Pop Archives

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

(Rosco Gordon)
Australia Australia
#25 Melbourne

B-side on Sunshine February 1965, also on EP If I.

The single’s A-side If I charted #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 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.

The Undertakers - Just A Little Bit (1964)

(Rosco Gordon)
#40 UK

Single on Pye February 1964. 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.

Further reading: the Undertakers page from the British Beat Boom website.

Rosco Gordon - Just A Little Bit (1959)

(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 November 1959 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 This Is My Song.

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.

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 June 1959.

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].

Quote from Rosco Gordon is from the Independent’s obituary 30 July 2002, page now defunct.

Thanks to David Neale for additional information.

Roy Head - Just A Little Bit (1965)

(Rosco Gordon)
Later version
#39 USA #29 Perth

Single on Sceptre October 1965 by dynamic R&B-soul-rockabilly influenced singer from Texas, best known for Treat Her Right, his 1965 hit with The Traits (#2 USA, also charted in UK and Australia).

The Purple Hearts - Just A Little Bit (1966)

(Rosco Gordon)
Australia Australia
Later version

Originally from Brisbane, later based in Melbourne.

Single on Sunshine February 1966, 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.

Ray Brown & The Whispers - Just A Little Bit (1966)

(Rosco Gordon)
Australia Australia
Later version

On 1965 album Hits and Brass.

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

Note at Discogs.com entry about the album: Although credited to just Ray Brown on the front sleeve, on the rear sleeve, spine and label the full band is credited.

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.