Air Week: July 29-August 4, 2019

Louis Jordan, Pt. 1: 1938-41

The “Juke In The Back” begins a mammoth, multi-part series, featuring the most important musical figure of the 1940s, Louis Jordan. He was the most successful African-American artist of the decade, selling millions of records to both Black and White audiences. Jordan charted 57 singles between 1942 and 1951, scoring 18 #1 R&B hits and 56 top 10s. Several of his records even crossed over into the Pop Top 10, which was an almost unheard of feat at the time. Jordan was born in Brinkley, AR in 1908 and thanks to his musician father, began touring with the Rabbit Foot Minstrels before he was even in his teens. His love of music, performing and baseball took him to Arkansas Baptist College and soon he was playing in bands in Philadelphia and New York. He started his own band after being fired by legendary drummer Chick Webb. His first records with the Elk’s Rendezvous Band were not hits, but they cast a light on the tight arrangements, the comedic delivery and good feelin’ jump blues that was to become Louis Jordan’s trademark. Part 1 features Jordan’s earliest recordings from 1938 to 1941. There are no certified hits, but these records show the blueprint for the future superstar. Matt The Cat’s series on Louis Jordan will cover all his important records up through 1956, so don’t miss a show!