Well, I had planned to put up “G.I. Jive”, backed with “Is You is or is You Ain’t (My Baby)” for Louis Jordan’s birthday today, but tragically, my transferring computer met its untimely demise. Since I haven’t been able to repair it or procure a functioning replacement, here’s the only Louis Jordan record I already had transferred, it’s a good one, too.
Louis Thomas Jordan was born July 8, 1908 in Brinkley, Arkansas, his father was a music teacher and bandleader with the famous Rabbit Foot Minstrels. He learned to play clarinet as a child and played in his father’s band. Jordan majored in music at Arkansas Baptist College, and eventually made his way to New York, where he played with Clarence Williams in 1932. In 1936, Jordan began playing in Chick Webb’s orchestra at the Savoy Ballroom, sometimes performing as a vocalist. He was kicked out of the band in 1938 for attempting to poach members for his own band. That same year, he started the band that would become his famous Tympany Five, which first recorded for Decca as “Louie Jordon’s Elks Rendezvous Band”. During and after World War II, Jordan and his Tympany Five became a driving force in the development of the jump blues and rhythm and blues genres, as well as one of the top-selling “race” artists. Changing tastes in the 1950s brought about a decline in his popularity, though he continued to record and perform into the 1960s. Louis Jordan died from a heart attack in 1975.
Decca 23741 was recorded June 26, 1946 in New York City by Louis Jordan and his Tympany Five.
The classic “Let the Good Times Roll” is credited on the label as being composed by Spo-de-ode and Fleecie Moore. Spo-de-ode was a pseudonym for the song’s co-writer, Sam Theard, who was also responsible for “I’ll Be Glad When You’re Dead You Rascal You” fifteen years earlier (though the authorship of that song was contested by Cow Cow Davenport). Fleecie Moore was Louis Jordan’s wife, who was credited in order to circumvent his contractual restrictions on publishing songs.
On the reverse, Louis sings another classic, “Ain’t Nobody Here but Us Chickens”. This song was popularized in the latter day by its inclusion in the video game L.A. Noire.