LaVern Baker – Saved

• “Saved” set to an image of LaVern and her sometime backing group, The Gliders. Thanks to Rockabilly Cowgirl.

10 “Utterly perfect Soul from the USA”

It’s the never ending quest to find the next perfect 10 which fuels my passion for record collecting – I’ve found one! It’s another sourced from my recent Ace Records purchases, on this occasion “The Golden Age Of American Rock ‘n’ Roll Volume 12”.

Recorded on December 4 1959 and first issued as a 7″ in April ’61, this scorcher took gospel straight into the Billboard Pop 40 – a highly unusual occurrence – although surely it should have soared higher?

The stupendous “Saved” came from the pens of Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller and, in my opinion, surpasses even “Hound Dog” in their considerable cannon of works. Perhaps not so much in the quality of the song – but certainly in the emotional impact. For what are writers without performers? Where would “Hound Dog” be without Big Mama Thornton or Elvis Presley to characterise and drive the song? It’s LaVern Baker who takes the utmost credit here – her commanding performance ignites all around her, resulting in a cacophony of controlled abandon. On guitar, Phil Spector was sure to be taking mental notes. The bass drum slays me. The whole is huge.

By rights, this should have been a monster Number #1 the world over. I’ll make a small effort to amend that when I come to publish my Song Chart for 1961…

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