Nuggets: She’s My Baby by The Mojo Men

Before he became Patti Smith’s lead guitarist, Lenny Kaye compiled the 2 album set, Nuggets: Original Artyfacts from the First Psychedelic Era. Released in 1972, the two-LP set covered American garage rock and psychedelia from the years 1965-1968 and was a major influence on punk rock. Rhino Records reissued an expanded version of the set in 1998, with 118 tracks in total. I’m profiling and rating each of these 118 tracks, working backwards.

Track 81
From: San Francisco, California
Rating: 8/10

SHE’S MY BABY – The Mojo Men [2:57]
(James Alaimo/Paul Curcio/Steven Alaimo)
Personnel/JIM ALAIMO: vocals, bass * PAUL CURCIO: guitar * DON METCHICK: organ * DENNIS DeCARR: drums
Recorded in San Francisco, CA
Autumn single [diff mix] #27 (2/66); Reprise single #0486 (6/66)

The Mojo Men were from Florida, but formed in San Francisco. They first recorded with Sly Stewart, who would go onto success with Sly & the Family Stone, sharing billing as Sly and the Mojo Men. Stewart chose not to release these recordings but continued to produce the group.

‘She’s My Baby’ was the group’s third single. It’s quite different from the band’s other song on Nuggets – their cover of Buffalo Springfield’s ‘Sit Down, I Think I Love You’ is baroque, while this is a garage rock song with a fuzzy riff.

She talks like my sister, walks like my brother
Looks like my father, but cooks like my mother

The recording featured original drummer Dennis DeCarr, but the artwork in this post features replacement drummer Jan Errico, cousin of Family Stone drummer Greg Errico. Female musicians are thin on the ground in the Nuggets boxset – it seems like an unfortunate occurrence that one of the few is in a band named Mojo Men. The band shortened their name to Mojo before recording their only studio album, 1968’s Mojo Magic.

The central riff of ‘She’s My Baby’ is its strongest feature. This was recognised by Kanye West, who slowed it down and used it as the basis of the track ‘Hell of a Life’ on his acclaimed 2010 album My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy.

That’s not the group’s only link to a more recent and better-known act – guitarist Paul Curcio later founded a studio in Rochester, New York. His clients included Metallica – he produced their debut album Kill ‘Em All.

Despite recording 20 tracks in a single day in 1967, the band’s career never took off – although ‘Sit Down, I Think I Love You’ did make the US top 40. Unfortunately for the band, when you search for Mojo Men nowadays the first result is for erection pills.

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  1. Cool song. It’s funny but so many of these songs on that album fit right into that mid-Sixties sound. I realize it was Sly Stone but it could have been any of a thousand producers. Eras have sounds I guess. BTW, I read that Sly also produced Grace Slick’s first band, the Great Society. As to Kanye, where the hell did he hear THIS tune? Did you know he practically begged Becker and Fagen to use “Kid Charlemagne?”

    • I’ve been chatting with other bloggers about how production toughened up at the end of the 1960s. Like The Who sound different in the 1970s than the 1960s, Led Zeppelin’s 1969 albums sound like the 1970s, and Abbey Road is the most popular Beatles album.

      Someone in Kanye’s team, or maybe Kanye himself, is very well versed in classic rock.

  2. It’s the first time I’ve heard this song, and I like it. You’re right that it couldn’t have sounded more different from “Sit Down, I Think I Love You”, which I fondly remember from my childhood. I know it makes me an ignorant Philistine, but I detest everything about Kanye West and his music.

  3. When I first heard it …I thought instantly of Spirit in the Sky…it has that feel about it. I love that riff and the drumming.
    The band has some cool connections.

  4. I always wondered what Mojo meant, although I figured it had something to do with sex. But then somebody told me that Jim Morrison says Mister Mojo Risin’ in L.A. Woman because it’s just an anagram of his name. Which it really is. But if they use it for erection pills then it obviously has to do with sex. I’m surprised it wasn’t already the name of a condom. Ha ha.
    I like the way this song starts out, with that cool guitar. But then it just goes into a corny blues song and it’s not as good anymore. I give it a 6/10 though. Cuz it’s got a good beat and you can dance to it, as they used to say on American Bandstand all the time.

    • I think Mojo is sex drive?

      I think the song is mostly a good riff, but there are some funny lines as well. Not keen of the vocals though.

    • Mojo is a voodoo thing, a talisman. You hear voodoo stuff in a fair number of blues songs. John the Conquerer root too although sometimes it sounds like John the Conkaroo. If you ever get to New Orleans this stuff is all over the place. Some people there take it very seriously.

      • That is true. I lived in New Orleans for about 2 years and I remember people telling me all kinds of stories about voodoo and stuff. The only thing I ever came across myself was just a few touristy type things. I saw an act in a bar once where they acted out Voodoo rituals and dressed up in costumes kind of like Dr. John. And I lived near a cemetery where I visited the grave of Marie Laveau, who was an infamous Voodoo Queen at one time. And I heard that sometimes people perform sacrifices there at her grave as part of a voodoo ritual or something. Not sure if it’s true or not.

          • Well, it’s not like you’d ever meet anybody walking around the city who used voodoo language like Mojo. People like that are only way out in the country in the rural areas. And I’m sure there aren’t too many left anymore. I knew the word Mojo was about sex, but since I only knew the phrase Mr. Mojo Risin’ I just thought it was a metaphor for your dick getting hard. You know, your Mojo Risin’ would equal your dick getting up. lol. Isn’t that what anybody would think?

          • That was really interesting. I liked it. I don’t remember ever hearing the word conqueroo before, but some other ones like hoodoo I know from songs. And Gris Gris. And what you said about Voodoo ladies in Jackson Square at night reminded me of this lady named Ruthie who walked around the Quarter late at night selling lucky beads that she said she put a love spell on, and you would have good luck and stuff. She would appear out of the darkness and say “Would you like to buy a lucky bead tonight?”, and then you’d give her a dollar or something. She was more or less a panhandler. And the beads were kind of like her gimmick.

          • My wife and I went a couple of times and I’ve been there on business. We can smell a scam a mile away. But it’s fun to walk around the gift shops with all that stuff. Jackson Square can get spooky at night with those card readers out. Then the next day we go stuff our face with beignets just like all good tourists.

          • Cafe Du Monde was the first job I had when I got there, and all my clothes always smelled like beignets for weeks. I hated that job though and quit it after a few weeks and got a job at an oyster place on the other side of Decatur Street.
            I found a place in New York that sells beignet mix that is actually made by Cafe Du Monde. Because I love beignets. But you gotta have a deep fryer and I don’t have one anymore.

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Aphoristic Album Reviews is almost entirely written by one person. It features album reviews and blog posts across a growing spectrum of popular music.

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Graham Fyfe has been writing this website since his late teens. Now in his forties, he's been obsessively listening to albums for years. He works as a web editor and plays the piano.

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