Big Butter and Egg Man
|"Big Butter and Egg Man"|
|Single by Louis Armstrong and his Hot Five|
|B-side||"Sunset Cafe Stomp"|
"Big Butter and Egg Man" is a 1926 jazz song written by Percy Venable. Venable was a record producer at the Sunset Cafe and wrote the song for Louis Armstrong and singer May Alix. The song is often played by Dixieland bands, and is considered a jazz standard.
According to pianist Earl Hines, Alix would often tease the young Armstrong during performances. Armstrong was known to be timid, and had a crush on the beautiful vocalist. At times, Armstrong would forget the lyrics and just stare at Alix, and band members would shout "Hold it, Louis! Hold it."
"The most important aspect of this solo, and indeed of Armstrong's playing on the record as a whole, is the air of easy grace with which he carries the melody. He is utterly confident, utterly sure what he has to say is important and will be listened to." – James Lincoln Collier, Armstrong's biographer
The song name was a 1920s slang term for a big spender, a traveling businessman in the habit of spending large amounts of money in nightclubs. The song is also known as "I Want a Big Butter and Egg Man" or "Big Butter and Egg Man from the West".
- Louis Armstrong: An American Genius. James Lincoln Collier. Oxford University Press US, 1985. ISBN 0-19-503727-8. pp. 175–176
- All Music Guide to Jazz: The Definitive Guide to Jazz Music. Vladimir Bogdanov, Chris Woodstra and Stephen Thomas Erlewine. Backbeat Books, 2002. ISBN 0-87930-717-X. p. 140
- The original Hot Five recordings of Louis Armstrong. Gene Henry Anderson, Michael J. Budds. Pendragon Press, 2007. ISBN 1-57647-120-9. p.111
Originally from The World of Earl Hines (New York: Scribner's, 1977; reprinted New York: Da Capo Press, 1983), p. 49
- In the Course of Performance: Studies in the World of Musical Improvisation. Bruno Nettl, Melinda Russell. University of Chicago Press, 1998. ISBN 0-226-57410-5. p. 205
- The City in Slang: New York Life and Popular Speech. Irving Lewis Allen. Oxford University Press US, 1995. ISBN 0-19-509265-1. p. 77