I do not like this:
It could be a fresh take on a classic but it fails. It’s not Jack White’s fault. He sounds great, stuttering and raunchy and just a little sloppy. The singing is OK but perfunctory, neither adding nor subtracting. It’s the drums that ruin it. Unless you go for arrhythmic rhythms. I don’t.
Here’s a better sloppy version of the same tune, JT in his later days:
Andy Towns of the Slumlords said of him many years ago, “Johnny’s like an old ex-champ boxer. Once every 10 or 12 shows he gets up off the mat and shows everyone who’s boss one more time.”
I can’t tell you how pissed off I used to get when Johnny played a show and was too fucked up to play. That started in the late 70s. Eyes rolling in his head, he couldn’t even get the words out, abscessed and evil. I don’t use the word lightly, his attitude was “I’m a fucked human being and I’m bringing everyone down with me.” While I never exactly idolized Johnny, I was a huge admirer of everything he put into his music. To watch him turn to shit, and not give a shit, just broke my heart.
He had the best instincts – playing, singing and songwriting – of any rocknroller ever, and early Elvis is the only serious competition. I always thought the ultimate band would be Johnny, Elvis, Jerry Lee Lewis on piano, Steve Jones on rhythm guitar and what the hell, James Jamerson and Benny Benjamin on bass and drums. I wonder if it’s possible to use technology to assemble a real song with that band. I’ll ask around.
There are many other versions of I Ain’t Superstitious of course. Here is what I think is the original – who the hell really knows – by the incomparable Howlin Wolf. This is not one of Wolf’s great performances sez me, but it’s earth-shaking by normal standards: