Friday, September 01, 2006

The Four Lads- No Not Much



















Not much left here.

Imagine life in America fifty years ago. The Korean War had ended. Eisenhower was in the White House. Most citizens hadn't yet heard the initial shots fired by musical revolutionaries Ray Charles, Chuck Berry, Little Richard and Elvis Presley. The tidy harmonies of The Four Lads were one of the most popular recording acts and "No Not Much" was one of the biggest hits of 1956. Weird, huh?

6 comments:

moose & squirrel said...

Happy in Bag,

That's fine and dandy to describe the McCarthy years as such and hey, I like pop music from all eras, especially der Bingle when he was a young crooner beginning in the late 20's up till he recorded "It's been a long, long time" with the Les Paul Trio at end of WWII. However, some were setting the world on fire long before the names you dropped. Ex:

http://youtube.com/watch?v=dOmRm0-acJw

Is she rocking or what? Where did that 'dirty' guitar come from? My, oh, my.

Happy In Bag said...

For sure, m&s. The world would be a better place if Sister Rosetta Tharpe, Amos Milburn and Louis Jordan had managed to become national celebrities in the '50s. But they didn't.

And let me make it clear- I genuinely like The Four Lads. It's just so difficult to hear them in the proper context- fifty years of rock'n'roll, r&b and hip hop have obviously altered the way we hear this music.

moose & squirrel said...

Er, Louis Jordan tore up both the black and white record market during his glory days of 1943-1950. Hit after hit and star making turns at venues all across the country. He WAS a celebrity and huge one at that.

Just nitpicking...

m&s

Happy In Bag said...

I'll trust your expert knowlege on this matter, m&s. I knew that Jordan could draw 10,000+ here in KC, but I didn't realize that he had mass appeal. That's wild.

moose & squirrel said...

Happy in Bag,

I hate using the R&R Hall of Shame for this info, but check where he landed on the 'pop' charts:

1944
Louis Jordan hits #1 on the R&B chart and #1 on the pop chart with "G.I. Jive."

1945
Louis Jordan hits #1 on the R&B chart and #6 on the pop chart with "Caldonia."

1946
Louis Jordan hits #1 on the R&B chart and #9 on the pop chart with "Buzz Me."

1946
Louis Jordan hits #1 on the R&B chart and #7 on the pop chart with "Stone Cold Dead In the Market (He Had It Coming)."

1946
Louis Jordan hits #1 on the R&B chart and #7 on the pop chart with "Choo Choo Ch'Boogie."

1946
Louis Jordan hits #1 on the R&B chart and #6 on the pop chart with "Ain't Nobody Here But Us Chickens."

1947
Louis Jordan hits #1 on the R&B chart and #21 on the pop chart with "Jack, You're Dead".

1947
Louis Jordan hits #1 on the R&B chart and #21 on the pop chart with "Boogie Woogie Blue Plate."

1949
Louis Jordan hits #1 on the R&B chart and #21 on the pop chart with "Saturday Night Fish Fry (Part 1)."

1950
Louis Jordan hits #1 on the R&B chart with "Blue Light Boogie -- Parts 1 & 2".

Louis Jordan and His Tympany Five launched 54 singles into the R&B charts in the Forties, including 18 songs that went to #1. During the period 1943-1950, Jordan held down the top slot for a total of 113 weeks - more than 25% of the time! For good reason he was dubbed "King of the Juke Boxes." Jordan's best-loved songs include "Choo Choo Ch'Boogie" (#1, 18 weeks), "Ain't Nobody Here But Us Chickens" (#1, 17 weeks) and "Saturday Night Fish Fry" (#1, 12 weeks). His songs' appeal stemmed from their lively evocation of good times and the swinging sounds of Jordan's band, from hot jazz to shuffling boogie blues. Jordan not only supplied a good deal of the slang of early rock and roll but also directly influenced the freewheeling spirit of its progenitors, including Bill Haley and Chuck Berry. The latter paid tribute to Jordan with this simple declaration: "I identify myself with Louis Jordan more than any other artist."

Happy In Bag said...

Holy moly! Caldonia #6 pop in 1945!?! My whole world view just came crashing down around me!