Big Butter and Egg Man

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"Big Butter and Egg Man"
Single by Louis Armstrong and his Hot Five
B-side "Sunset Cafe Stomp"
Released December 1926
Recorded 1926
Genre Jazz
Songwriter(s) Percy Venable
Producer(s) Percy Venable

"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.[1] The song is often played by Dixieland bands, and is considered a jazz standard.[2]

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."[3]

Armstrong's cornet solo on the 1926 recording is one of his most highly acclaimed performances.[1][4]

"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."[1] 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.[5] The song is also known as "I Want a Big Butter and Egg Man" or "Big Butter and Egg Man from the West".


  1. ^ a b c Louis Armstrong: An American Genius. James Lincoln Collier. Oxford University Press US, 1985. ISBN 0-19-503727-8. pp. 175–176
  2. ^ 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
  3. ^ 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
  4. ^ 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
  5. ^ 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

See also[edit]