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Best of Louis Jordan

41 customer reviews

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Audio CD, August 15, 1989
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$5.99 & FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Details Only 12 left in stock (more on the way). Ships from and sold by Gift-wrap available.

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

MCA has newly repackaged their classic 20-cut Louis Jordan compilation to include the same jumpin' jives at a lower price! Choo Choo, Ch'Boogie; Saturday Night Fish Fry; What's the Use of Getting Sober?; Caldonia; Ain't Nobody Here But Us Chickens; Run, Joe; Barnyard Boogie , and more.

With 20 originals from Louis Jordan's '40s and early '50s heyday at Decca Records, Best Of is the definitive collection of the blues-jazz bandleader-singer's work. Most of the cuts are up-tempo jumpers with lyrics that tell sly tales of the black experience in midcentury: the house-partiers in "Saturday Night Fish Fry" end up in the slam, while the institution of marriage occasions a warning in "Beware." Jordan also dabbled in Latin and Brazilian rhythms on "Run Joe" and "Early in the Morning," and even added a major ballad, "Don't Let the Sun Catch You Cryin'," to the standard repertoire. A major influence on Ray Charles, James Brown, and Chuck Berry, Jordan is a must-hear. --Rickey Wright

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (August 15, 1989)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: MCA
  • ASIN: B000002O17
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (41 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #20,289 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

41 of 42 people found the following review helpful By Daniel J. Hamlow HALL OF FAME on September 12, 2003
Format: Audio CD
Sandwiched inbetween the dying days of big band and early rock-and-roll were 1940's R&B singers whose swinging sounds laced with jazz and blues influences provided a transition to what later became rock-and-roll. Roy Brown, Wynonnie Harris, and blues saxophonist and singer Louis Jordan were among these artists, and it's fair to say that because both Bill Haley and Elvis Presley covered their songs and got more attention than they did.
Louis Jordan's heyday was in the 1940's, and his shuffling, swinging "jump" sound combined with his goofy and humorous man-about-town schtick and sax solos. The earliest hit on here is slow "Knock Me A Kiss", was done in 1941.
A full nine years before Bill Haley, Jordan did "Choo Choo Ch'Boogie" with an engaging boogie-woogieing piano and bass. Yes, remember, "Take me right back to the track, jack."
"Let The Good Times Roll" has a sound similar to "Heartbreak Hotel", which means early rock.
The partying "Saturday Night Fish Fry" is one of two songs that go beyond the average 2:30 time. It clocks in 5:20 but its excess length doesn't diminish the song. Hearing "It was rockin'" and the electric guitar there, this would've been a great Haley song.
"Caldonia" was the song that made me realize Jordan's connection to rock and roll, as I learned in my music class. That boogieing sound and Haley style rock just blends here, and the way he shouts "Caldonia" like "CaldoNYAAA" A singsong type monologue is included here, which shows another influence to rock.
"School Days" is basically a series of old nursery rhymes set to a snazzy jazzy beat. I remember those rhymes, e.g.
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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful By N. D. A. Grie on June 21, 2003
Format: Audio CD
If you were trying to find the exact midpoint between the swing-jazz era and the rock `n roll era, this is it. This is one of the kinds of music that made rock `n roll possible. Jump blues is what it was called, and Louis Jordan - composer, singer, bandleader, saxophonist - was its most successful and important practitioner. As jazz veered into the less commercially appealing bebop style, and delta blues was brought north during the pre and post-World War II northward migration of southern blacks, this hybrid musical form was standard entertainment at nightclubs, particularly but not exclusively those with black audiences, during the late 40s and early 50s. At the time, Billboard called this "race music", yet Jordan had great crossover appeal without "whitening" his style, and had several pop chart-topping million-sellers to his credit. These recordings of Jordan's band, the Tympani Five, date from 1942-1954, but are mostly from the late 40s. They include several boogie-woogie piano-driven tracks (like the very successful "Choo Choo Ch' Boogie"), some non-jump blues ("Nobody Knows You When You're Down and Out") and a few tracks that actually do sound like early rock `n roll ("Saturday Night Fish Fry"). The band even throws in a calypso number ("Run Joe"). Jordan also created what might be considered the first music videos that served as introductory fare at movie theaters.
Make no mistake, Jordan was more than a musician - he was an entertainer, and specifically, a comedian. There is a strong lacing of humor through almost every song. For example, in "Saturday Night Fish Fry", you will learn of the events that caused him to warn in the last verse "If you ever want to get a fist in your eye, just mention a Saturday night fish fry.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Steve Vrana HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on May 16, 2000
Format: Audio CD
When I was growing up in The Sixties on the British Invasion and Motown and Stax classics, I thought I knew everything about popular music. Over the last couple decades I've realized how myopic my vision was in my youth. By looking over my shoulder to the past, I've discovered a wealth of amazing artists in popular music's rich history.
One of my most thrilling discoveries was when I first came acros Louis Jordan, a Forties jump-blues singer and sax player. His popularity was so widespread during the decade that between 1943 and 1950, Jordan was atop the charts with 18 songs for a total of 113 weeks! Songs like "Choo Choo Ch'Boogie," "Ain't Nobody Here But Us Chickens" and "Saturday Night Fish Fry" display his swinging blues 'n' boogie style. It's no surprise that Jordan was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1987 as an early influence.
The 20 tracks on the CD belong in any serious collector's library. ESSENTIAL
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Alistair McHarg on April 28, 2006
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Just do yourself a favor and get it. With 20 stone-cold winners lined up shoulder-to-shoulder, this is not just the best Louis Jordan anthology available, it delivers more jubilation for the buck than just about anything in the Amazon jungle.

"Serious" students of pop music use the word "important" when describing Jordan, a word that always makes me think I am about to encounter something boring that will remind me of medicine. Yes, he was one of the originators of rock & roll. Yes, he was a breakthrough crossover artist who appealed to black and white audiences alike. Yes, he created a distinctive style that used singing/talking in place of an instrument, influencing ersatz practitioners to come. And yes, he used "coded" lyrics that were extremely funny, and salty at times, to cover material that simply never got aired in those days. All well and good. But the net on Louis Jordan is that he is a party waiting to happen; put this CD on and in no time at all you'll find yourself laughing, dancing, and feeling better about life.

Whether on sax, vocals, as a writer, or bandleader, Louis Jordan cooks. Saturday Night Fish Fry is a rockin' classic with a story to tell, as are Beans and Cornbread, Five Guys Named Moe, and Choo Choo Ch'Boogie. Ain't Nobody Here But Us Chickens is a riot, a splendid piece of political incorrectness that uses code to have a little fun (a lot of fun) at the white man's expense. The source is a very old, racist joke that Jordan simply turns on its head and returns with a smile. Caledonia, another foot stomper, is equally irreverent and delightful.

Jordan also shows off his smooth, lady-killer crooning chops on tracks like Blue Light Boogie and Early In The Mornin' - nice. So jump on in, the water's fine. If you want to be wowed by what a pioneering influence he was, that's great. But don't miss out on the real point of Louis Jordan - this cat is over the legal limit for fun.
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