I Am Your Handy Man

A song titled ‘My Handy Man’ was recorded in August 1928 by Ethel Waters.  This song takes the feminine point of view, expressing a woman’s appreciation of the attention that her man is giving to her.  Jimmy Jones wrote the song ‘Handy Man’ in 1955, when he was in the group Sparks of Rhythm.  Jones left that group and he teamed up with Otis Blackwell and they did a major re-write of of this song and recorded it in 1959.  Blackwell provided the whistling on this track, which is prominently heard throughout the whole song.  ‘Handy Man’ reached #3 on the R&B charts and it went to #2 on the Billboard Hot 100, becoming a million seller.  The Jimmy Jones version was used in the movie American Graffiti.

This handy man is not a person who is adept at repairing things around the house, but he has the ability to fix broken hearts.  He is a very busy man and all the girls come running to see him at any hour of the day, or night.  He gets a lot of repeat business because the girls gossip among themselves about how good he is with his hands.  In 1964, Del Shannon covered this and he had a hit with it getting to #22 on the charts.  James Taylor did a much slower version in 1977 and this song reached #2 on the Cash Box Top 100 chart and it went to #4 on the Billboard Hot 100.  Taylor’s version also reached #1 on the Adult Contemporary chart and oddly it was knocked out of this position by his then-wife Carly Simon.  Taylor version also earned him his second Grammy Award for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance, Male.

Taylor’s version featured Leah Kunkel, the ex-wife of Russ Kunkel, as a backup singer.  She sang the “Comma Comma” sections in harmony, which has nothing to do with punctuation marks and many people have linked this to the singer coaxing a female to have an orgasm.  There are rumors about James Taylor being very popular with Carley Simon’s friends when he covered this song.

Hey girls, gather round
Listen to what I’m puttin’ down
Hey, baby, I’m your handy man
I’m not the kind that uses pencil or rule
I’m handy with the love and I’m no fool
I fix broken hearts, I know I truly can

If your broken heart, she needs repair
Then I’m the man to see, I whisper sweet things
You tell all your friends, they’ll come running to me
Here is the main thing I want to say
I’m busy twenty four hours a day
I fix broken hearts, I know that I truly can

Come, come, come, come, come, come, come
Yeah, yeah, yeah
Come, come, come, come, come, come, come, oh now
They’ll come runnin’ to me

Here is the main thing I want to say
I’m busy twenty four hours a day
I fix broken hearts, baby I’m your handy man

Come, come, come, come, come, come, come
Yeah, yeah, yeah
Come, come, come, come, come, come, come
Yeah, yeah, yeah
That’s me
(Come, come, come, come, come, come)
I’m your handy man
(Yeah, yeah, yeah)
That’s me
(Come, come, come, come, come, come)
I’m your handy man
(Yeah, yeah, yeah)

Written for Sadje’s Sunday Poser #39 where she asks if we are good at fixing things.

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