Sunday, October 18, 2020

"Frisco Flo" (Cab Calloway)

"Frisco Flo was just a typical gal/Frisco Flo was just a regular my-gal-Sal/Frisco Flo was just as sharp as a tack/...f
or a fellow would give the shirt right off of her back/
She knew the smallies and the biggies, the weak and the strong/
A sinner, no beginner, at kicking the gong/But with it all, she always knew the right from the wrong/'
Love Thy Neighbor' was her favorite song...
Frisco Flo is up in heaven, I know/
Here below, we love the memory of Frisco Flo/
Though she's gone, we go on/
ike a flame, we carry onward in the name of Frisco Flo!"
Although best known for the classic 'Minnie The Moocher', the late great African American jazz singer, actor and performer Cab Calloway (1907-1994) clearly had plenty of time and affection for other good time, night blooming feminine flora, as evidenced by this lesser known original. It was first performed by Calloway as part of a movie musical, The Cotton Club Parade of 1936, showcasing talent exclusive to that famed Harlem nightspot.
The equally late and great wordsmith Terry Southern, in dissecting Mick Jagger's performing style and way of 'selling a song', linked it to a "tradition (of movin' and groovin') [that] had its most modest beginning with Cab Calloway at the Cotton Club in Harlem, where he would occasionally strut or slink about in front of the bandstand by way of 'illustrating' a number. After each, he would take his bow, mopping his forehead, beaming up his gratitude for the applause as he reverted to his "normal" self for the next downbeat (and invariably a change of pace)."
Years later, Calloway would actually work on a film co-written by Southern, 1965's The Cincinnati Kid starring Steve McQueen.
Listen to 'Frisco Flo" here:

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