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Ballin' The Jack Get Yourself A Monkey Man There'll Be Some Changes Made Construction Gang I've Got The Blues For Home Sweet Home A Married Man's A Fool When My Man Shimmies Deal Yourself Another Hand Street Piano Until The Real Thing Comes Along
|Instruments||Music and Musicians|
|Accompanist/ Conductor||Eddie Heywood, Jimmy Crawford, Gene Sedric, Benny Morton, Joe Thomas, Dicky Wells, Sidney DeParis, Earl Warren and Leonard Gaskin|
Customer Reviews (3)
- "Fascinating, Provocative and Enjoyable!"Review by Big Toots
As with many a look back in time, using today’s eyes, ears and “cultural sensitivity compass,” sometimes it is easy to pigeonhole a performer – or, in this case a team – as demeaning to their ethnicity or race. Sadly, contemporary political correctness sometimes trumps artistic quality and, in doing so, actually can demean or belittle the talented. A listen to “Butterbeans & Susie” with PC ears might do that. However, indulge me to put the so-called “correctness” on hold for about 40 minutes and take an honest listen here. You might be more than a bit surprised and enlightened. And, you’ll get a pop culture history lesson, to boot.
“Butterbeans and Susie” were a talented, wildly successful song, dance and comedy act which emanated from the T.O.B.A. and vaudeville circuits of the 1920s. Think of them as an earlier day African-American “Burns and Allen” (Louis Prima and Keely Smith might be a stretch) with a heaping dollop of racy and Black cultural humor applied. Wildly talented and using every possible entertaining method (except actually playing instruments), the pair was legendary and beloved throughout Black America. They performed with Louis Armstrong and his Hot Five. So, you know they were A-1 entertainers. Contrary to some of their “hanky-panky” lyric content, the pair was happily married and remained so.
On this historically important and highly entertaining recording (made in 1960 – decades after their greatest notoriety), the team delivers 10 of their best-known selections. They are backed by a small “big band” that supports, but, defers to the actions onstage (“there’ll Be some changes Made”). A listener will easily see him/herself seated in perhaps Harlem’s Apollo Theater as “Butterbeans and Susie” playfully engage in their very special brand of say-song, humor, dances, gestures and double entendres (“Balllin’ the Jack,” “A Married Man’s a Fool”). The listener will also get a surprise to hear both Butterbeans and Susie sing – each with a truly theatrical, bring-the-house-down exuberance (There’ll Be Some Changes Made,” “When My Man shimmies”). There’s no subtlety here. In addition, fans of what was to become R+B and Rock ‘n Roll will vaguely recognize in that music certain lyric content (mostly G-Rated, but, with R and X-Rated overtones, as they were here) which percolated up from the Black Vaudeville Experience such as this. For example, some selections from this era were also hits in the later 1950s and 60s (“Ballin’ the Jack”).
“Butterbeans & Susie” was an enlightening surprise for me. It may be for you. Minds and ears open and curtains up!
(Posted on 5/21/2015)
- Butterbeans & SusieReview by Simon Sez
In 1960, Butterbeans & Susie made their first and only recording since 1930, a full-length album. They are backed by Eddie Heywood Jr. (Eddie Heywood Sr. was their pianist in the 1920s) and a few horn players, showing that their charm and earlier magic were still there. “A Married Man’s A Fool” and “Get Yourself A Monkey Man” are typical of their timeless humor and witty but loving insults to each other.
Simon Sez: Butterbeans & Susie (CJ29) features the vaudeville team on their only full album, a charming and timeless recording from 1960.
(Posted on 5/6/2014)
- Review by Scott Yanow
(Posted on 6/7/2013)
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