In early 1945 Louis Jordan’s manager, Berle Adams, came up with a rather unique advertising ploy. Along with William Forest Crouch and other Soundies production personnel, they filmed a two-reel short subject chock full of Jordan’s fabulous music. The film was booked in cities where Jordan was to appear, but screened a week or two before the gig. People saw and heard the band on screen and were eager to see them in person. The short, named after one of Jordan’s hit records, was called CALDONIA.
Crouch and Adams realized that further promotion could be achieved through release of the musical numbers as Soundies. In fact, this was probably part of the plan from the beginning. Four of the tunes were excerpted from the short for the jukebox trade, and they are all wonderful performances. While Eddie Roane is back on trumpet, we have a different rhythm section from the previous Soundie: William Austin, piano; Al Morgan, string bass, and Alex “Razz” Michell, drums.
While “Five Guys Named Moe,” the previous post, was a standard 32-bar pop song, “Buzz Me” is the blues, low-down and as close to early jazz-influenced R&B as you will encounter in 1944. Jordan’s chorus superb, as is his vocal. Jordan’s girlfriend is Roxie Joynes, later to marry Brooklyn Dodger legend Roy Campanella.
For this post I turned not to one of my Soundies prints of this tune, but rather to the original short, a very rare copy in archival condition.