Louis Jordan: Ain’t That Just Like A Woman

4 Feb

Remembering the great Louis Jordan, who died on this day in 1975.

Sorry, but if you don’t like Jordan’s music, it might be that Jack You’re Dead. It’s unlikely anyone ever sung with more sass or had more fun, but none of that should diminish his importance to the music — this wasn’t some guy called Moe.  Jordan had far more hits than he had wives, and he had five of the latter. He was called “King of the Juke Box” because of the 57 hits he had — including 18 No. 1 records — on the R&B charts.

He was multi-talented — he led the band, he played the sax, he sang, he danced, he wrote many of the songs, he acted in films and he did it all with an attitude that was endearing and made his audience laugh. But he was also an important influence on the rock and roll era that followed his heyday of the late ’40s and early ’50s. 

Said Jordan: “Generally a black artist at that time would either stick to the blues or do pop.  I did everything.”

By the ’60s Jordan’s performing days were mostly in the past. He was 66 when he died, and mostly overshadowed by the change in the music.

From the back of Joe Jackson’s wonderful 1981 Jumping Jive tribute album to Jordan and the performers of that era:

“When my dad was my age, jazz was not respectable. It played in whorehouses, not Carnegie Hall . . .
Our main inspiration, Louis Jordan, the king of jukeboxes, who influenced so many but is
acknowledged by so few. Like us he didn’t aim at purists, or even jazz fans — just anyone
who wanted to listen and enjoy. Reap this righteous riff.”

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