Choo Choo Ch'Boogie

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"Choo Choo Ch'Boogie" is a popular song written by Vaughn Horton, Denver Darling, and Milt Gabler. The song was recorded in January 1946 by Louis Jordan & His Tympany Five. It topped the R&B charts for 18 weeks from August 1946, a record only equalled by one other hit, "The Honeydripper." The record was one of Jordan's biggest ever hits with both black and white audiences, peaking at number seven on the national chart [1] and provided an important link between blues and country music, foreshadowing the development of "rock and roll" a few years later.[2]

Alternating up and down strokes of the F and F6 chords on the guitar creates a relaxed shuffle beat feel. The song is essentially a three-chord, twelve bar blues.[3]

Although "Choo Choo Ch'Boogie" is now seen as epitomising the style known as jump blues, it was written by white songwriters whose background was in country and western music. The song is credited to Darling, Horton and Gabler. Denver Darling (1909–1981) was a "hillbilly" guitarist and songwriter,[4][5] as was his occasional songwriting partner Vaughn Horton (1911–1988). Horton's first writing success was with "Mockin' Bird Hill," and as well as working with Darling on such songs as "Address Unknown," a 1939 hit for The Ink Spots, also worked with Gene Autry. His other writing successes included "Dixie Cannonball" and "Muleskinner's Blues."[6][7] The third credited songwriter was Milt Gabler (1911-2001), then the vice-president of Decca Records and Louis Jordan's record producer. A few years later, still at Decca, Gabler was also responsible for producing Bill Haley's epoch-defining "Rock Around The Clock" (and Haley, in turn, recorded a version of "Choo Choo Ch'Boogie" for his album, Rock 'n' Roll Stage Show[8]).

The song summed up the feelings of excitement followed by disillusionment felt by many who were returning from serving in the Second World War, in lyrics such as :-

You reach your destination, but alas and alack! / You need some compensation to get back in the black
You take your morning paper from the top of the stack / And read the situations from the front to the back
The only job that's open needs a man with a knack / So put it right back in the rack, Jack!

Cover versions[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). Top R&B/Hip-Hop Singles: 1942-2004. Record Research. p. 309. 
  2. ^ Gilliland, John (1994). Pop Chronicles the 40s: The Lively Story of Pop Music in the 40s (audiobook). ISBN 978-1-55935-147-8. OCLC 31611854.  Tape 4, side A.
  3. ^ Swing Guitar. Fred Sokolow. Hal Leonard Corporation. p 42
  4. ^ Richard Carlin, Country Music: A Biographical Dictionary, p. 96
  5. ^ Denver Darling profile at Hillbilly-music.com
  6. ^ Vaughn and Roy Horton at Country Music Hall of Fame
  7. ^ Vaughn Horton at Find-a-grave.com
  8. ^ "Bill Haley: Discography". Allmusic. Retrieved 2009-05-29. 
Preceded by
"Stone Cold Dead in the Market (He Had it Coming)" by Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Jordan and His Tympany Five
Billboard Most-Played Jukebox Race Records number-one single
August 24, 1946
December 7, 1946
Succeeded by
"Ain't That Just Like a Woman (They'll Do it Every Time)" by Louis Jordan and His Tympany Five
"Ain't Nobody Here But Us Chickens" by Louis Jordan and the Tympany Five