the Grammy Awards was so on the money that I asked him to send me a copy of it. He is the perfect fit for the middle of this. The addition of Bono simply felt natural, the way things should be.
LYRICS (Bono's vocals in bold)
I am the Kid Capri
And I'm up in here with Stevie Wonder
I got Bono on the check-in
I got Ray Charles coolin' out
I got Q's Big Band jumpin' off
Do what you gotta do
Let's have some fun
You only live but once
And when you're dead you're done
So let the good time roll
Yeah, let the good time roll
I don't care if you're young or old
You oughta get together and let the good time roll
Don't sit there mumblin'
You wanna have a ball
You gotta lose some cash
Let the good times roll / (Let the good times roll)
Let the good times roll / (Good times, haha, yeah)
If you're young or old / (No, no)
Ooh sugar, let the good times roll
Hit me, band!
Hey y'all, tell everybody, Ray Charles in town
Got a dollar and a quarter and I'm just rarin' to clown
Don't let nobody play me cheap
I've got fifty cents more than I am gonna keep
I'm gonna let the good time roll / (Let it roll... yeah)
Whoa... we gonna get it on tonight! Ha ha ha! / (And let the good times roll)
And I don't care if you're young or old / (Ooh ooh)
Get yourself together and let the good time roll
Let the good times roll
(Ooh-ooh...) / No matter whether
(Haa-ahh...) / Rainy weather
(Ooh-ooh...) / You wanna have a ball
(Haa-ahh...) / You gotta get yourself together
Get yourself under control
And come on let the good times roll
Let the good times roll
Ha ha ha ha...
I know where I'm gonna spend all my money, down at Q's Jook Joint!
Can I get in here?
Man, if you don't let me in this place, I'll turn it out. I'll turn it out.
Just for you, three legends in one. Bargain!