follow us on twitter

dOc on facebook

Microsoft Store

Share: email   Print      Technorati.gif   StumbleUpon.gif   MySpace   digg.gif delicious.gif   google.gif   magnolia.gif   facebook.gif
Permalink: Permalink.gif

Buy from Amazon

Buy from Amazon.com

BMG Music presents
Louis Jordan and his Tympany Five (1992)

"Who's the greatest band around/Makes the cats jump up and down/Who's the talk of Rhythm Town?"
- Louis Jordan, Five Guys Named Moe

Review By: Mark Zimmer   
Published: September 24, 2000

Stars: Louis Jordan and his Tympany Five
Other Stars: Nat King Cole, Cab Calloway, Louis Armstrong, Dinah Washington, Sammy Davis, Jr
Director: Stuart Young

Manufacturer: BMG Special Products
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Run Time: 00h:44m:56s
Release Date: September 19, 2000
UPC: 723338000893
Genre: jazz

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer
A A-B+B+ D-

DVD Review

Before World War II, black musicians were relegated to "race" labels by record companies. With the coming of the war, the race labels were discontinued as a cost-saving measure, and the best of the black artists were carried on the major labels. This circumstance helped create one of the earliest crossover hits from black artists to white mainstream music, Louis Jordan's Five Guys Named Moe.

This DVD release brings to the fore Louis Jordan, a pioneer of R&B and rock and roll, a master of boogie-woogie, scat and jive, and one of the first stars of music video. Most of the disc consists of filmed performances of Jordan's best songs, including Moe, Caldonia and Is You Is, or Is You Ain't My Baby (though the latter is performed by the Nat King Cole Trio, rather than Jordan's band). Many of these songs were recorded on film for "Soundies," a primitive movie jukebox.

The music on this disc is smoking hot and heavily rhythmic, full of great combo work and alternately smooth and wailing sax from Jordan himself. Thankfully, the performances are mostly complete, without heavyhanded narration on top of them or interfering with the enjoyment of the music. There is a slight linking narration giving a few scant biographical details about Jordan, and his influences on music through Chuck Berry, Bill Haley and Elvis Presley. His influence was noted by his induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987. Indeed, much of his sound in the 1940's already sounded much like Rock Around the Clock.

The one shortcoming to this package is its brevity, which accounts for the downgrade to A- on Substance. Clocking in at just under 45 minutes, this disc doesn't even come up to the 48 minutes promised on the keepcase. I don't know how much more filmed material of Jordan exists, but I could have stood another hour or so of this music, even if it were sound recordings set to photos. In any event, due to the quality of the music, this disc will be finding its way into my DVD player regularly, I'm sure.

The Songs:

Shine with Louis Armstrong
Five Guys Named Moe
Honey Chile
Buzz Me Baby
Call of the Jitterbug with Cab Calloway
Fuzzy Wuzzy
Don't Worry About the Mule
Is You Is Or Is You Ain't My Baby featuring the Nat King Cole Trio
Beware, Brother, Beware
Boogie Woogie Piggie with Sammy Davis Jr.

Rating for Style: A
Rating for Substance: A-


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Ratioyes

Image Transfer Review: The black and white image is surprisingly good. There is a wide range of tones, with a variety of grays brought forth in crisp clarity. The inevitable speckles and occasional frame damage are there of course, but I'm amazed that ephemeral material such as this has survived in such splendid condition. Since the program is short, a fairly good bit rate was possible, giving the video maximum quality. It's not perfect, but it's better than we've any right to expect.

Image Transfer Grade: B+


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
Dolby Digital

Audio Transfer Review: First off, the B+ grade is for the 2.0 DD mono track. It has a rich, full sound with some minor noise and hiss. It's perfectly acceptable for material of this age.

There's also an abominable DD 5.1 track. This audio track is just awful, and would rank an F. The narration has a weird booming quality, and the bass is artificially boosted: these recordings shouldn't have this much subwoofer activity. This track just feels completely unnatural and unpleasant. Stick with the mono track, as this music was meant to be heard, and everything will be fine.

Audio Transfer Grade: B+


Disc Extras

Full Motion menu with music
Scene Access with 12 cues and remote access
Music/Song Access with 11 cues and remote access
Packaging: Amaray
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extras Review: Other than decent chaptering, there's nothing here, not even subtitles.

Extras Grade: D-


Final Comments

A fascinating, although very brief program, giving a popular music pioneer his due. Considering its low price, I'd recommend it highly for a purchase, because you'll want to play these songs over and over. Just play the mono track and ignore the 5.1 track.


Back to top

Microsoft Store

On Facebook!
Promote Your Page Too



Original Magic Dress.com

Susti Heaven

Become a Reviewer | Search | Review Vault | Reviewers
Readers | Webmasters | Privacy | Contact
Microsoft Store