Louis Jordan: Let the Good Times Roll [MCA/Geffen] (1938-53) 1999

sub-titled: Anthology 1938-1953

Let the Good Times Roll

Track list:

Disc 1:
01. Barnacle Bill The Sailor
02. Doug The Jitterbug
03. At The Swing Cat’s Ball
04. Honeysuckle Rose
05. The Two Little Squirrels (Nuts To You)
06. Pan Pan
07. Saxa
08. Boogie Woogie Came To Town
09. Rusty Dusty Blues (Mama Mama Blues)
10. I’m Gonna Move To The Outskirts Of Town
11. What’s The Use Of Gettin’ Sober
12. I’m Gonna Leave You On The Outskirts Of Town
13. Five Guys Named Moe
14. Ration Blues
15. Is You Is Or Is You Ain’t (My Baby)
16. Mop -Mop
17. G.I. Jive
18. Buzz Me Blues
19. Caldonia
20. Salt Pork, W. Va.
21. Don’t Worry ’bout That Mule
22. Stone Cold Dead In The Market
23. Beware
24. Choo Choo Ch’boogie

Disc 2:
01. Ain’t That Just Like A Woman
02. Ain’t Nobody Here But Us Chickens
03. Let The Good Times Roll
04. Texas And Pacific
05. Jack You’re Dead!
06. Open The Door, Richard
07. Boogie Woogie Blue Plate
08. Run Joe
09. Beans And Cornbread
10. Saturday Night Fish Fry, Parts 1&2
11. Blue Light Boogie Parts 1&2
12. (You Dyed Your Hair) Chartreuse
13. Life Is So Peculiar
14. Teardrops From My Eyes
15. Louisville Lodge Meeting
16. Bone Dry
17. Fat Sam From Birmingham
18. Cock-A-Doodle-Doo
19. Slow Down
20. Never Trust A Woman
21. Junco Partner
22. I Want You To Be My Baby


Louis Jordan – clarinet, alto sax, baritone sax;
Louis Jordan & His Elks Rendez-vous Band;
Louis Jordan & His Orchestra;
Louis Jordan & His Tympany 5

Performers include:
Clarinet – Stafford Simon;
Trumpet – Louis Armstrong, Leonard Graham, Aaron Izenhall, Money Johnson, Ermet Perry, Eddie Roane, Kenneth Roane, Bob Mitchell, Freddy Webster, Courtney Williams;
Trombone – Alfred Cobbs, Leon Comegys, Bob Burgess;
Alto sax – Oliver Nelson;
Tenor sax – Irving “Skinny” Brown, Maxwell Davis, Josh Jackson, Eddie Johnson, Lem Johnson, Reuben Phillips, Freddie Simon, Stafford Simon, James Wright;
Baritone sax – Marty Flax, Numa Moore;

Piano – William Austin, Wild Bill Davis, Bill Doggett, Clarence Johnson, Chester Lane, John Malachi, Jimmy Peterson, Arnold Thomas;
Electric Guitar – Carl Hogan, James Jackson, Bill Jennings, Bert Payne;
Bass – Dallas Bartley, Bob Burgess, Bob Bushnell, Charlie Drayton, William K. “Billy” Hadnott, Al Morgan, Jesse “Po” Simpkins, Henry Turner, Thurber Jay (electric bass);

Drums – Eddie Byrd, Wilmore Slick Jones, Walter Martin, Alex “Razz” Mitchell, Joe Morris, Charlie Rice, Shadow Wilson;
Timpani, Timbales – Walter Martin;
Claves – Vic Lourie;
Maracas – Harry Dialmaracas, Bert Payne;

Guest Vocals – Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald

This compilation:
original recordings: December 20, 1938 – May 28, 1953
Released: February 23, 1999
Label: MCA / Geffen

Producer: Milt Gabler, Steve Lasker, Andy McKaie, J. Mayo Williams

Liner Notes: Peter Grendysa

Research: Jo Ann Frederick
Discography: Danny Gareon, Jacques Lubin

Photography: Popsy Randolph
Artwork: Gary Ashley, Meire Murakami



Overlooking Bear Family’s comprehensive nine-disc box, this double-CD set is the best re-issue ever on Louis Jordan, and the first truly comprehensive domestic release on Jordan’s work to feature state-of-the-art sound.

There are holes — only a relative handful of the tracks that Jordan & His Tympany Five recorded in 1939 and 1940 are included, although those that are here represent most of the best of them — but not huge ones, and every major Jordan track from 15 years of work is present.

The quality of the digital transfers is as alluring as the selections, the mastering so clean that it sounds 20 years newer than one could ever expect based on the songs’ actual ages.

The 1941 vintage “Pan Pan” and “Saxa-Woogie” place the band practically in the listener’s lap, with solos on clarinet, tenor sax, etc., that have smooth, rippling textures and barely a trace of the noise one should expect from early-’40s tracks bumped to digital — and the fidelity of these, and “Boogie Woogie Came to Town,” “Rusty Dusty Blues,” etc., all run circles around any earlier re-issues.

Similarly, the drums, hi-hat, trumpet, sax, and ensemble singing on “Five Guys Named Moe” are crisp enough to pass for modern re-recordings, except they’re not.

Indeed, until you get to “Ration Blues,” from 1943, there aren’t many overt hints of the compression inherent in masters of this vintage, and that’s the exception — “G.I. Jive” and “Caldonia,” cut one and two years later, have the kind of sound textures one more expects out of audiophile releases.

Disc two opens with “Ain’t That Just Like a Woman,” a perfect blueprint in style and execution (check out Carl Hogan’s guitar intro) for the sound that Chuck Berry popularized ten years later.

Of the later material, only “Run Joe” sounds a little less distinct than the rest.

“Life Is So Peculiar” features Louis Armstrong, as vocalist with Jordan, in a beguilingly funny duet from 1951.

By that time, Jordan’s formula for success was past its prime, and he and Decca Records were looking for new approaches — “Teardrops from My Eyes” wasn’t it, adding an obtrusive organ played by Wild Bill Davis to the mix.

The later incarnation of Jordan’s band on these tracks is a more restrained and sophisticated big-band unit, without much of the wild jump blues feel of the ’40s Tympany 5 — a 19-year-old Oliver Nelson can be heard on alto sax, incidentally — but occasionally they capture the feel of the old band, as on “Fat Sam from Birmingham.”

This version of Jordan and his band and the way they’re recorded are still superior to the incarnations of Jordan’s group that turn up on his later recordings for Aladdin and Mercury.
~Bruce Eder[]