JEEPERS CREEPERS (1938)

jeepers-creepersHere’s two minutes of Louis Armstrong in shining form, in the 1938 film “Going Places.”  I will brush aside the obvious objections, that Louis, dressed as a groom, sings and plays to a horse; his music is interrupted and nearly obscured by foolish dialogue and shots of that same horse whinnying; the synchronization of music and image is faulty at times.

Louis loved JEEPERS CREEPERS and performed it until the end of his life, always buoyantly, and this version allows him a full instrumental chorus with no accompaniment, then, when he starts to sing, the studio orchestra’s backing is both simple and sympathetic — piano, bass, and guitar, reminiscent of Joe Sullivan and Bobby Sherwood on Bing Crosby’s MOONBURN.  Catch the wonderful rubato turn as Louis slows down the end of the verse, eyes aglow, before joyously entering the chorus.  Lucky horse, lucky us.

(A postscript: when I had finished writing this post, I did as many bloggers do — went to Google Images to find some visual representation of the Harry Warren – Johnny Mercer song whose goofy lyrics Louis renders so cheerfully.  The first seventeen pages of Google Images for “Jeepers Creepers,” top left, are devoted to stills from a horror movie of the same name.  We live in interesting times to be sure.)

3 responses to “JEEPERS CREEPERS (1938)

  1. In view of what other plot devices occur in this bit of cinematic ephemera Louis was much better off performing for the stallion.

    Here we witness inter-species communication at its best!

  2. From the enthusiastic whinnying, it’s clear that the horse gets it more than the pair of “gangsters” who can keep talking while Louis is playing, an example of the wrong priorities or just plain bad manners.

    And (about the Lion) I think that the RCA set was issued on CD by a European bootleg firm – – – of course it had to be illicit because RCA didn’t have enough interest or awareness to do it themselves. I seem to remember that my lp copy was a “cut-out” even then, although memory is deceptive. The Lion was a carnival on his own. Have you seen the DVD documentary about him?

  3. Re: the Lion’s “Memoirs” 2-CD set, and as far as I know, Koch Jazz releases are perfectly legal:

    http://tinyurl.com/dbxlb5

    The DVD documentary, written, produced and directed by Marc Fields, and with contributions from pianists Brooks Kerr, Billy Taylor, Mike Lipskin or Dick Hyman and other jazz musicians like Artie Shaw, is a must-have document on The Lion.

    Regards,
    Agustín

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