(Do the) Mashed Potatoes

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"(Do The) Mashed Potatoes"
Single by Nat Kendrick and the Swans
A-side"(Do The) Mashed Potatoes, Pt. 1"
B-side"(Do The) Mashed Potatoes, Pt. 2"
ReleasedFebruary 1960
Format7"
RecordedDecember 1959, at Dukoff Studios, Miami, Fla.
GenreR&B
Length1:55 (Pt. 1)
LabelDade
1804
Writer(s)Rozier
 
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"(Do The) Mashed Potatoes"
Single by Nat Kendrick and the Swans
A-side"(Do The) Mashed Potatoes, Pt. 1"
B-side"(Do The) Mashed Potatoes, Pt. 2"
ReleasedFebruary 1960
Format7"
RecordedDecember 1959, at Dukoff Studios, Miami, Fla.
GenreR&B
Length1:55 (Pt. 1)
LabelDade
1804
Writer(s)Rozier

"(Do The) Mashed Potatoes" is a hit R&B instrumental. It was recorded by James Brown with his band in 1959 and released as a two-part single in 1960. For contractual reasons the recording was credited to "Nat Kendrick and the Swans."

Circumstances of the recording

The recording of "(Do The) Mashed Potatoes" arose out of James Brown's success in using the Mashed Potato dance as part of his stage show. Brown wanted to record a Mashed Potatoes-themed instrumental with his band in order to capitalize on the dance's popularity. However, King Records head Syd Nathan, a frequent critic of Brown's proposals, would not allow it. (The first instrumental recorded by Brown and his band, titled "Doodle Bug" and credited to Brown's tenor saxophonist J.C. Davis, had not sold well when it was released on King's sister label Federal Records.) Brown approached Henry Stone, a friend in the music business who ran the Dade Records label, about recording the piece with him. Stone, although nervous about crossing Nathan (with whom he did business), arranged for Brown to record at his Miami studio.

"(Do The) Mashed Potatoes" was recorded with Brown playing the piano and shouting the song's title. To prevent Brown's voice from being recognized, Stone overdubbed shouted vocals by Carlton "King" Coleman, a local radio DJ, onto the recording, though Brown's voice remains audible in the background. Leadership of the band was officially credited to Nat Kendrick, who was Brown's drummer at the time, while the writing was credited to "Dessie Rozier", a pseudonym for Brown. A simple twelve bar blues tune, "(Do The) Mashed Potatoes" became a Top Ten R&B hit in 1960 and fed what would eventually grow into a national dance craze. The band went on to record several more singles under the Nat Kendrick & the Swans name, including "Dish Rag", "Slow Down", and "Wobble Wobble", but none of these were successful.

James Brown had two Mashed Potato-related chart hits, "(Do the) Mashed Potatoes" (1959; sung by King Coleman and performed by Brown's band under the pseudonym Nat Kendrick and the Swans) and "Mashed Potatoes U.S.A." (1962); Brown also featured the dance prominently in his live performances during the 1950s and '60s.

Personnel

"Nat Kendrick & The Swans":

Charts

Chart (1960)Peak
position
Billboard Hot 10084
Billboard Hot R&B Sides8

Cover versions

King Coleman recorded "The Mash Potato Man" in 1962. Dee Dee Sharp charted a #2 hit the same year with the song entitled Mashed Potato Time. The British beat group The Undertakers recorded a cover version of "(Do the) Mashed Potatoes" in 1963. The Marvelettes and The Ronettes also covered the song.

The original Dee Dee Sharp recording featured in the film Hairspray (1988).

Preceded by
"Soul Twist" by King Curtis
"Mashed Potato Time" by Dee Dee Sharp
Billboard Hot R&B Singles number-one single

April 28, 1962 – May 19, 1962 (four weeks)
Succeeded by
"I Can't Stop Loving You" by Ray Charles

References