04.14.2009 - From January 17, 1983 comes this vintage clip with John and the great Mitch Ryder duetting on "B.I.G.T.I.M.E.," as performed that night on the American Music Awards show.
The song was the lead track on Ryder's 1983 comeback album "Never Kick a Sleeping Dog, which John produced at "The Shack" studio near Seymour, Indiana, in Jackson County (he was credited as "Little Bastard"-same as he was as producer of his own albums in the 1980s). John also sang backup vocals on several songs including "B.I.G.T.I.M.E." and "Come Again"; legendary 1960s English vocalist Marianne Faithful joined him in singing with Mitch on "A Thrill's A Thrill."
"Never Kick a Sleeping Dog" was released on Mellencamp's label Riva/Polygram and utilized the same location and setup that he would use to record his classic album "Uh-Huh" in July, 1983. So it is quite similar in sound to both "Uh-Huh" and "American Fool," and contained two Mellencamp originals, "Rue De Trahir" and "Come Again" (the latter co-written with Ryder). It also included a cover of Prince's "When You Were Mine," as Prince was a favorite artist of John's at the time. It was Ryder's last Billboard Hot 100 hit, peaking at No. 87.
John had been a big fan of Ryder, who with his band the Detroit Wheels, was the king of '60s blue-eyed soul. As the video shows, John, who had been out of the spotlight for a few months after the breakthrough of "American Fool" and surprised everyone by sporting a full beard, was a perfect vocal match for his esteemed elder and production client.
Incidentally, when John taped his "CMT Crossroads" appearance in 2003 with Kenny Chesney, he performed "I Get Hot," a rather obscure track from Ryder's 1969 album "The Detroit-Memphis Experiment." "Hot" also has been sung during Mellencamp concerts as part of a mid-song vamp during "R.O.C.K. In The U.S.A."-a song that name checks Ryder in a verse.