Sometime in 1968, Chicago Blues legend Willie Dixon produced a spoken word album for his label Yambo Records. Willie hired Chicago’s radio legend E. Rodney Jones to deliver a powerful vocal performance over the piono work of Lafayette Leak and used music from a Chess Records track “This Can’t Be The End” performed by McKinley Mitchell and the Honey-Duo-Twins 1)The “Honey Duo Twins” were Jerline Shelton and Sherline Shelton, who also had a 7″ record on Yambo. The twins were scouted by Arthur Dixon who heard them singing through an open window at their home. (written by Willie Dixon). Juanita Winfield (co-producer), L. Toussaint, Lincoln T. Collins are also credited on the album, but their roles are not entirely clear.
The album was released in 1970 and featured a revolutionary poem reportedly penned by his brother Arthur while in jail. But Arthur Dixon did not write this poem. It was written by an Australian radical who moved to Chicago 74 years prior. His name was Arthur Desmond, better known as Ragnar Redbeard, and the book it came from was none other than the infamous Might is Right, or, The Survival of the Fittest.
Around the time of the release of this album, Willie Dixon had just finished a legal struggle to regain the rights to his own music and came out victorious. Yambo Records was his own label that he started to control his own musical career and guide those of some of his associates, teaching them about the importance of owning your own material. Willie was part of the important WVON Radio station, started in 1963 by the owners of Chess Records. The radio station became known as “The Voice of the Negro” in Chicago and E. Rodney Jones was one of it’s most recognizable voices.
Dixon has received a Grammy Award and was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and the Songwriters Hall of Fame. He was portrayed by Cedric the Entertainer in a movie about Chess Records.
Notably, this was the second time Redbeard’s work was used on a spoken-word album without direct attribution. The first was Anton Szandor LaVey on the B-side of his 1969 album The Satanic Mass. That text would serve as the first section of his infamous book The Satanic Bible, still in print to this day. The recordings for the The Satanic Mass seem to have happened before that of Might is Right, though that these two were recorded and came out within a year of each other, but it has taken over half a century for someone to discover and document this fact, is astounding.
|↑1||The “Honey Duo Twins” were Jerline Shelton and Sherline Shelton, who also had a 7″ record on Yambo. The twins were scouted by Arthur Dixon who heard them singing through an open window at their home.|