Is You Is or Is You Ain't My Baby?

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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