June 29th, 2008

I posted a rant a few months ago about how a lot of lyric sites don’t seem to give a crap. It was inspired by trying to figure out a name from James Brown’s Santa Claus, Go Straight To The Ghetto.

So there’s a part near the end of the song that I couldn’t figure out. He says “Tell ‘em **unidentified** told you so” but I couldn’t figure out what the name is. Don’t ask why I’m just noticing this after all these years. Whatever it is, the name definitely isn’t James Brown. I decided to hit the lyric sites to see what they say. Not only did they claim that he said “James Brown” there but they don’t even have the obvious parts of the song right.

I forgot to put that name in the original post, but I kept thinking it was “Hank Ballast” or something like that. I looked around today and most of them still have messed-up versions of the lyrics. The one place that seems to have best version is the VH1 site. They don’t have all the botched lines like “Pitch up your reindeer” and admits that even they can’t figure out what that name was. But thanks to VH1, I think I figured out what the name is.

While watching VH1, a rock documentary had a clip from a man named Hank Ballard. I look the man’s up on the electronical intertubes and Google points to a lot of links about Ballard and the Godfather of Soul. They worked together in the late 60’s which was the same time period that this song was recorded in. I’m not a music historian or expert, but I’m guessing that the James Brown lyric missed by most sites is “Tell ’em Hank Ballard told you so.” If anything, I’m more embarrassed that I didn’t know who Hank Ballard was.

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