I thought I’d look today at two versions of the soul classic, “Wrap It Up”. It was interesting to be reminded that the The Fabulous Thunderbird’s song was originally a hit for Sam & Dave.

Atlantic Records producer Jerry Wexler “loaned out” Sam & Dave to Stax Records in Memphis so he could get their “Southern roots, gospel style” down on wax. Isaac Hayes and David Porter, then new at the game, wrote and produced their biggest hits. They also influenced the duo’s singing style, and their recording style had a more live, energetic gospel call-and-response feel with a “beat driven soul style”. Sam & Dave were so busy touring that the tapes were flown to Europe for them to record the vocals. [From Wikipedia, “Sam & Dave”]

Okay. Here we go. “Wrap It Up” was the B side of the “I Thank You” single in 1968, their final one on Stax. The Blues Brothers released their “Soul Man” single in 1978 (one of Sam & Dave’s biggest hits.) ZZ Top jumped on the bandwagon in 1979 with “I Thank You”. It was a nice version but was over saturated on the FM. The Thunderbirds’ “Wrap It Up” was released in – 1986? I could’ve sworn it was at least by 1985…

Now to compare the Thunderbirds’ version with Sam & Dave’s.

You’ve got to give it up for Sam & Dave. Funky; front and center. The Stax house band is incredible, and those tight ensemble horns. Put it all together – sheer excitement.

The Thunderbirds’ version is nice. Jimmy Vaughan and Kim Wilson kick it.

I have to say though, I don’t care for the Thunderbirds’ video.  (You’ll have to look that one up for yourself – or not.) The cars are nice – I guess. The T & A makes it hard to take them seriously. What’s up with that?


Listen to the Sam & Dave original here.

Listen to the Thunderbirds version here.