In 1965, belovedly unique soul artist Little Richard released Mr. Big, one of his lesser known albums. On that record was the underrated sexy smooth track “I Don’t Know What You’ve Got But It’s Got Me” featuring the great Jimi Hendrix on guitar. Though the album itself never charted, 50 years later, Specialty Records (of Concord Music Group) has released a 3-CD boxed set, Directly From My Heart, of both Little Richard’s biggest classics and lesser-known gems, including “I Don’t Know What You’ve Got”. The compilation, which includes 64 tracks along with a 30-page illustrated booklet, features a healthy mix of charttopping singles and underappreciated tracks, encouraging listeners to learn more about Little Richard through his music.
On “I Don’t Know What You’ve Got”, the deliciously original musician moans a painful confession with the lines “You never treat me kind/You’re poor, honey, all the time/You do me no good/I’ll leave you if only I could”. His signature sultry howls fill the space around the glittering instrumentation and his falsetto crescendos are in direct opposition to his equally successful sweeping growls. In addition to being vocally suited for this track, Little Richard’s lyrics also takes precedence with its poignant story of the subject’s inability to leave a seemingly abusive relationship, proving that Little Richard is as much a storyteller with just his voice as he is a musician. Little Richard’s Southern drawl wails, croons, and sighs with such authenticity that “I Don’t Know What You’ve Got But It’s Got Me” might just get its comeback revival after five decades.
Listen to Little Richard’s “I Don’t Know What You’ve Got But It’s Got Me” below and buy the 3-CD compilation it is featured on here: