This was written by the group’s frontman, Domingo ‘Sam’ Samudio, based on the 1962 Hully Gully Now by Big Bo and The Arrows,
which in turn was based on the 1953 Feelin’ Good by Little Junior’s Blue Flames.
I must say Wooly Bully (supposed to have been the name of Sam’s cat) is a great improvement on both. It was recorded for the small Memphis-based label XL in 1964 and picked up by MGM, which re-released it. It got to No 2 in America in 1965 and stayed in the charts long enough to become Billboard’s first No 1 song of the year not to have reached the weekly No 1 slot. It got to No 11 in Britain. I will have to live with the mis-spelling of Woolly.
Canned Heat released a cover in 1971 which reached No 105 in the States and did not chart in Britain.
One Reply to “Sam the Sham and the Pharaohs: Wooly Bully”
One of the great American singles of the 60s, along with “Louie Louie”, “Hang On Sloopy”, “I Want Candy”, that were not huge hits over here. I’ve got all these on an LP called “Frat Rock”, which is a wonderful compilation an a wonderful label, Rhino.
“Keep On Dancing” by the Gentrys, which was later a hit for the Bay City Rollers, is a highlight. It’s good when you hear the (better) original version of something that you never knew was a cover version in the first place.