The material on this collection was culled from two live recordings made by Louis Jordan & His Tympany 5 for the Armed Forces Radio Service in 1943 and 1944. It includes many of his most popular songs, some of which remain favorites on the novelty-nostalgia circuit -- "Is You Is or Is You Ain't My Baby" (presented here in two versions, one sung by the delightful Ida James) and "Five Guys Named Moe" are among those. Because these are live recordings, they also feature charmingly hammy jive-talk exchanges between Jordan and emcee Ernie "Bubbles" Whitman before each track. Jump blues has always had trouble getting respect, both from jazz aficionados who find the music simplistic and from R&B lovers who find it shallow and soulless. The fact that the most enduring songs from the tradition tend to be novelty numbers doesn't help matters much. But for those who can put aside their musical snobbery for a little while and give themselves up to the pure pleasure of this material, Louis Jordan offers more fun than a dozen Charlie Parkers. And in case you think he and his band are lacking in the chops department, listen to them rip through Dizzy Gillespie's "Rebop" at the end of this program. Maybe the world doesn't need a ten-CD retrospective anytime soon, but compilations like this one will always be welcome.
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AllMusic Review by Rick Anderson