Sunday, August 14, 2005:

Minnie the Moocher / the Man from Harlem

Cab Calloway -- Minnie the Moocher
Cab Calloway -- The Man from Harlem
1930s jazz today from Cab Calloway. "Minnie the Moocher" is probably his best-known song, but it's always good for a smile; "The Man from Harlem" isn't as well known but it's more of the same. Funny that "The Man from Harlem" came out at the tail-end of U.S. Prohibition, before that one was finally conceded as a loss, giving the U.S. something else to set its sights on. Marijuana was still legal, which is probably why the drug dealing seems so, well, unhidden.

The linguist in me wonders why women are "frails" in Calloway's songs--the progressive in me says "that's sexist"; the sociologist says he would like to read about gender expectations of women in 1930s New York. And then the music fan says "quiet, now, I'm trying to hear the piano."

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