Friday, May 04, 2007

Boogie Woogie Worldwide

There's a broadcast TV channel which floats down onto our house from Mount Wilson high above Pasadena. Channel 63 KBEH plays MTV TR3S (er, tres, like "three" - I guess there's an MTV uno and dos somewhere, huh? - we're the last people in Pasadena that don't get cable.)

Anyway MTV3 plays music videos from the Latino side of town, some in English, some in Spanish. They program what they call "Los Hits" Sometimes these stupid hip hop videos are the best thing on our television. And I always find that I enjoy contemporary pop music more if it is in a language I don't understand.

Christina Aguilera - still from Candyman video, like Andrews Sisters
My ears perked up to hear some authentic sounding 40's big band jazz on the station. It turned out to be this very cool video called Candyman by Christina Aguilera.

Christina Aguilera - still from Candyman video, jitterbugger cops a feel
It's music that would make your Grandmother want to dance and lyrics that that would make her complain to the FCC. Imagine a group like the Andrews Sisters singing a song very much like Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy of Company B in a movie like Abbott and Costello's Buck Privates, only modern.

In Christina's video she (playing all three sisters) is entertaining horny, young soldiers and sailors about to ship out to certain death. Imagine snappy uniforms, cigarette girls with bottles of Campari, women jitterbugging in impossibly high heels, and Rosie the Riveter at a luncheonette wearing a bare midriff. All played by Christina.

Christina Aguilera - still from Candyman video, cigarette girl with bottle
A harmonized mildly hip-hopish interlude suggests this isn't real 40's music. There's a back beat of hand claps all the way through to keep youthful bodies bouncing. A trumpeter plays a solo of just one note. Hard to really swing on just one note, but you work with what you get.

And then there's the lyrics. In the '40s women really did publicly sing songs about men making their panties drop, didn't they? And what the heck is a "Vodka double wine"?

Christina Aguilera - still from Candyman video, Rosie the Riveter is STRONG
But wait. Here's the real thing: you can watch the Andrews Sisters themselves sing Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy of Company B in the movie Buck Privates.

saluting Andrews Sisters sing Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy in Buck Privates
This Andrews Sisters' video has exactly one cut - meaning it's very close to what they might do live. By comparison Christina's Candyman is video by a thousand cuts. Could she do any of this in concert?

Want to check out some European boogie woogie? Here's a link to a WFMU Beware of the Blog post about a cheezy Euro-disco tune entitled Yes Sir I Can Boogie I'm pretty sure this boogie is neither music nor dance. Just casual sex.

They say this was a big hit in the '70s. Some sort of European cultural advantage that we Americans were never blessed with. I direct your attention to a version of YSICB sung in German by a Finn named M.A. Numminen. You've gotta listen to Numminen's version just to hear him yodel. Yep, disco yodeling. There's both a video and an mp3.

M A Numminen sings Yes Sir I Can Boogie in German
Thanks to WFMU you can have your fill of cheezy Euro-disco. Scroll down for Crazy Frog links!

Still craving more Boogie Woogie from the other side of the globe? How about an Indian television dance show entitled Boogie Woogie? (Watch the Kids Challenge episode here.)

You can watch a crypto-marine-zoology version of Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy performed by Bette Midler and friends. The performers have sexy hips and they hop about a lot. But it's not hip hop.

And here's boogie from the strangest possible place, my brain. Click here to hear my piece called Jihadist Boogie a 30-Second Spot originally posted last summer. Read all about Jihadist Boogie here.

Copyright © June 15, 2006 by David Ocker - 59 seconds

Finally - how about some authentic boogie woogie - or maybe just jazz from the '30s? This site Red Hot Jazz has more good stuff than you can shake your bootie at, baby.


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1 comment:

Ben.H said...

Yes Sir, I can confirm that Baccara's "Yes Sir I Can Boogie" was a huge hit in Australia too. I think it still is.

Just to close the swing/disco circle, M.A. Numminen also did a kick-ass version of "American Patrol" (scroll down to July 25).