SPOTLIGHT ON LOUIS JORDAN AND HIS TYMPANY FIVE
PART TWO (VIDEOS)
Above: Louis Jordan (Left) and Lorenzo Tucker (Right) in a scene from the 1947 movie "Reet, Petite And Gone".
Above: Louis Jordan And His Tympany Five in the 1944 movie "Meet Miss Bobby Socks". They are singing "Deacon Jones", which was released on Decca 8654 B in 1943.
Above: Louis Jordan And His Tympany Five poster for the 1946 film "Beware!".
Above: Louis Jordan And His Tympany Five and another poster for the 1946 film "Beware!". One of the songs in this movie is "Don't Worry 'Bout That Mule".
Above: (Left) A third poster for "Beware!" and (Right) a poster for the 1946 movie "Swing Parade Of 1946".
Above: (Left) A still shot of Louis Jordan And His Tympany Five in the film "Beware!" and (Right) an advertisement for "Swing Parade Of 1946".
Above: Louis Jordan And His Tympany Five performing in the 1947 movie "Look Out Sister". They are singing "Don't Burn The Candle At Both Ends", which was released by them on Decca 24483 A in early 1948. The dancer in the middle is Peggy Thomas. Note the "T6" on the drum. Six musicians are backing Louis Jordan, including Bill Doggett on the piano.
Above: A poster for the 1944 film "Follow The Boys". In this movie Louis Jordan And His Tympany Five sing "Is You Is Or Is You Ain't (Ma Baby)".
Far Left: Indianapolis Recorder dated 8/6/49: LOUIS JORDAN'S "Reet, Petite And Gone" tops a big double bill starting Tuesday at the Park.
Direct Left: Apollo clipping from the New York Age dated 12/18/48 for Jordan's "Look Out Sister" and Lena Horne's "Stormy Weather".
Above: Indianapolis Recorder dated 9/8/45: LOUIS JORDAN makes debut in "Caldonia" in New York.
From Phil Beauchamp:
"Swing Parade Of 1946" is interesting because when Louis and his band are doing "Caldonia", they are all playing neon-lighted musical instruments, and backed by a big orchestra. I also like Jordan's dancing in this number.
Above: (Left) Poster and (Right) a still shot of Louis Jordan And His Tympany Five in the 1945 movie "Caldonia". "Bobby Sox Brigade" was the original title for the movie "Meet Miss Bobby Socks".
From Phil Beauchamp:
In the film short "Caldonia", Louis Jordan and the rest of the band, besides doing "Caldonia", also did three other songs "Honey Chile", "Buzz Me", and "Tillie". All these musical numbers are from the Soundies that they did. So this film short is a collection of Soundies and a small storyline.
ARTICLES AND BLURBS....
INDIANAPOLIS RECORDER, DECEMBER 18, 1943: JORDAN WINS ROLE IN NEW UNIVERSAL PICTURE
HOLLYWOODTaking his place before the camera for the first time in his brilliant stage career, Louis Jordan, dynamic Juke Box King, held the musical spotlight this week in Universal's scintillating musical, Three Cheers For The Boys [Name later changed to "Follow The Boys"]. Inasmuch as screen tests had brought Jordan to the coast, he had been ignored by the movie moguls and would not have been granted his chance to appear before the clicking cameras if he had not marked up a record gross of $29,000 at Los Angeles' Orpheum Theater last week, it was learned.
Arrangements have been made for Jordan to share musical honors with Ted Lewis and Charlie Spivak in Three Cheers For The Boys, along with such screen luminaries as Orson Welles, Rita Hayworth, the Andrews Sisters, and W. C. Fields, according to reports. With George Raft starring, Jordan is said to have furnished a "Charleston" background for Raft's tapping during the first day's shooting. Raft was greatly impressed and ordered Jordans part enlarged to include dialogue, it was disclosed.
The release of Jordans Ration Blues, on discs, marks him as one of the first colored band leaders to have his new song before the public as well as one of the first to record with the calling of the Petrillo truce. Ration Blues was a sensation on his recent road trip and he skyrocketed to a high spot on the vendor hit parade. Another new Jordan tune is Is You Is Or Is You Ain't My Baby, which will soon be released and is being plugged in Three Cheers For The Boys along with Sweet Georgia Brown and Five Guys Named Moe.
Jordan is also getting offers for a series of Walt Disney shorts and is being rushed into another Musical on the Universal lot which has option on his services, according to movieland reports. Many scheduled one-nighters may be cancelled when the Juke Box King moves back on his theater caravan next week, with the Jay McShann aggregation.
17, at Detroit's Paradise Theater.
INDIANAPOLIS RECORDER, SEPTEMBER 8, 1945: LOUIS JORDAN MAKES DEBUT IN "CALDONIA" IN NEW YORK
NEW YORK CITYCaldonia has arrived. The film featurette, stuffed with four new tunes and adorned with the Bobby Soxer's King Louis Jordan, as it star, makes its initial bow in New York this week at the New Amsterdam Theater in Times Square. It will be the first time a celebrated band leader has appeared on the screen in a film acted in and, at the same time, produced by Negros.
The 28 minute* featurette, costing approximately $3,000 to produce, gives its Negro cast a chance to prove its talent, besides introducing four hit Tunes, including, of course, the song Jordan made famous, Caledonia. The film's story is simple but carries a direct appeal. There is no Uncle Tomism. The actors act their parts, not saunter through them, lazily, as Caldonia starts off stepping Lively.
*From Phil Beauchamp: All of my film books, and the IMDB website, list the film as being 18 minutes long, not 28 minutes.
Caldonia, Jordan's film sweetheart, is really Nikki O'Daniel, whose whole purpose in the picture is to keep Louie in New York to be near her. Nixing a Hollywood contract, Louie stays. Richard Huey, 250 pound Broadway Star of Bloomer girl. He hires the Jordan band to make a movie in his studio where, with his brilliant ideas, he can elaborate on his film equipment. Unfortunately, as Huey's ideas blossom creditors begin removing the equipment, piece by piece. Last to go is the piano and somebody's still playing it.
All this time, a frustrated Jordan repeats to beautiful but hard-headed Caldonia "All this trouble and I could be in Hollywood." There's the setting for the song hit. However, before the 28 minutes are over, they manage to include the love scene of Jordan and Caldonia, the dance team of Taylor and Harris, comedians George Wilshire and Sporty Ode, and three Sun Tan girls.
Actually filmed last winter, Astor Pictures Corporation in New York just released Caldonia August 15th for the country-wide public consumption. They believe this featurette will be one of many by Jordan and that and giving unique entertainment to the nation, it will also instill a courage in Negro youth to do things for themselves.
INDIANAPOLIS RECORDER, MARCH 9, 1946: "BEWARE", FEATURING LOUIS JORDAN, DUE SOON
NEW YORK CITYAccording to a statement made by Robert M. Savini, president of the Astor Pictures Corporation, the new film featuring Louis Jordan and his band, Beware, is having "optical difficulties" and will be ready to debut about April 2.
Co-starring with Jordan is attractive Valerie Black, now star of Anna Lucasta, who makes this her first film appearance with the musician-actor. Featured in the film are songs Don't Worry About That Mule, Salt Pork West Virginia, Good Morning Heartache, and others. (NOTE: The others are "Beware, Brother, Beware" and "Land Of The Buffalo Nickel".)
Though made in New York during Jordan's last four days of appearing at Cafe Zanzibar, the film is directed and produced as a Hollywood film. Great trouble is being taken to perfect mechanical difficulties so that the picture runs as smoothly as any Hollywood production. "This is no little ordinary reeler" Mr. Savini States, Beware will be something entirely new in small Productions."
THE BILLBOARD, JUNE 8, 1946: LOUIS JORDAN'S "CALDONIA," "BEWARE" PICS, A 3-WAY PAYOFF
NEW YORK CITYLouis Jordan's use of the film short, Caldonia, as in exploitation medium, differs from most ork promotional stunts in that it is itself a direct source of revenue. The movies have helped the one-nighters, which have also been helped by recordings, which have also helped the movies, which in turn have become more profitable. It's a delicious circle, and other bands are now exploring the possibilities.
So successful is Caldonia, and so promising the forthcoming 60-minute feature Beware, that Jordan's manager, Berle Adams, has arranged for the leader to make two features a year for Astor Pictures, co-producer and distributor of Caldonia and distributor of Beware. The Astor trick, which sets Jordans flickers apart from the usual run of band shorts and features, is in distribution. Astor has its own independent distributor set-up26 offices from coast to coastand can plant the Jordan movie directly ahead of him in practically every town he plays.
The way it has worked out, indie theater operators have broken their necks to get Caldonia, where they shy away from name band shorts produced by major film studios. Caldonia is available to theaters for $25-$50, with no strings, whereas a major distributor will never release an individual film to an individual theater, always demanding block deals, and never guaranteeing timing of the film's booking with band's personal appearance in the town.
Caldonia usually opens in a town a few days before Jordan arrives. He habitually makes a personal appearance at the theater, signing autographs, plugging his concert or dance, winning new clients. An aspect of the Jordan films which has proved immensely attractive among Negro audiences is that they represent a departure from the customary "rent party" sort of Negro movie depicting Harlem life in lurid terms. Beware, for example, is the story of a band leader (Jordan) who returns to his college to find the place heading for the rocks. He stages a benefit, saves the school, wins the dame. Another interesting outgrowth of this sort of treatment is that Caldonia has been one of the very few all-Negro productions to get bookings in southern white theaters.
EXTRA AUDIO #1 (Windows Media Player):
[Audio restoration by Dave Saviet.]
AT DIRECT LEFT: The Cash Box review dated 4/8/46.
ABOVE LEFT: Decca 23931 A label image. The side was recorded on January 23, 1946 and released in 1946.
ABOVE MIDDLE: Decca 18734 B label image. The side was recorded on January 19, 1945 and released in 1945.
ABOVE RIGHT: Decca 23932 A label image. The side was recorded on April 9, 1945 and the record released in 1945.
The Billboard Review (6/14/47):LOUIS JORDAN DECCA 23931-23932.... Beware/Caldonia
Both songs are reissues which should evoke little interest, altho Louis Jordan cuts a fastidious figure with his vocal jive and josh. Tops, as earlier, is the eight-beat Caldonia, and still holding up is his patter song, Beware, from his movie of that name. Popularity of the maestro may bring another round or two of coins, especially for Caldonia.
(NOTE: Jordan's original release of "Caldonia" was on Decca 8670 A, recorded on April 9, 1945. "Beware" was on Decca 18818 A, recorded on January 23, 1946.)
1. "Beware" - Louis Jordan And His Tympany Five - Decca 23931 A (18818 A) - 1947 (1946).
2. "Buzz Me" - Louis Jordan And His Tympany Five - Decca 18734 - 1945.
3. "Caldonia" - Louis Jordan And His Tympany Five - Decca 23932 A (8670 A) - 1947 (1945).
ALL THREE SIDES played in sequence.
EXTRA AUDIO #2 (Windows Media Player):
[Audio restoration by Dave Saviet.]
AT DIRECT LEFT: Clipping from The Billboard dated 5/19/45.
The Billboard Review (4/21/45):ERSKINE HAWKINS VICTOR 20-1659.... Caldonia/I Hope To Die
It's right rhythmic rock and roll music that provides plenty of inspiration for the jump in Phil Moore's Caldonia. With Erskine Hawkins's trumpet scraping the ceiling, the band riffing, and pianist Ace Harris applying a bite to the lyrics, there is plenty of musical excitement set off with the spinning. Flipover finds...I Hope To Die... The phono fans seeking out the jump incentive in the spin, will shower plenty favor on Caldonia.
The Billboard Review (5/5/45):LOUIS PRIMA MAJESTIC 7134.... Bell Bottom Trousers/Caldonia
The record label will undoubtedly sell a million copies of this number. But such sales stimulation augurs little good for the record industry. Louis Prima, joined vocally by Lily Ann Carol and the ensemble, give a right swingy interpretation of Bell Bottom Trousers. But it's just as saltyhaving added a set or two of verses that puts the band and the label right down to the red light levels. While nobody can object to a dash of spice, the entendre dished out on this disk isn't even double. More befitting his talents is Prima's sing shoutings and torrid trumpeting for the bluesy Caldonia serenade, offered up in sock fashion at a moderate paced tempo de jump.
Music ops will undoubtedly coin a mint with this version of Bell Bottom Trousers. But experience has shown that the juke box industry always has to pay out double for such profits. Far healthier pickings, and certainly much sounder music selling, is found in Caldonia.
LISTEN: "Bell Bottom Trousers" - Louis Prima Orchestra (Vocal: Lily Ann Carol, Louis Prima And Chorus) - Majestic 7134 - 1945.
1. "Caldonia" - Woody Herman And His Orchestra - Columbia 36789 - 1945. [Recorded on 2/26/45]
2. "Caldonia" - Louis Prima And His Orchestra - Majestic 7134 - 1945. [Recorded in 2/45]
3. "Caldonia" - Erskine Hawkins And His Orchestra (Vocal: Ace Harris) - Victor 20-1659-A - 1945. [Recorded 3/28/45]
4. "Lil's "Caldonia" Boogie" - Lil "Caldonia" Palmore With Her Caldonia Boys - Ebony 1004 A - 1946. [Recorded in 1946]
5. "Caldonia" - Chuck Willis (Vocal: Chuck Willis And J.W.) - Okeh 6905 - 1952. [Recorded in 3/52]
6. "Buzz Me" - Sippie Wallace - Mercury 2010A - 1945. [Recorded on 9/25/45]
7. "Buzz Me" - Henry "Red" Allen And Orchestra - Victor 20-1808-A - 1946. [Recorded circa 1/46]
ALL SEVEN SIDES played in sequence.
1. Woody Herman's, Louis Prima's, and Erskine Hawkins' "Caldonia" were all recorded prior to Louis Jordan's version.
2. Marv Goldberg's "Chuck Willis" article surmises that "J.W." is drummer J.W. Simpson.
3. Fleecie Moore was Louis Jordan's wife at the time of "Caldonia". It is likely that this song, and some others credited to Fleecie, were actually composed by Louis Jordan himself.
4. The Second Hand Songs website lists the song "Caldonia" as done by seventy-six different artists, including Four Joes And A Jane (1945), Bill Haley And His Comets (1959), James Brown (1964), B.B. King (1971), Carl Perkins (1973), and Muddy Waters (1975).
VIDEO (MP4)....LOUIS JORDAN AND HIS TYMPANY FIVE
(NOTE: These video clips will open in a separate window. Best viewing is to leave the picture in its original size.)
1. SOUNDIE: OLD MAN MOSE**  SONG: OLD MAN MOSE
2. MOVIE: MEET MISS BOBBY SOCKS  SONG: DEACON JONES
3. MOVIE: FOLLOW THE BOYS  SONG: IS YOU IS OR IS YOU AIN'T (MA BABY)
4. MOVIE: CALDONIA  SONG: CALDONIA
5. MOVIE: CALDONIA  SONG: BUZZ ME
6. MOVIE: BEWARE!  SONG: LONG LEGGED LIZZIE
7. MOVIE: REET, PETITE AND GONE  SONG: ALL FOR THE LOVE OF LIL
8. MOVIE: LOOK-OUT SISTER  SONG: JACK, YOU DEAD!
**The Billboard Movie Machine Review (2/27/43):LOUIS JORDAN and his hot five-piece colored band work to their old track of Old Man Mose. A neat bit of production here, Jordan working straight and as a bespeckled preacher, latter bit in the company of praying Negroes to lend atmosphere. (Soundies)
From Phil Beauchamp: Here is a list of Soundies by Louis Jordan And His Tympany Five, including their copyright dates....
1. FUZZY WUZZYDec. 31st 1942
2. OLD MAN MOSEDec. 31st 1942 (was censored in Nevada and Virginia)
3. DOWN DOWN DOWNDec. 31st 1942
4. FIVE GUYS NAMED MOEDec. 31st 1942
5. G.I. JIVEMarch 13th 1944
6. RATION BLUESMarch 27th 1944
7. JUMPIN' AT THE JUBILEEApril 17th 1944
8. IF YOU CAN'T SMILE AND SAY YESMay 8th 1944
9. JORDAN JIVEAug. 14th 1944
10. HONEY CHILEJan. 29th 1945
11. BUZZ MEApril 2nd 1945
12. CALDONIAJune 11th 1945
13. TILLIEJuly 23rd 1945
There is also a Soundie that they are only on the soundtrack, OUTSKIRTS OF TOWN, by Dudley Dickerson dated Oct. 19th 1942. Dudley Dickerson is only lip synching to LOUIS JORDAN's voice.
LISTEN TO ALL ELEVEN SONGS ON THIS PAGE (Windows Media Player)
Click HERE for SPOTLIGHT ON LOUIS JORDAN - PART ONE (THE 1940'S).
(Above link will open in a separate window)
NOTE: A special thanks to Hans-Joachim Krohberger, Phil Beauchamp, and Dave Saviet for their help with this Record of the Week.
NOTE: Most discographical information provided at this website is from Ferdie Gonzalez' Disco-File.