Jean Knight – 1971 – Mr.Big Stuff

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[[Jean Knight]] was a one hit wonder, but what a hit she had. Originally from New Orleans, Knight made her musical mark in Mississippi where Mr. Big Stuff was recorded at the Malaco Studios. Everyone should know the song with its catchy rhythm, horn line and sing along chorus. It’s one of my female Soul tunes. Ms. Knight wasn’t finished though. She also comes through with some slow numbers like “A Little Bit of Something (Is Better Than All of Nothing)” that has a little Blues tint to it, as well as more upbeat numbers like “Don’t Talk About Jody” and “Call Me Your Fool (If You Want To)”, and mid-tempo ones like “Take Him (You Can Have My Man)” with its nice groove.

This is a nice @320 vinyl rip of the original Stax Records LP including covers. You can buy the CD with bonus tracks here.

Tracks:
A1 Mr. Big Stuff 2.44
A2 A Little Bit Of Something (Is Better Than All Of Nothing) 3.19
A3 Don’t Talk About Jody 2.43
A4 Think It Over 4.47
A5 Take Him (You Can Have My Man) 2.30
B1 You City Slicker 2.52
B2 Why I Keep Living These Memories 2.52
B3 Call Me Your Fool (If You Want To) 3.04
B4 One-Way Ticket To Nowhere (It’s The End Of The Ride) 4.19
B5 Your Six-Bit Change 2.36

The Album Review

[[Jean Knight]] could do no wrong in 1971, when the strutting “Mr. Big Stuff” was climbing the pop and R&B charts, well on its way to becoming one of the most familiar chart hits of all time. Her debut album, with its no-brainer title, featured a lot of good material on it, not all of it in the same vein as her hit. Producer/arranger Wardell Quezergue (he also appeared on keyboards) handled the record well, with a band consisting of Malaco hands like guitarist Jerry Puckett and drummer James Stroud. Knight shows an admirable range on these songs, stretching out on the heartbroken ballads “A Little Bit of Something (Is Better Than All of Nothing)” and “Why I Keep Living These Memories” (each with a heavy church feel). “You City Slicker” was much too much of a “Mr. Big Stuff” sound-alike, but “Take Him (You Can Have My Man)” would’ve been a worthy follow-up to her only Top Ten hit. The CD reissue by Fantasy added a few of her later singles, including the charting “You Think You’re Hot Stuff” and the fine “Carry On.”

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Here’s a list of hip-hop songs that have sampled Mr. Big Stuff :

Beastie Boys: Johnny Ryall
CEO: Hit Me with the Beat
Del the Funky Homosapien: Pissin’ on Your Steps
Eazy-E: Boyz-N-the-Hood
Grandmaster Melle Mel ft Scorpio: Mr. Big Stuff
Heavy D: Mr. Big Stuff
Schoolly D: Mr. Big Dick
TLC: Switch
Deep Freeze Productions: Sleeper

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Biography

Soul singer Jean Knight’s only big hit was a monster — the sassy funk classic “Mr. Big Stuff,” one of the largest-selling singles ever released by the legendary Stax label. A native of New Orleans, Knight was born in 1943 and made her first recordings for producer Huey P. Meaux’s Jet Stream and Tribe labels during the mid- to late ’60s (many of her sides were later collected on West Side’s Blue Soul Belles, Vol. 2). Her success largely confined to the immediate area, Knight was working as a baker when she went to Malaco Studios in Jackson, MS, for a session with veteran producer Wardell Quezerque in 1970. The key track, a spirited putdown of male arrogance called “Mr. Big Stuff,” was shopped to [[Stax Records]], who passed on it at first. However, after [[King Floyd]]’s “Groove Me” (another Malaco recording) went gold, Stax reconsidered and released “Mr. Big Stuff” in 1971. It was an enormous hit, spending five weeks at number one on the R&B charts and falling one slot short of the same position on the pop side. Despite a strong accompanying album of the same name and some similarly gritty follow-up singles (which included “You Think You’re Hot Stuff” and “Carry On”), Knight couldn’t manage to duplicate the success of “Mr. Big Stuff,” and quickly faded from the soul scene.
In 1981, Knight scored a minor hit with a version of “You Got the Papers (But I Got the Man),” and charted with one of the more successful covers of the Rockin’ Sidney zydeco smash “My Toot Toot” in 1985; “My Toot Toot” also served as the title track for a full-length LP on Mirage. Knight returned once again in the late ’90s, cutting an album for Ichiban in 1997 called Shaki De Boo-Tee. She followed it two years later with the Formaldehyde release Queen.

Listen Up “Mr.Big Stuff”

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Conversation for album: Jean Knight – 1971 – Mr.Big Stuff

39 Comments
  • k02
    Posted at 18:02h, 19 August 2008 Reply

    Much appreciated Nikos. Thanks

  • mephisto
    Posted at 18:10h, 19 August 2008 Reply

    Post your Updates @ Totally Fuzzy

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    If you would like to publish your updates on the Totally Fuzzy blog, you can do so yourself now by posting the updates as a comment on this page.

    Due to circumstances and the lack of time we are no longer able to post any picks, everybody will have to come to our blog to post their updates if they want to be listed..

    Just letting you know 😉

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  • Sammy
    Posted at 20:41h, 19 August 2008 Reply

    Oh yes!!!!STAX BABE…!!!!! Very cool!

  • cafecafecafe
    Posted at 00:07h, 20 August 2008 Reply

    Thanks. I have it. Good post.

  • invisiblenigma
    Posted at 01:08h, 20 August 2008 Reply

    Much Thanks For this Classic LP Nikos!

  • musicmeiho
    Posted at 01:44h, 20 August 2008 Reply

    Thanks for this classic

  • Frosty
    Posted at 02:32h, 20 August 2008 Reply

    Love this song. Thanks for uploading this!

  • Messiah
    Posted at 05:53h, 20 August 2008 Reply

    No wonder it was a hit…..STax was the dope! Thanks Nikos! Peace

  • joy
    Posted at 10:25h, 20 August 2008 Reply

    Thanks. Always enjoy your posts.

  • phatrapper
    Posted at 11:57h, 20 August 2008 Reply

    Many thanks Nikos!

  • kizza
    Posted at 14:36h, 20 August 2008 Reply

    Yes – classic song indeed! Never heard the whole album though – so thanks for this!

  • Seth
    Posted at 14:49h, 20 August 2008 Reply

    Props for this Lp brother. We all know the single but never heard the album which is cool. I also like the afro look and attitude on this wonderful video.

  • Anonymous
    Posted at 14:51h, 20 August 2008 Reply

    “Mr. Big Stuff” and “Groove Me” were recorded on the same say, at the same studio, by the same musicians (the Chimneyville Express rhythm section) and under the magic skills of the great Wardell Quezerque, who offered both records to Atlantic, but the label passed on Jean’s record to the benefit of Stax. Both records reached #1 r’n’b though. But the great thing about these records is the…my god…the syncopation, in other words how to put strength on the weak side (the 2/4 beat), or how to cut a funky reggae influenced beat… Yeah, Jamaica is somewhat nearer to New Orleans than to New York…(Dorothy Moore is 1/3 of the backing vocalists on “Mr. Big Stuff”)

  • Groovy Emmanuel
    Posted at 14:57h, 20 August 2008 Reply

    Sorry for the “anonymous” comment above… my pc is so pretty much virus infected, I didn’t notice my name missing!

  • El Slick
    Posted at 16:09h, 20 August 2008 Reply

    Thanks for adding spice to my day.

  • michael farris
    Posted at 19:27h, 20 August 2008 Reply

    Getting ready to fly away but couldn’t resist downloading this. Will have more to say when I’m back from vacation and have a chance to listen, but before then I think Stax deserves some major credit for figuring out how to kill the buzz on a big single and make sure the album doesn’t do anything.

    Step one: Ignore the striking looking female vocalist and use the album cover to feature a big yummy view of some fat guy’s massive hamhocks.

    Step two: Not necessary, step one worked. Honestly, what were they thinking?

  • nikos1109
    Posted at 22:05h, 20 August 2008 Reply

    Michael is really a mystery what they were thinking. They had a great single, a good looking girl (in that video she looks so pretty) with strong vocal skills. Do not forget the experienced producer. she deserved a better cover for sure. Stax did a big mistake on her. such a pitty.
    Have a nice vacations. catch you soon brother.

  • Almeida
    Posted at 01:33h, 21 August 2008 Reply

    Definitely i will check it. looks so promising. Thanks for sharing your vinyl collection.

  • jerry
    Posted at 03:20h, 21 August 2008 Reply

    A fine album. Love your place man, thanks a million for everything!

  • Larry G.
    Posted at 10:37h, 21 August 2008 Reply

    What a treat! another great post.

  • HG74
    Posted at 11:53h, 21 August 2008 Reply

    Thanks!!!! Thanks!!!
    Love this one…

  • Soul is the Music
    Posted at 16:09h, 21 August 2008 Reply

    Thanks as always nikos. it’s greatly appreciated! Can’t wait for Madeline Bell. Most people ignore one the greatest session vocalist ever!

  • avocado kid
    Posted at 22:02h, 21 August 2008 Reply

    Right on! Lookin’ forward to checking this one out.

  • nikos1109
    Posted at 22:12h, 21 August 2008 Reply

    If You like Dusty and Dionne you gonna love it! Believe me, her vocals skills are that top class! Seductive!!!

  • Anonymous
    Posted at 02:40h, 22 August 2008 Reply

    thanks for posting

  • manny
    Posted at 02:45h, 22 August 2008 Reply

    that last post was me, not sure why my name didnt show up… thanks again

  • Tom
    Posted at 15:52h, 22 August 2008 Reply

    Great choice. Thank you for your wonderful blog and music. You’re funking my soul!

  • Hooch
    Posted at 02:23h, 23 August 2008 Reply

    Sweet as a nut! – thanks nikos!

  • robert
    Posted at 02:15h, 25 August 2008 Reply

    Great to finally hear the rest of the record Mr. Big Stuff is on. Thanks!

  • Soulmate
    Posted at 10:40h, 26 August 2008 Reply

    I trust anything you post. Thanx for your efforts.

  • W
    Posted at 04:48h, 01 September 2008 Reply

    Exellent! Thanks

  • Rich
    Posted at 18:43h, 10 September 2008 Reply

    nikos thank u for this wonderful album.

  • Jazzsoulman
    Posted at 16:53h, 12 September 2008 Reply

    Thank you so much, for sharing this funky Soul jewel. Reminds me on my youth.

  • analog6
    Posted at 04:15h, 13 September 2008 Reply

    I always loved the hit single back in the day, but never heard anything else. Now I can check the whole lp out — thanks to you.

  • MusicDuo
    Posted at 20:36h, 21 September 2008 Reply

    Classic Stax music; bass-line is awesome!

  • jbdesign
    Posted at 22:02h, 08 November 2008 Reply

    Thanks for posting. It’s a classic.

  • Cody B
    Posted at 17:25h, 29 December 2008 Reply

    I always loved the tune “Think It Over. ” I don’t hear folks talk about it much, but it’s a burner..Mr. Quezerque doesn’t get enough love, except from folks like yourself who do the digging.

  • marcelo brasil
    Posted at 08:15h, 16 August 2011 Reply

    I’m an brother who lives in Brazil
    and I have to say that soul music, old rap makes me feel good school
    Here are the wrong country … I have a dream to meet my brother and sisters african … mr big stuff is a song that makes my skin shiver thank you post put this wonderful black music

    eu sou um imão que mora no brasil
    e tenho que dizer que a musica soul, old schhol rap me faz bem
    esto aqui no paiz errado… tenho um sonho de conhecer meus irmão e irmãs afro… mr big stuff é uma musica que faz minha pele arrepia muito obrigado pos posta essa musica negra maravilhosa

  • Mooji Kadja
    Posted at 20:55h, 03 April 2019 Reply

    Thanks a lot for this kind sharing, very appreciable !!! <3

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