Sunday, June 8, 2008

Advice: Beware Brother, Beware

Louis Jordan: Beware Brother, Beware [purchase]

In the 1940s, Louis Jordan was king. King of the jukes, king of R&B, king of jump blues, one of the country's best bandleaders and performers, one of the first black musicians to crossover to whites, and the undisputed godfather of rock 'n' roll. His work profoundly influenced Chuck Berry, Ray Charles, Bo Diddley (I touch upon this in Part 1 of my Bo Diddley tribute), B.B. King, James Brown, Bill Haley, and Little Richard, among others. He was also king of the advice songs. "Beware Brother, Beware" was a massive hit in 1947, delivered in a proto-rap, half-spoken, half-sung vocal style, and as is typical of the Jordan catalog, hysterically funny. If you don't have Louis Jordan in your collection you're missing out. Dude was king.