Pop Archives

Tony Worsley And The Blue Jays - Just A Little Bit (1965)

(Rosco Gordon)
Australia Australia
#25 Melbourne

Single on Sunshine label, B-side of If I (#19 Sydney, #23 Brisbane)

The Blue Jays were originally formed in 1959 in Melbourne, where they recorded on the Crest label. Laurie Allen, later of Bobby & Laurie, was their lead singer in the early 60s. They were joined with Brisbane singer Tony Worsley in 1964 to record on Sunshine as The Fabulous Blue Jays. By that time drummer Bob Johnston was the only remaining original member of the band.

From the release of Velvet Waters (1965) Tony Worsley was given top billing as a solo artist. See also Tony Worsley's solo releases Missing You and Velvet Waters.

Reference: Ian McFarlane, Encyclopedia of Australian Rock & Pop.
Thanks to Terry Stacey for suggestion and initial research.

The Purple Hearts - Just A Little Bit (1966)

(Rosco Gordon)
Australia Australia
Later version

Originally from Brisbane, later based in Melbourne.

Single on Sunshine label, B-side of Early In The Morning (#9 Melbourne, #13 Brisbane).

A live 1965 recording of this song by Adelaide band The Chosen Few was later released by Raven Records on the album Live At Big Daddy’s. Just A Little Bit also appeared on Ray Brown & The Whispers’ 1965 album Hits and Brass.

Thanks to Terry Stacey for clarification.

The Undertakers - Just A Little Bit (1964)

(Rosco Gordon)
#40 UK

Single on Pye label. The B-side was Solomon Burke's Stupidity, a hit in Melbourne for Peter Doyle. The Undertakers also recorded Dessie Rozier's (Do The) Mashed Potatoes, best known in Australia through Billy Thorpe's version.

Jackie Lomax was a member of this Merseyside band. His single of George Harrison's Sour Milk Sea, with George producing and the participation of Ringo Starr and Eric Clapton, was among the first batch of singles released on the Beatles' new Apple label in August 1968.

See the Undertakers page from the British Beat Boom website.

Rosco Gordon - Just A Little Bit (1960)

(Rosco Gordon)
Influential version
#64 USA #2 USA R&B

Rosco Gordon, the blues pianist, singer and composer, was one of those unsung musical heroes whose influence on popular music was immeasurable… Gordon's distinctive shuffle, or "Rosco rhythm", had a profound influence on the development of Jamaican music, and was an essential element in the sound of ska, the precursor of reggae. 

Obituary by Karl Dallas in The Independent, 30 July 2002

Single on Vee-Jay by Memphis blues singer-songwriter and pianist (1928-2002). His song No More Doggin', first released in 1952, is often credited as an influence on the development of ska and reggae.

Interviewed for Blues in Britain magazine in 2000, Rosco Gordon said that although Just A Little Bit was unsuccessfully auditioned with Ralph Bass at Federal Records, Federal soon after released a version by Topsy Turvy, without writer's credit to Gordon, and before Gordon released his own version on Vee Jay.

Sole writer credits were later restored to Rosco Gordon (BMI Work #782502). Gordon's own Vee-Jay single (1960) credited him as writer ("D. Gordon"). A 1963 UK reissue on Stateside still credited Thornton-Bass-Johnson-Washington [label shot], and an Internet search shows that those names are often associated with Just A Little Bit to this day. Tony Worsley's Australian version (1965) credits "Gordon".

Gordon acknowledged that Jimmy McCracklin contributed to Just A Little Bit by coming up with the original guitar line.

Just A Little Bit has been recorded by numerous artists, including Them, The Animals, Elvis Presley (1973), Jerry Lee Lewis, Little Milton, T-Bone Walker and Magic Sam

References: 1. Rosco Gordon obituary by Karl Dallas, The Independent, 30 July 2002. Dallas quotes the Blues in Britain interview referred to above. 2. Rosco Gordon biography by Steve Walker at Black Cat Rockabilly. 3. BMI database.

Further reading1. Notes on this song at (i) The Originals© by Arnold Rypens (also lists other versions), and (ii) David Neale's Elvis Presley: The Originals. 2. Audio and label shot (UK reissue on Stateside) at So Many Records, So Little Time. 3.post on Rosco Gordon at The Hound Blog bravely attacks the complicated story of Gordon's recording career, and includes audio of the key songs, video and images.

Thanks to Mohair for prompting me to look further into the songwriting credits.

Roy Head & The Traits - Just A Little Bit (1965)

(Rosco Gordon)
#39 USA #29 Perth

Single on Sceptre label.

Dynamic R&B-soul-rockabilly influenced singer from Texas, best known for his 1965 hit Treat Her Right (#2 USA, also charted in UK and Australia).

Tiny Topsy - Just A Little Bit (1959)

(Rosco Gordon [attributed here to John Thornton-Ralph Bass-Syl Johnson-Earl Washington])
Original version

Single on Federal label.

Tiny Topsy was Otha Lee Moore Hall (née Moore, c.1930-1964) a Chicago jazz-R&B singer and entertainer. Her husband was Samuel Hall, a disc jockey at the C. & C. Lounge in Chicago where Tiny Topsy was working at the time of her death.

Ralph Bass, whose name appeared in the writer credits, was a Federal Records executive. (Ralph Bass got the copyright on it and he put a bunch of fictitious names on it! – Rosco Gordon, 2000.)

References: 1. Tiny Topsy tribute in Jet magazine, 3 September 1964 [Google Books]. 2. Correction in Jet, 10 September 1964: Samuel Hall disc jockey at C. and C., not the owner [Google Books], 3. Cited as the original version at The Originals© by Arnold Rypens. 4. David Neale at Elvis Presley: The Originals site has some background on Tiny Topsy's career.

Further reading: Photo of Tiny Topsy doing the twist at a funeral directors' convention in Chicago, Jet, 13 September 1962 [Google Books].

Thanks to David Neale for additional information.


The Chosen Few - Just A Little Bit (1965)

(Rosco Gordon)
Australia Australia

Live 1965 recording by Adelaide band, unreleased until the Raven Records album Live At Big Daddy’s.

Ray Brown & The Whispers - Just A Little Bit (1965)

(Rosco Gordon)
Australia Australia

On 1965 album Hits and Brass.

See, for example, their hit Fool, Fool, Fool (1965) for more on Ray Brown & The Whispers.

Herman’s Hermits - Just A Little Bit Better (1965)

(Kenny Young)
Red herring
#15 UK #7 USA


Single on Columbia (UK) and MGM (USA) by major British Invasion band, also charted in Australia.

Produced by Mickie Most, written by American producer-songwriter also based in UK Kenny Young, co-writer of The Drifters' Under The Boardwalk and of Reparata & The Delrons' Captain Of Your Ship, to name but two.