Going Down (or "Goin' Down") was written by Don Nix, a session musician, songwriter, and record producer who was a key figure in the history of Stax Records and Memphis-style soul music.
"Going Down" appears on Freddie King's Getting Ready album (1971), his first album for Shelter Records, which was a record label that was started in 1969 by Leon Russell.
A native of Memphis, Tennessee, Don Nix began his career playing saxophone for The Mar-Keys, which also featured Steve Cropper, Duck Dunn and others. The group scored a smash hit with the instrumental "Last Night" on the Satellite label.
As a producer, Nix worked with other artists and producers such as Leon Russell of Shelter Records, Gary Lewis and the Playboys in Dick Clark's Caravan of Stars, The Beatles' George Harrison and John Mayall and the Bluesbreakers.
George Harrison & Don Nix
Nix spent the next several years writing and producing for artists such as Freddie King, Albert King, Sid Selvidge, and Charlie Musselwhite. In 1970, he signed a recording deal with Shelter Records (co-owned by his old friend Leon Russell) and released a solo album, In God We Trust. The album didn't sell very well, and after a few more attempts, Nix returned to recording other artists, producing records for John Mayall and the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section.
Absent from the record industry throughout most of the '80s, in recent years Nix has relocated to Nashville and began writing and producing again. He published a book about his experiences titled Road Stories & Recipes, and re-recorded many of his classic tracks with musicians such as Brian May and Steve Cropper for 2002's nostalgic Going Down.
Freddie King, nicknamed "The Texas Cannonball" (who was originally billed as "Freddy" early in his career) was born and raised in Gilmer, TX, where he learned how to play guitar as a child; his mother and uncle taught him the instrument.
In 1950, when he was 16 years old, his family moved to Chicago, where he began frequenting local blues clubs, listening to musicians like Muddy Waters, Jimmy Rogers, Robert Jr. Lockwood, Little Walter, and Eddie Taylor. Soon, the young guitarist formed his own band, the Every Hour Blues Boys, and was performing himself.
Guitarist Freddie King rode to fame in the early '60s with a spate of catchy instrumentals which became instant bandstand fodder for fellow bluesmen and white rock bands alike. King's first album, Freddy King Sings, appeared in 1961.
King had a twenty-year recording career and became established as an influential guitarist. In addition to respectable sales, his concerts were also quite popular with both blues and rock audiences. He inspired musicians such as Jerry Garcia, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Eric Clapton, Mick Taylor among many others.
King's style has been described as a combination of Texas-style blues and Chicago-style blues. King's later years (after 1970) were marked by a shift towards more of a hard, rock-like style, presumably in an effort to reach white audiences better.
The Getting Ready album does rock hard and offers a strong bunch of songs, even though there’s only one song King wrote (an old one at that): “I’m Tore Down.”
Freddie King - Getting Ready
King's version of Going Down has been described as "a stone-cold beast of a song that fits King’s stature: with hammering piano parts, two drummers, greasy guitar playing and roaring vocals, it’s the closest he ever got to hard rock and to white blues-rock. It is so goddamn powerful, so massive."
Freddie King - Going down, single
The song has been covered by Jeff Beck, Deep Purple, J. J. Cale, John Mayall, Nazareth, Walter Trout, Jimmy Dawkins and many others.
Going Down, lyrics
I'm going down I'm going, down, down, down Down, down Yes, I'm going down, yes I'm going down, down, down Down, down Yes, I've got my feet in the window Got my head on the ground Let me down And close that box car door Yes, let me down And close that box car door Well, I'm goin' back to Chattanooga And sleep on sister Irene's door Yes, I'm going down I'm going down I'm going, down, down, down Down, down Yes, I got my feet in the window I got my head on the ground