Oct 9, 2019

"Blues Walk," "Loose Walk," and "Somebody Done Stole My Blues"

Recently I learned that the Bb blues that I knew as Clifford Brown's "The Blues Walk" is also called "Loose Walk," credited to Sonny Stitt. A little internet research turned up the fact that it is also known as "Somebody Done Stole My Blues," written by alto saxophonist Chris Woods.

Chris Woods seems to have been the actual composer; he recorded "Somebody Done Stole My Blues" on February 24, 1953 (Delmark DL-434 - for documentation, click here and scroll to the bottom of the page). If I understand correctly, this session was not released until 1976. Sonny Stitt recorded the same tune as "Loose Walk" on November 16, 1953 (Opus 202, Vogue VJD 555). Clifford Brown recorded "The Blues Walk" on February 24-25, 1955 (EmArcy 26043).

A 1962 Tubby Hayes recording, featuring Sonny Stitt, calls it "Stitt's Tune."

Although somebody apparently did indeed steal Chris Woods' blues, his title, though ironic, was not in response to that, as his recording seems to have been titled that way from the beginning.

I could imagine that the title "Blues Walk" for Clifford Brown's tune might have resulted from a misunderstanding. Perhaps the recording engineer asked Clifford for the title, Clifford called it "Loose Walk," and the engineer heard it as "Blues Walk." That's just a wild guess. The attribution to Clifford could have been a mistaken assumption. A more cynical person might speculate that royalties were involved in some way.

I couldn't find the Chris Woods 1953 recording on Youtube, but here is a 1978 live version with Clark Terry, Horace Parlan, Victor Sproles, and Bobby Durham. Clark Terry is burning. Chris Woods may not have been well known, but he could really play:

Here's Sonny Stitt's 1953 recording:

And of course, the classic Clifford Brown track:

All of the above versions are in Bb concert. Dexter Gordon liked it in F, and called it "Loose Walk":