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Cab Calloway

One of the great entertainers, Cab Calloway was a household name by 1932, and never really declined in fame. A talented jazz singer and a superior scatter, Calloway's gyrations and showmanship on-stage at the Cotton Club sometimes overshadowed the quality of his always excellent bands. The younger brother of singer Blanche Calloway (who made some fine records before retiring in the mid-'30s), Cab grew up in Baltimore, attended law school briefly, and then quit to try to make it as a singer and a dancer. For a time, he headed the Alabamians, but the band was not strong enough to make it in New York. The Missourians, an excellent group that had previously recorded heated instrumentals but had fallen upon hard times, worked out much better. Calloway worked in the 1929 revue Hot Chocolates, started recording in 1930, and in 1931 hit it big with both "Minnie the Moocher" and his regular engagement at the Cotton Club. Calloway was soon (along with Bill Robinson, Ethel Waters, Louis Armstrong, and Duke Ellington) the best-known black entertainer of the era. He appeared in quite a few movies (including 1943's Stormy Weather), and "Minnie the Moocher" was followed by such recordings as "Kicking the Gong Around," "Reefer Man," "Minnie the Moocher's Wedding Day," "You Gotta Hi-De-Ho," "The Hi-De-Ho Miracle Man," and even "Mister Paganini, Swing for Minnie." Among Calloway's sidemen through the years (who received among the highest salaries in the business) were Walter "Foots" Thomas, Bennie Payne, Doc Cheatham, Eddie Barefield, Shad Collins, Cozy Cole, Danny Barker, Milt Hinton, Mario Bauza, Chu Berry, Dizzy Gillespie, Jonah Jones, Tyree Glenn, Panama Francis, and Ike Quebec. His 1942 recording of "Blues in the Night" was a big hit.

With the end of the big band era, Calloway had to reluctantly break up his orchestra in 1948, although he continued to perform with his Cab Jivers. Since George Gershwin had originally modeled the character Sportin' Life in Porgy and Bess after Calloway, it was fitting that Cab got to play him in a 1950s version. Throughout the rest of his career, Calloway made special appearances for fans who never tired of hearing him sing "Minnie the Moocher." ~ Scott Yanow
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: Hep Cats And Cool Jive

1. Minnie The Moocher

2. Hard Times

3. Boog It

6. Limehouse Blues

7. 15 Minute Intermission

8. Stormy Weather

9. That Old Black Magic

10. The Scat Song

15. We The Cats Shall Hep You

x

Track List: Are You Hep To The Jive?

1. Boo-Wah Boo-Wah

2. Are You All Reet?

3. Hey Now, Hey Now

4. Everybody Eats When They Come To My House

5. Are You Hep To The Jive?

6. The Calloway Boogie

7. Hep Cat's Love Song

8. Papa's In Bed With His Britches On

9. What's Buzzin Cousin

10. Twee-Twee-Tweet

11. Come On With The Come On

12. Chant Of The Jungle

13. I Want To Rock

14. Oh! Gram'pa

15. The Jungle King

16. Don't Falter At The Alter

17. Who's Yehoodi?

18. A Chicken Ain't Nothin' But A Bird

19. Tarzan Of Harlem

20. Minnie The Moocher

21. Boog It

22. Foo A Little Bally-Hoo

x

Track List: The Chronological Cab Calloway & His Orchestra: 1931 - 1932

1. It Looks Like Susie

2. Sweet Georgia Brown

3. Basin Street Blues

4. Bugle Call Rag

5. You Rascal You

9. Somebody Stole My Gal

11. Between The Devil And The Deep Blue Sea

12. Trickeration

13. Kickin' The Gong Around

15. Without Rhythm

18. The Scat Song

21. Aw You Dawg

22. Minnie The Moocher's Wedding Day

23. Dinah

Comments

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boogiespeed
there will never be another...he was just THE BEST..... w.o.w.
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For 5 minutes of the best entertainmen t EVER, check out the Jumpin' Jive scene in Stormy Weather. https://yout u . b e / _ 8 y G G t V K r D 8
Between the ace big band jazz, Cab's masterful vocals/scatt i n g , and the Nicholas Brothers' dancing, it's impossible to keep your jaw off the floor.
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Loved him in the Blues Brothers
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Cab was a remarkable talent in a great era...way ahead of his time!
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Wonder how this would go over today in our over sensitive society?
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Like yl have someone to dance with buggwiggey
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mlvpa69lan
Love to have a zoot suit
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mlvpa69lan
Cab Galloway great singer love this kind of music
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spencersmith 3 9 0 1
I saw Cab live in Raleigh, NC in the 1980s; he appeared at the NCSU Stewart Theater along with his quintet...he recalled for the audience that night how his orchestra and Ben Bernie's orchestra had opened Memorial Auditorium in Raleigh over 50 years earlier, with Bernie playing from 11:00 PM and Cab starting at 2:00 AM! Those must have been the days...
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Cab C, C'mon. The best, I'm 42yrs of age. My mother would sing his songs to me as a child. My fav has always been ain't nobody here but us chickens lol!! That and of course everything he did along with the Nicole's Brothers. To this day arguably the best tap dancing trio to ever bless the big screen.
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fatcake9
I had the privilege to be friends with his grandson while he was alive. Julie if you ever read this I hope you and the kids are doing well! I miss that dude... -Patrick
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It's cool to chill and blast some tunes my mom an dad were diggin! Damn. I'm. 61 So you know. Cab ain't ever gunna fade away!!!
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Great voice and great ENTERTAINER! I don't think he gets nearly the credit he deserves for his influence on modern music and performance. If you watch video of him, you're as enthralled as audiences 80 years ago must have been.
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:) timeless.
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Cab is one of the best
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Only Cab can Scat like That! HEY NOW!
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I saw cab late in his life at the Montreal jazz festival he was out in the place des arts before his show it was my closest brush with greatness
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Betty Boop!
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lastgasp61
No lyrics for Are you hep to the jive?
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alicia_copel a n d
Years ago, my Mom and I were watching an old movie on TV when Cab Calloway came on all dressed in white and performed. My Mom told me how she had seen him live back in the '30's or '40's. As an adult, years after my mother died, I sat with my husband and friends at the Long Beach Jazz Festival and out on the stage came Cab Calloway, all dressed in white, and he belted out numbers with as strong a voice as I remember from the movie. What a remarkable career! Wish my Mom could have been with me.
Report as inappropriate
hilaire_myse l f . c o m
Call me A CAB!!
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lastgasp61
Look 9in the fendel Mendel, Have a bagel Fagel INDEED
Report as inappropriate
Time to go see Red Tails and revisit hard times for even famous African Americans. Then, look at today's election coverage and see how far, if at all, we have come.
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yeah thanks to government regulation in the war era, the fabric rationing put a halt to zoot suits
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erica_trejo1 9
i love cab calloway!!!
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The bio forgot his raising the orphaned Jake and Elwood Blues,,,,,
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One of the TRUE greats. Love this guy! We just dont see talent and performances of that same caliber anymore.
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Don't forget his appearance in the Blues Brothers movie
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jblank4
Total badass!
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Cab is the shizznit
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bdmiller10
Amazing... another time... some serious artistry and collaboratio n . . . We're talking SKILLS here...
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he is freakin beastly!!!!! <3
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beans and cornbread had a fight
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the best entertainer of the 30s and the 40s!!!!!!!!! !
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♥♥♥
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dog_broth
Just wish I could go back in time and attend one of his concerts. What an experience that must have been!
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HI-DE-HO Mother F*&k$rs!
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martin.barri e
Cab!! say no more
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soundmanvide o
forget the suit, the Blues Brothers was cool, yes...but the mans TALENT? awesome, amazing, remarkable.. . . we are but mere mortals to his abilities... .
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I can't believe they forgot to mention his appearance in The Blues Brothers...
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I have my zoot suit!!!!!
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Zesty sent me an E-mail address to order a zoot suit shander1, thanks Zesty!!!!
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shandler1
Zoot suits pretty much have to be custom ordered, nowdays.
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I'm serious...wh e r e do I get a zoot suit??????
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airbagsml
I dig this wild stuff man!
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where do I get a zoot suit?
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Solid!!!
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"I Love To Singa" with Cab Calloway and Al Jolson is a thing you've got to hear, along with "Cabin In The Cotton" (without Jolson).
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How about Sesame Street scat lessons?
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I love this Jive-Turkey!
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