One of the first songs we learned when we got together as the Eclectic Vinyl Orchestra (EVO) was the song “Is You Is or Is You Ain’t My Baby”. It’s a 1944 Louis Jordan song that appears to have gained top ten status on the pop, country and R&B charts. Wikipedia notes that Louis Jordan’s version was the last number 1 country chart topper by an African American artist until “Charley Pride scored his first No.1, All I Have to Offer You (Is Me) on August 9, 1969”.
It was co-written by Louis Jordan and Billy Austin and features a singer who is wondering if his “gal’ really loves him because she treats him so bad and starts with the line, “I got a gal who’s always late, every time we have a date”.
If you’re got the time, check out the versions by Diana Krall, Nat King Cole, B.B. King and Dr. John. A young guy in a bar one night, after hearing us do the song, told me he knew it from an old 1944 Tom and Jerry cartoon called “Solid Serenade”.
I first heard it on a Joe Jackson album but that’s a post for another time.
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