Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Louis Jordan in the 1960's, part 1 - Hardhead

Even as new-fangled rock & roll was gaining prominence in the mid-1950's, the music of one of its pioneers came to be viewed as a bit passé.

Louis Jordan had been rocking the bandstand for better than twenty years at that point, and had been 'King of the Jukebox' for perhaps half of that span.

A change of personnel to a larger group at the end of the big band era was bad timing, a decline in popularity led to moves to different record labels and further changes in his band's lineup.

But Louis still rocked, even if his heyday was behind him.

Following his departure from Decca, he recorded great material for the Aladdin label and then Mercury, but the spark his music had with his Tympany Five bands throughout the 40's and early '50's either eluded him, or was just out of favor.

In 1963, he recorded this version of his song 'Hardhead' for Tangerine, a record label founded by Ray Charles the previous year.

There were only sporadic recording sessions from then on (and I'll try to post a bit more of his later material in the near future), but despite diminishing returns, Jordan continued touring and performing throughout the '60's and until shortly before his death in 1975.

Listen to: Louis Jordan - Hardhead (click for audio)

There are several cool Louis Jordan video clips to be found at YouTube and other places, where you can see him in action in the earlier days...

...But this clip that's over at DailyMotion is from the 1966 TV show 'The !!!!Beat', and it shows Louis kicking serious ass at the age of 58 or so on one of his standards.

(And if you ever get a chance to take a peek at 'The !!!!Beat' series of import DVDs, jump at it! Awesome stuff!)


Craig D said...

Louis looks so petite next to that MC!

The In Crowd said...

Craig D said...
"Louis looks so petite next to that MC!"

Louis may have been smallish, but I'm guessing that many people looked a bit wee standing next to 'Hoss' Allen...

Freshly-stirred links