Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Choo Choo Ch'Boogie by Louis Jordan

A 1982 compilation. One of ten LPs I bought (a quid each or ten for a fiver) from Keith's record shop in Kingston. It was a Music For Pleasure pressing and the cover was so tacky I hesitated, but it was mono, had some proper liner notes and — crucially — had a track called 'Inflation Blues' ("Hey Pres, please cut the price of sugar so I can make my coffee sweet"). So I risked my 50p. 

It actually sounds great, is immaculate and unplayed, and the music is catchy and intoxicating. Smashing snarky sax. And it includes 'Caldonia', which featured so memorably in the James Brown biopic Get On Up. There is a bit of odd crackling echo and the occasional spitting snapping on some tracks — dramatic but very brief distortion. I wondered if it was the system (the valve amps about to explode) but I think it must just be this pressing, or maybe just some tiny specks of crud... 

The informative liner notes, by Bill Williams, make the interesting point that this style of music underwent a revival (including the release of the album in hand, presumably) after Joe Jackson's 1981 LP Jumpin' Jive. 

A highly catchy standout on this excellent compilation is 'Open the Door, Richard'. Apparently 'Tamburitza Boogie' (aka simply 'Tamburitza') features the organ playing of Bill Doggett who would be a major instrumentalist of the rock and roll era. Williams observes that Jordan was a huge influence on the rock and rollers. In fact he left his label Decca just a few months before his producer Milt Gabler 'masterminded' Bill Haley's 'Rock Around the Clock' session. How interesting... Nice album. Good find.

Louis Jordan, Choo Choo Ch'Boogie (Music For Pleasure MFP 50557)

(Image credits: all from Discogs.)

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