Friday, February 21, 2014

Eight Examples of the Jump Blues Song "Caldonia"

Edited by Azizi Powell

This post showcases 8 videos of the 1945 Jazz song "Caldonia" (pronounced cal-DOHN-yah). Information about this song and lyrics for this song are also included in this post. Information about "Jump Blues" and "soundies" are also included in this post.

The content of this post is presented for cultural, entertainment, and aesthetic purposes.

All copyrights remain with their owners.

Thanks to the composer of this song, and to Louis Jordan and the other featured artists for their musical legacies. Thanks also to the publishers of these videos, and thanks to all those who are quoted in this post.

"Caldonia" is a jump blues song, first recorded in 1945 by Louis Jordan and his Tympany Five. A version by Erskine Hawkins, also in 1945, was described by Billboard magazine as "rock and roll", the first time that phrase was used in print to describe any style of music.

In 1942, Jordan had started on an unparalleled run of success on the Billboard Harlem Hit Parade (forerunner of the R&B chart), which by 1945 had included four number-one hits, and eventually made Jordan by far the most successful R&B chart act of the 1940s. "Caldonia" became his fifth number one on what was at that point called the "Race Records" chart. It debuted on the chart in May 1945 and reached number one in June, where it stayed for seven weeks. On the pop chart, the song peaked at number six under the title "Caldonia Boogie".

The writing of the song is credited to Jordan's wife of the time, Fleecie Moore. However, in all probability it was actually written by Jordan, who used his wife's name to enable him to work with an additional music publisher....

The song is best remembered for its punchline, "Caldonia! Caldonia! What makes your big head so hard?"...

Jordan also filmed a "soundie" of the song, shown in movie theatres at the time.
"Jump blues is an up-tempo blues usually played by small groups and featuring horns. It was very popular in the 1940s, and the movement was a precursor to the arrival of rhythm and blues and rock and roll.[1] More recently, there was renewed interest in jump blues in the 1990s as part of the swing revival."

"Soundies were three-minute musical films, produced in New York City, Chicago, and Hollywood, between 1940 and 1946, often including short dance sequences, similar to later music videos. The completed Soundies were generally released within a few months of their filming; the last group was released in March 1947. The films were displayed on the Panoram, a coin-operated film jukebox or machine music, in nightclubs, bars, restaurants, factory lounges, and amusement centers"

(Louis Jordan)

Walking with my baby, she got great big feet
Long, lean and cranky and ain't had nothing to eat
But she's my baby, I love her just the same
I'm crazy about my baby 'cause Caldonia is her name

Caldonia, Caldonia
What makes your big head so hard?
I love you, I love you just the same
I'm crazy about you, baby, 'cause Caldonia is your name

You know my mother told me to leave Caldonia alone
No kidding, that what she said
She said, "Son, the woman ain't no good, leave her alone"
But mama didn't know what Caldonia had been putting down
So I'm going down to Caldonia's house and ask her just one more time

Caldonia, Caldonia
What makes your big head so hard?
I love you, love you just the same
I'm crazy about you, baby, 'cause Caldonia is your name

[Reformatted for this post]
Editor's Comments:
"Caldonia" is a form of the female name "Caledonia".
"She's long" means "she's tall".
In African American vernacular English "having a big head" means being conceited arrogant and having a "hard head" means being very stubborn.

Click for information about Louis Jordan (July 8, 1908 – February 4, 1975), this song's composer and original performer.

These videos are presented in chronological order based on their posting dates with the oldest videos given first.

Multiple versions of a song are presented not to rank which one is best, but to showcase some of the different interpretations artists have given of this song.

Example #1: Frank "Sugar chile" Robinson - Caldonia

Rockin Birdie, Uploaded on Aug 26, 2006

From movie "No Leave No Love" 1946

Frank "Sugarchile" Robinson
Born Frank Robinson, 1940, Detroit, Michigan
Click for the complete summary statement that includes more information about "Sugar chile" Robinson.

Example #2: Caldonia / Louis Jordan & His Tympany Five.

Elwood Yodogawa, Uploaded on Aug 28, 2008
...They are one of the origins of rock n roll, and an excellent piece of music of boogie-woogie...

Example #3: Caldonia by Erskine Hawkins 1945

cdbpdx, Uploaded on Jul 30, 2009

Caldonia recorded in 1945 by Erskine Hawkins with vocal by Ace Harris. Pretty cool version of this popular tune. Enjoy!

Example #4: Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown - Caldonia Live 2000

furmamala, Uploaded on Oct 7, 2009
Live at Montreux Jazz Festival 2000

Example #5: BB King - Caldonia

christian6021Uploaded on Oct 15, 2009

Live At Montreux

Example #6: Caledonia - Memphis Slim

brenduchiful, Published on Jun 15, 2012

Example #7: JAMES BROWN Caldonia

IkeDyson SOULTUBE,Published on Sep 29, 2014

Early JB!

Example #8: Louis Jordan & His Tympany Five - Caldonia (Live)

LOUISJORDANVEVO, Published on Jan 17, 2014

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