Music from the Heart

Vincent Vaughan - Ain't Nobody Here but Us Chickens (single)

Vincent Vaughan is a recording artist from a little place called Mullinahone in the county of Tipperary, Ireland . In sharp contrast to his take on Rodney Crowell’s Many A Long And Lonesome Highway, shared with us earlier this summer, AIN’T NOBODY HERE BUT US CHICKENS perfectly showcases Vincent’s more light-hearted side. And how could it not, given that Vincent can trace the inspiration for his wanting to cut this song all the way back to…the Muppets! 

“I first heard it on the Muppet Show back when I was young and stupid”, reveals Vincent, before quickly adding with a laugh, “but now I’m just stupid!” 

“When I was growing up and developing my guitar playing styles”, shares Vincent, “among some of my favourite music types were western swing and bluegrass, that whole Bob Wills thing of which Asleep at the Wheel are still great exponents of. And of course, those bluegrass heroes like Bill Monroe, Earl Scruggs, and Lester Flatt to name a few.”

“I loved it then, and I love it now”, he continued. “I believe it may have been the version by Texas western swing band Asleep At The Wheel that got me hooked on it when I first heard it in the mid-80s. It’s such a fun song. And hey, when in Texas…!”  

That last comment is a reference to the fact that AIN’T NOBODY HERE BUT US CHICKENS and its forerunner, Many A Long And Lonesome Highway, will both feature on Vincent’s forthcoming debut album (on the way for 2023), a long-player that was recorded exclusively in the Lone Star State. Back in 2018, Vincent attended a songwriting workshop with the aforementioned Rodney Crowell in California. And it wasn’t Vincent’s first time to cross paths with the Texan either. Vincent actually performed with him on one memorable occasion back in the late nineties, even getting to play Crowell’s guitar at the time as well.

What that 2018 West Coast songwriting workshop was, however, was the catalyst for what would go on to become Vincent's debut album, including this new single, AIN’T NOBODY HERE BUT US CHICKENS. The entire album is graced with performances from players who have also added their significant talents to records by Johnny Cash, Robert Earl Keen, and Jerry Jeff Walker, and more. 
AIN’T NOBODY HERE BUT US CHICKENS features the piano playing of Earl Poole Ball and the guitar playing of Chris Gage in particular, notes Vincent. Of those performances he declares, “They both kinda jump out at ya”. 
Written by Alex Kramer and Joan Whitney, AIN’T NOBODY HERE BUT US CHICKENS is what’s known as a ‘jump blues’, essentially an up-tempo style that was popular in the 1940s, and is seen now as the precursor to both r ‘n’ b and rock ‘n’ roll. Recorded by Louis Jordan and his Tympany Five in June of 1946, and released on the Decca Records label as a ‘78’, AIN’T NOBODY HERE BUT US CHICKENS was added to the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2013. Stylistically, Jordan and his Tympany Five melded elements of swing and blues, incorporating the shuffle rhythm, boogie-woogie base lines, and short horn patterns or riffs. 
For Vincent, following up a song as serious and solemn as Many A Long And Lonesome Highway with one as dramatically different as AIN’T NOBODY HERE BUT US CHICKENS, makes perfect sense…

“I always say that songs are about telling stories. And I think you can tell stories in how you actually link songs together, too. ‘Many A Long And Lonesome Highway’ was my debut single in large part because of my admiration for Rodney Crowell, who co-wrote that song with Will Jennings. So that tells you part of my own story. This time, in going for a song like ‘Ain’t Nobody Here But Us Chickens’, it gives me a chance to show that I believe music is something that can also just be enjoyed for the fun of it, with no other aim but to put a smile on your own face, and hopefully give others a reason to smile as well.”

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