Yes, I loved songs about bulldogs and kittens and nursery rhymes. When I was a kid. It didn’t hurt that they were embellished with saxophone solos.
Lloyd Price-Three Little Pigs-1959
Nursery rhymes and black folk heroes like Stagger Lee. This was my introduction. A counterpoint to the familiar and admirable John Henry character. Stagger Lee was a bit shady. An anti-hero.
Not entirely content with being a 1950s R&B star on the strength of his immortal New Orleans classic “Lawdy Miss Clawdy,” singer Lloyd Price yearned for massive pop acceptance. He found it, too, with a storming rock & roll reading of the ancient blues “Stagger Lee” and the unabashedly pop-slanted “Personality” and “I’m Gonna Get Married” (the latter pair sounding far removed indeed from his Crescent City beginnings).
“Stagger Lee,” Price’s adaptation of the old Crescent City lament “Stack-A-Lee,” topped both the R&B and pop lists in 1958.
Speaking of black urban folktales, from the same era. Sam Cooke got in on the act. 1963 apparently. I thought it was earlier.