Early in the Mornin' (Louis Jordan song)

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For other uses, see Early in the Morning.
"Early in the Mornin'"
Single by Louis Jordan & His Tympany Five
B-side "Look Out"
Released October 1947 (1947-10)
Format 10" 78 rpm record
Recorded New York
April 23, 1947
Genre Blues
Length 3:20
Label Decca (Cat. no. 24155)
Writer(s) Dallas Bartley, Leo Hickman, Louis Jordan
Louis Jordan & His Tympany Five singles chronology
"Boogie Woogie Blue Plate"
"Early in the Mornin'"
"Barnyard Boogie"

"Early in the Mornin'" or "'Early in the Morning" is a song that was recorded by Louis Jordan and His Tympany Five in 1947. It is an early example of a blues which incorporates Afro-Cuban rhythms and percussive instruments.[1] "Early in the Mornin'" became a hit, reaching number three in Billboard magazine's race records chart[2] and has been recorded by many different artists.

Original song[edit]

"Early in the Mornin'" has the structure of a twelve-bar blues with a strong rhythmic element. It is credited to Jordan, Tympany Five bassist Dallas Bartley, and Leo Hickman and has been variously described as a rumba,[3] a samba,[1] a calypso-influenced song,[4] and a "Caribbean-flavoured number".[4] As with many Jordan songs, it also has a comic element. The song begins with Latin-style percussion and Jordan calls out "Hey Pedro!...Where is Lolito?" After a twelve-bar piano solo intro, Jordan's vocal begins:

It's early in the mornin' and I can't get right
'Cause I had a date with my baby last night
Now it's early in the morning ... and I ain't got nothin' but the blues

Backing Jordan (vocal and alto sax) are Wild Bill Davis (piano), Bartley (bass), and Christopher Columbus (drums). Percussion is provided by band members Aaron Isenhall, Eddie Johnson, and Carl Hogan.

Look Out Sister[edit]

Poster for the 1949 Louis Jordan film Look Out Sister

Louis Jordan recorded a second version of "Early in the Mornin'" in 1949 for Look Out Sister "a sixty-seven minute picture that featured Louis as a musical cowboy".[5] His performance of the song was filmed in front of a U.S. southwestern-style ranch house with the band dressed in 1940s Hollywood cowboy garb. In his autobiography, James Brown recalled seeing Jordan's films when he was young and was inspired by the showmanship of performances such as "Early in the Mornin'" and especially "Caldonia".[6]

Other versions[edit]

Artists who have recorded "Early in the Mornin'" (usually spelled "Early in the Morning") include Ray Charles from the album The Genius Sings the Blues (1961); Harry Nilsson from Nilsson Schmilsson (1971); Joe Cocker from Live in LA (1972, released 1976); The Gories from the album I Know You Fine, But How You Doin' (1990); Buddy Guy from Damn Right, I've Got the Blues (1991); B.B. King from Let the Good Times Roll (1999); and Cyndi Lauper with B.B. King and Allen Toussaint from Memphis Blues (2010). "Early in the Mornin'" is included in the 1990 musical production of Five Guys Named Moe.


  1. ^ a b Friedwald, Will (2010). A Biographical Guide to the Great Jazz and Pop Singers. Pantheon. p. 263. ISBN 978-0-375-42149-5. 
  2. ^ Whitburn, Joel (1988). Top R&B Singles 1942–1988. Record Research, Inc. p. 230. ISBN 0-89820-068-7. 
  3. ^ "Louis Jordan "Look Out/Early in the Mornin'" – Record Review". Billboard 59 (42): 29. October 25, 1947. 
  4. ^ a b Chilton, John (1997). Let the Good Times Roll: The Story of Louis Jordan and His Music. University of Michigan Press. p. 137. ISBN 978-0-472-08478-4. 
  5. ^ Chilton 2010, pp. 142-43.
  6. ^ Brown, James; Tucker, Bruce (2003). James Brown: The Godfather of Soul. Da Capo Press. p. 23. ISBN 978-1-56025-388-4.