Wednesday, November 24, 2004


Now be thankful

Louis Jordan, Ain't That Just Like a Woman.

Louis Jordan, who essentially created rhythm & blues and served as grandfather to rock and roll a decade later, had become of the most popular entertainers in the country by the mid-'40s. James Brown: "Louis was everything." Jordan even had music videos--short films of him singing his current hit that would play before main features in theatres, and soon became so popular that the Jordan films took top billing on marquees. (Reminds me of the peak of the Michael Jackson mania in the '80s, when TV listings in my paper would note when Jackson's Pepsi commercials were running.)

Starting with an electric guitar intro Chuck Berry definitely remembered, "Ain't That" swings all the way through its too-short length, while Louis blames women for everything he can name, even the burning of Rome.

"Ain't That" was recorded in New York on Jan. 23, 1946, and featured Jordan on alto sax and his Tympany Five--Aaron Izenhall (trumpet), Josh Jackson (tenor sax), Wild Bill Davis (p), Carl Hogan (g), Jesse "Po" Simpkins (b) and Eddie Byrd (d). It, along with a whole lot of other great music, can be found on this 2-CD anthology.

Frank Sinatra, The Girl That I Marry.

A bit of sentiment for the start of the holidays. By '46, Sinatra was nearing the end of his bobby-soxer teen idol phase and would soon enter a strange period in his career when he grew a moustache, had an flop television show and married Ava Gardner. But here he sings Irving Berlin's "The Girl that I Marry" as sweet as a lamb.

Recorded in Hollywood on March 10, 1946, and can be found on this Irving Berlin compilation.

And with that, 1946 comes to a close. After a brief Thanksgiving hiatus, a new year begins. Hope you all are enjoying it so far.

Bonus: Favorite Films of '46

1) It's a Wonderful Life. George Bailey's Bedford Falls is like "The Village" in the '60s UK spy show The Prisoner. Part social history of America 1915-1945, part cornball family movie; Frank Capra's film is far wittier, darker and sharper than its reputation as a genial Christmas TV staple. Contains one of my favorite lines in film history, from Nick the bartender: "Hey look, mister, we serve hard drinks in here for men who want to get drunk fast, and we don't need any characters around to give the joint 'atmosphere'. Is that clear, or do I have to slip you my left for a convincer?"

2) A Matter of Life and Death. (AKA Stairway to Heaven). Possibly the Archers' best movie in a decade of triumphs. A fantasy happy ending for the millions of war dead.
3) The Big Sleep.
4) Notorious. Ingrid Bergman, Ingrid Bergman.
5) Canyon Passage. Odd Western by Jacques Tourneur, featuring Hoagy Carmichael singing "Ole Buttermilk Sky. "
6) SciusciĆ  (Shoeshine).
7) My Darling Clementine. Good lord, this was a good year for movies.
8) The Killers.
9) Gilda.

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