Illustration by Robert Stanley from the cover of Brett Halliday's When Dorinda Dances, 1953
So here are two obscure and excellent songs called "Who Knows" - the first is by soul singer Marion Black, who released "Go On Fool"/"Who Knows" as his debut single in 1970. It's a great mopey R&B number with a skittering drumbeat and a very lonely sounding vocal by Black - although it was an obscure b-side on a Capsoul Records single, "Who Knows" got some recognition when RJD2 sampled it on one of his tracks in 2002. The song was also on the soundtrack of the show Weeds, which goes to show that a song can sometimes have a nice second life if it has an enduring charm that catches the ear.
The Replacements' "Who Knows" is a late-period rarity that was only released on the All For Nothing/Nothing For All collection in 1997 - I can't find my copy of that set (it's somewhere around here), so I don't have any information on this track. I'm always happy when it comes up on the "shuffle" play - it has a similar lonely vibe to the Marion Black track. However, right around the two-minute mark, a terrible saxophone line just about ruins the whole thing. It's too bad, really, because the rest of the song is pretty good. But it's enough to give Marion Black the win today.
Winner: MARION BLACK
"Who Knows" by Marion Black
"Who Knows" by the Replacements