The Rolling Stones

Down Home Girl

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Although "Down Home Girl" sounds rather like a rocked-up arrangement of a down-home blues tune, in fact the original version of this song was written by a couple of Brill Building songwriters. It first came out on a single by New Orleans singer Alvin Robinson, shortly before the Rolling Stones covered it on their third album, The Rolling Stones Now!. As done by Robinson, "Down Home Girl" was a rather jovial piece of New Orleans soul, with the brass and lazy, humid feel associated with much of that city's music. The pretty exaggerated evocations of the down home girl's down-home Southern-ness -- perfume that smells like turnip greens (ugh!), a kiss that tastes like pork and beans (double ugh!), and so forth -- gave the song a comic air, and also indicated that it might have been a caricature of Southern Black life to some extent, done by songwriters who were not either Black or Southern. The Rolling Stones' cover really brought out the salaciousness in the composition, particularly in Mick Jagger's drawling vocal -- about the most blatantly Southern-styled one he did in the mid-1960s -- and the funky, stinging guitar. The guitar was especially effective in the stuttering notes immediately following many of the vocal lines. They also took the song at an irregularly paced shuffle, really dragging out the beat and lyrics so that it sounded like a moodier and meaner look at a girl who both oozes sex and reeks of Southern roots. Few other of the band's tracks make the Stones' general infatuation with American Southern culture so obvious, and at once admiring and wary. The fade teases out the slightly ominous feel further, as the guitar lines go up an octave for emphasis and some blues harmonica comes in. Although it was too soaked with blues (and sexual imagery) to qualify as one of the group's more commercial early numbers, "Down Home Girl" -- nowadays not familiar to anyone but serious Stones fans -- is certainly one of the better, most atmospheric LP-only cuts on their early albums. The song wasn't quickly forgotten by the group either, as it was played in July 1969 at their concert in London's Hyde Park, Mick Taylor's first gig with the band. Others to take a crack at "Down Home Girl" include the Coasters (who put it on a single in 1967), Taj Mahal, and Nazareth.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
The Rolling Stones No. 2 1965 Decca 4:11
The Rolling Stones, Now! 1965 ABKCO Records 4:13
Remastered Series 2004 ABKCO Records 4:13
The Rolling Stones 1964-1969 [Vinyl Box Set] 2010 ABKCO Records / Universal Distribution 4:13