December 12, 2004

Tami's Mojo

"Mojo Hanna", Tami Lynn,
from Love Is Here And Now You're Gone, Cotillion, 1972

(hear it on HOTG Internet Radio)

“Mojo Hanna” has an interesting history, having been recorded along the way by, among others, Marvin Gaye, “Little” Esther Phillips (no relation to your humble correspondent), Larry Williams (as “Louisiana Hannah”), Betty Harris, Aaron Neville, the Neville Brothers, and twice by our featured artist. Andre Williams and Clarence Paul wrote it in Detroit around 1962 while working for Motown in the early days. That’s where Marvin Gaye got ahold of it. So, while the song is full of Louisiana hoodoo references, it’s not originally a product of the State of Utter Humidity.

In the early 1960’s, Tami Lynn (aka Tammy, Tammi, or Tamiya Lynn) cut “Mojo Hanna” with the AFO Executives, the group of fine jazz players and r&b session musicians, headed by Harold Battiste, who started AFO (All For One) Records in New Orleans around that time. It’s a break-neck version that doesn’t give the song much room to breathe. So, I am featuring her later Cotillion reprise produced by Jerry Wexler and Brad Shapio and recorded at Criteria Studios in Miami in 1971. Released as a single that year, it’s much more satisfying and funkified. From the recording date, I would hazard a guess that the session players may have been the Dixie Flyers, a group of Memphis-area musicians that Wexler had imported to Miami to accompany numerous artists. Thus, Tami Lynn may be this record’s only connection to the Home of the Groove beyond subject matter. I got the version you hear from her 1972 Cotillion LP, Love Is Here And New You're Gone, which is kind of a mess of an album, compiling tunes done with three different production teams at three studios over several years. Nonetheless, there are some worthy tracks on it besides “Mojo Hanna”.

Tami Lynn’s good early sides, recorded by Harold Battiste for AFO, can be heard on the fine Ace (UK) three CD Gumbo Stew series. On the
Soul Club Jukebox, you can hear two of her later single sides (including “I’m Gonna Run Away From You”, a hit in England) that were also on the Cotillion LP. In the late 1960s and early 1970s, she sang backup on some of King Floyd's first sessions in L.A. and the Stones’ Exile on Main Street. She also released a so-so solo CD, Tamiya Lynn, in the 1990’s. Tami’s feisty second “Mojo Hanna” has always made me wish she had done more like it; but, alas, it was a groove not followed.


Blogger Glen said...

I'm trying to find out who first recorded "Mojo Hanna" or "Louisiana Hannah". Any ideas? I'd appreciate a response back to me at


9:02 PM, February 28, 2008  
Blogger Dan Phillips said...

"Mo Jo Hanna" was done by Henry Lumpkin on Motown 1029 in 1962.
Marvin Gaye's live version came next, I believe, from a live LP released in 1963.

Thanks for asking.

PS - my email to you bounced.

11:00 PM, February 28, 2008  
Blogger Notes from the road said...


Tammi is a good friend of mine. The version from '72, recorded at Criteria and produced by Jerry Wexler is, I agree, the definitive version of the song. And while it may well be the Dixie Flyers on the track, it is none other than the mo'scocious Mac Rebenack on the funkified Hammond B-3 which sets the groove in motion.

According to Tammi, they had been working in the studio too long on a different song that was just not happening, and Mr. Wexler was chiding her...saying that she was a "jazz singer" and her R&B days were behind her. It made her mad, and suddenly Mac began playing the organ riff from 'Mojo Hannah' - the other musicians jumped on it, Tammi nailed it and much to everyone's satisfaction, Wexler was rolling tape. A first take. Done and done.

Interestingly, I have just produced Wendy Colonna's new album, which features an almost note-perfect version of 'Mojo Hannah', as a tribute to my friends Tammi and Mac.

The album is titled 'We Are One' and will be released in Feb 2010. I'll make sure you get a copy.

Malcolm 'Papa Mali' Welbourne

8:41 PM, November 03, 2009  
Blogger Dan Phillips said...

'twould be awesome to hear Wendy's version. Have heard her perform here a few times, as she's from these parts - well, Lake Charles. And, thanks, Mali, for that info on Tammi's session. Shoulda known it was Mac, since he was hanging (hiding) out at Criteria back then.
Keep it in da groove, as you always do. Hope to catch you on the road again soon.

12:14 AM, November 04, 2009  
Anonymous Kash Sayles said...

I have Little Esther's version of this song, and love it. I will for sure check out Tammi's version. Thanks!!

1:59 PM, July 20, 2011  

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