Roc Doc: Louis Jordan on Mercury 1956-1957

Roc Doc: Louis Jordan on Mercury 1956-1957

by Louis Jordan



When Louis Jordan hitched up with Mercury for a brief stint in 1956 and 1957, his commercial fortunes were way in decline. The strategy hit upon as an attempt to revive his recording career was not one bound to find favor with critics when his catalog was reassessed in the decades to come. On Mercury, he'd concentrate on re-recording his jump blues classics, modernizing the arrangements somewhat with an eye for the then-exploding rock & roll market. This 28-track compilation has much of what he recorded for the label, taken from two LPs and various singles. As Dave Penny's sympathetic liner notes point out, it wasn't as crass an approach at the time as it might seem from a distance; the long-playing market had just emerged, and since Jordan's original hit singles were no longer in print, for a while this was the only way to hear Louis do these tunes on record at all. Now that those classic original jump blues versions are ready available, of course, these remakes can't help but seem not only less essential, but inessential. Inessential, however, doesn't mean that these were bad recordings by any means, even if no one should acquire these before getting the original versions. Jordan's performances were nothing if not professional and lively; the backing players were talented, including quite a few sides with Mickey Baker on guitar and Quincy Jones as musical director; and he did sprinkle some tunes into the sessions that weren't remakes of familiar old hits (though listeners should be aware that one of these tracks features Dottie Smith on vocals rather than Jordan himself). Still, those remakes of familiar old hits like "Saturday Night Fish Fry" and "Caldonia" couldn't compete with the prototypes, and Baker didn't let loose on guitar as much as he could have, though he'll occasionally burn it up, especially on "Caldonia." If this was all that survived of Jordan as a recording artist, the material would be viewed more kindly, since his considerable abilities as a jump bluesman and R&B singer are well in evidence, and he wasn't all that bad even when the arrangements kowtowed to rock & roll trends. But viewed within the context of his entire discography, this has to be considered a lower-priority item, and one mostly for devoted Jordan fans.

Product Details

Release Date: 05/13/2008
Label: Rev-Ola
UPC: 5013929454422
catalogNumber: 244

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Louis Jordan   Primary Artist,Alto Saxophone,Vocals
Jimmy Cleveland   Trombone
Budd Johnson   Baritone Saxophone,Tenor Saxophone
Quincy Jones   Musical Direction
Irving Ashby   Guitar
Ernie Royal   Trumpet
Mickey Baker   Guitar
Sam "The Man" Taylor   Tenor Saxophone
William K. "Billy" Hadnott   Bass
Ernie Hayes   Piano
Wendell Marshall   Bass
Marvin Oliver   Drums
Charlie Persip   Drums
Francisco Pozo   Latin Percussion
Dorothea Smith   Conga,Vocals,Background Vocals

Technical Credits

Norman Blake   Recreation
Brook Benton   Composer
Hoagy Carmichael   Composer
Louis Jordan   Composer
Ray Noble   Composer
Bobby Troup   Composer
Denver Darling   Composer
Andy Razaf   Composer
Dallas Bartley   Composer
Chester Cohn   Composer
Milt Gabler   Composer
Benny Krueger   Composer
Teddy McRae   Composer
Mitchell Parish   Composer
Dave Penny   Producer,Liner Notes,Annotation
Jule Styne   Composer
Ned Washington   Composer
Will Weldon   Composer
Joe Foster   Producer,Recreation
Vaughn Horton   Composer
John Chilton   Liner Notes
Clifford R. Burwell   Composer
Fleecie Moore   Composer
Joan Whitney   Composer
Bill Austin   Composer
Lloyd Shaffer   Composer
Bill Tennyson   Composer
Mamie Thomas   Composer
Sam Theard   Composer
Joe Willoughby   Composer
Mayme Watts   Composer
Alex Kramer   Composer
Andy Morten   Artwork
Morry Lasco   Composer
Dick Adams   Composer
Leo Hickman   Composer
Walter Merrick   Composer
Roy Jacobs   Composer
Preston Foster   Composer

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