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February 7, 2003

We celebrate Black History Month with a program featuring the music of Eubie Blake (born February 7, 1883) and Louis Jordan (who died on February 4, 1975).

Selection Source Performer(s) Comments
Charleston Rag Sweet Sixteenths: A Ragtime Concert (1982) William Albright Written by Eubie Blake at the age of 16, this "exciting and very difficult rag" (to quote Albright) is evidence that even as a youngster, Blake's piano technique was formidable. The innovative structure and walking bass (anticipating boogie-woogie by decades) are evidence of Blake's gifts as a composer and songwriter.
Baltimore Buzz The Smithsonian Collection of American Musical Theater, Vol. 1 Noble Sissle This song, along with "I'm Just Wild About Harry" and "I'm Cravin' for that Kind of Love", are from Blake and Sissle's groundbreaking 1921 show Shuffle Along. It was he first successful Broadway musical written, directed, and acted by African-Americans. Paul Robeson joined the cast briefly as a member of a vocal quartet and Josephine Baker was in the chorus of a touring version.
I'm Just Wild About Harry Wild About Eubie (1977) Joan Morris, William Blocom Originally written as a waltz, this song was changed to a one-step at the insistence of Sissle and the show's leading lady, Lottie Gee. This arrangement presents both versions.
I'm Cravin' for that Kind of Love Eubie! (OC 1978) Lynne Godfrey A musical revue based on songs by Eubie Blake and (mostly) Noble Sissle, Eubie! opened September 20, 1978 at the Ambassador Theatre (New York) and ran for 439 performances.
Five Guys Named Moe Five Guys Named Moe (OC 1992) Doug Eskew, Milton Craig Nealy, Kevin Ramsey, Jeffrey D. Sams, Glenn Turner Louis Jordan was not a big name in theatre music but he was a major figure in popular music. Between 1944 and 1951 he released 57 singles, 55 of which made the top 10; 18 made it to number 1. Musically, Jordan spans the big band era and rock and roll. Many of his hits are still well known today, even if Jordan himself is now a cult figure for rock and R&B aficionados. Five Guys Named Moe is a high-energy musical revue based on songs he wrote and/or made popular.
Saturday Night Fish Fry Five Guys Named Moe (OC 1992) Glenn Turner, Company This is one of Jordan's best-known songs and the only one in this set that he wrote himself. Beneath the comic description of a party that got out of hand you can hear one of the reasons black Americans have tended to be leery of the cops.
Choo Choo Ch'Boogie Five Guys Named Moe (OC 1992) Milton Craig Nealy, Glenn Turner, Company The Big Band influence is pretty obvious in this one, but so are the roots of rock.
Everybody Love the Blues Blast (OC 2000) Company Aside from its blues origins, this Maynard Ferguson tune has nothing to do with today's show. Blast, however, was playing the Fox Theater in St. Louis this week. As you can tell by my review of the show for KDHX, I highly recommend it for an evening of mindless fun.

Acronyms and other mysteries defined:

OC: Unless otherwise indicated, the Original Cast recording of a Broadway show, along with the date.

OS: Unless otherwise indicated, the Original Soundtrack recording of a film, TV show, etc.

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 Back to Playlists  |   Previous Show— Arms and the Man (January 24, 2003)   |   Next Show—Less Mis (February 21, 2003) 
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