May 13, 2010

Louis Jordan//Caldonia

I'm sitting in my backyard with Emily Bate, trying to figure out today's song. I realized that besides Mr. Kevin Dunn, we're having kind of an old-timey week. So, hey, let's run with that.

I heard this song for the first time at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, where Louis Jordan was described, in one of the intro videos as “the Father of Rhythm & Blues” and “the Grandfather of Rock ‘n’ Roll." Ryan and I really liked this song and for some reason I am only now, about 4 years later, finally looking up Mr. Jordan.

Apparently he was known as "The King of the Jukebox," for his popularity with both black and white audiences during the late swing years to the early rock and roll years. Bate informs me that he has also recorded a song about beans and cornbread having a fight. "In the end he lists a whole bunch of reasons that they should have unity, mostly involving delicious combinations of foods." Compelling.

This guy was fucking hilarious. For example:

"I'm Gonna Leave You on the Outskirts of Town" was an "answer record" to Jordan's earlier "I'm Gonna Move to the Outskirts of Town", but it became Jordan's first major chart hit, reaching #2 on Billboard's Harlem Hit Parade. His next side, "What's the Use of Getting Sober" (When You're Gonna Get Drunk Again)", became Jordan's first #1 hit, reaching the top of the Harlem Hit Parade in December 1942. A subsequent side, "The Chicks I Pick Are Slender, Tender and Fine", reached #10 in January 1943. Their next major side, the comical call-and response number "Five Guys Named Moe", was one of the first recordings to solidify the fast-paced, swinging R&B style that became the Jordan trademark and it struck a chord with audiences, reaching #3 on the race charts in September 1943. The song was later taken as the title of a long-running stage show that paid tribute to Jordan and his music. The more conventional "That'll Just About Knock Me Out" also fared well, reaching #8 on the race charts and giving Jordan his fifth hit from the December 1942 sessions.

Slender, Tender and Fine. I'm Gonna Move to the Outskirts of Town, then, I'm Gonna Leave You on the Outskirts of Town. You Run Your Mouth and I'll Run My Business. I shit you not.


Caldonia, what makes your big head so hard?


SW said...

I adore this song. Thanks for the write up.

g said...

Thanks for reading, SW. And for having such awesome taste.