Monday, April 21, 2008

It's Monday Already?!?

Louis Jordan - Workin' Man

As quickly as Friday afternoon ended, Monday morning has begun. Is it just me, or do weekends seem to get shorter and shorter?

Louis Jordan and his group, the Tympany Five, ruled the R&B charts in the late '40s with his "jump blues," effectively bridging the gap between big band jazz and the nascent rhythm and blues / rock 'n' roll sound. Classics like "Let the Good Times Roll" and humorous cuts like "Saturday Night Fish Fry," "Ain't Nobody Here But Us Chickens" and "Beans and Cornbread" made Jordan the "King of the Jukebox," but by the mid-'50s, he was swamped by the new sound of rock 'n' roll and, although he stayed active as a performer and recording artist, he never regained his earlier glory and he passed away in 1975. In the '90s, a revival of interest in jump blues and swing dancing brought Jordan back into the pop culture, and the hit musical Five Guys Named Moe provided a great tribute to his music.

In the early '60s, Jordan hooked up with Ray Charles for a handful of releases on Charles' Tangerine label. The horn-heavy "Workin' Man" effectively captures the sentiment of my opening paragraph in its lyrics. "It sure gets late quick on a Saturday night," Jordan laments. "Saturday's my time to play, but it just ain't long enough." Amen to that!

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