After cutting records with the Harlem Hamfats in Chicago during the years 1937 and 1938, Frankie "Half Pint" Jaxon made his final recordings in New York City in 1939 and 1940 with bands that included trumpeters Jonah Jones and Henry "Red" Allen, Ellingtonians Barney Bigard and Wellman Braud, and veteran pianist Lil Hardin Armstrong. Although Half Pint's old-time sense of humor is fully present with songs like "They Put the Big Britches on Me," "Take Off Them Hips," "Turn Over," "Let Me Ride Your Train," "You Know Jam Don't Shake," and "You Can't Put That Monkey on My Back," he came across more smoothly backed by some of the Apple's best instrumentalists playing Harlem-styled swing. The highly sexualized "She Loves So Good" is an update of a profoundly lewd and libidinous original that Half Pint recorded a few years earlier with Tampa Red's Hokum Jug Band, along with a steamily erotic version of Leroy Carr's "How Long, How Long Blues." The third and last volume in Document's chronological history of Frankie Jaxon also contains a boogie-woogie adaptation of Half Pint's theme song, "Fan It," which was fast becoming a hit for artists as diverse as Woody Herman and Bill Boyd's Cowboy Ramblers. Jaxon is said to have quit performing in 1941, whereupon he secured a steady job as a United States government worker in the Pentagon. Transferred to Los Angeles in 1944, he either died there shortly afterwards or survived all the way into 1970, depending upon which biographical sources you wish to believe. When in 1994 Document reissued no less than 69 recordings by this amazing entertainer, few people realized what a precious gift had been bestowed upon an unsuspecting public. Watch out for Half Pint, this little guy is dynamite. His sense of humor and passionate delivery is likely to grow on you.
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AllMusic Review by arwulf arwulf