I knew Louis Jordan’s music long before I knew his name. My daddy loved B.B. King so I grew up listening to B.B. King and one of my favorite songs he sung was “Caldonia.” I think I liked how Caldonia is pretty close to rhyming with Sophfronia! Anyway, in the early 1990s a show called “Five Guys Named Moe” premiered on Broadway featuring the music of Louis Jordan. For me, it was love at first show.
I recognized so many of the songs—“Let the Good Times Roll” and “Don’t Let the Sun Catch You Crying” and, to my surprise, “Caldonia.” The energy of the show was positively contagious. Would I get up and dance when the Guys asked us to? You bet! I saw the show three times on Broadway and once in London. Of course I own the cast recording and I still smile and want to dance and sing out loud whenever I hear it.
As I wrote my novel Unforgivable Love, set in Harlem in the 1940s, Louis Jordan’s music was on my mind as part of the soundtrack of my character’s lives. When Val Jackson is playing baseball, the game he adores, with his friends on his aunt’s lawn I heard “Let the Good Times Roll” playing on a record in the background. When I wrote about Mae Malveaux’s desire to sweep a guy off his feet and take him to Paris I heard “Azure Te.”
I hope you too will have this music in your ears as you read Unforgivable Love when it’s published in September. I’ll share with you here video of Jordan himself as well a few of my favorite songs from “Five Guys Named Moe.” Enjoy the energy and the fun.