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Music / The Complete Hot Five and Hot Seven Recordings

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Well, alright, why is life worth living? That's a very good question. Well, there are certain things I-I guess that make it worthwhile. Uh, like what? Okay. Um, for me ... uh, ooh, I would say ... what, Groucho Marx, to name one thing ... uh, ummmm, and Willie Mays and um, the second movement of the Jupiter Symphony, and ummmm... Louis Armstrong's recording of "Potato Head Blues" ... umm, Swedish movies, naturally ... "Sentimental Education" by Flaubert ... uh, Marlon Brando, Frank Sinatra ... ummm, those incredible apples and pears by Cézanne ... uh, the crabs at Sam Wo's ... uh, Tracy's face.
Woody Allen in Manhattan (1979).
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The Complete Hot Five And Hot Seven Recordings is a 2000 compilation album collecting all the recordings made by Louis Armstrong and his Jazz band The Hot Five and The Hot Seven between 1925 and 1927. The four-CD set is of great historical importance as these recordings laid the foundation for not only Jazz, but much of modern music we know today. They are full of beauty, creativity and innovation. "Heebie Jeebies", for instance, introduced scat singing and Armstrong's solo on "Potato Head Blues" helped establish the stop-time technique in jazz. Furthermore the sessions are famous for "West End Blues", one of the most celebrated recordings in musical history.

The recordings were added to the National Recording Registry in 2002, as one of their first additions.


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Potato Head Tropes

  • Alliterative Title: "Cornet Chop Suey", "Tight Like That", "Big Butter and Egg Man", "Willie the Weeper", "Georgia Grind", "I'm Gonna Gitcha", "Savoyagers Stomp", "Black and Blue", "Sweet Savannah Sue".
  • As Long as It Sounds Foreign:
    • "King Of The Zulus" has Clarence Babcock imitate a Jamaican by speaking patois.
    • "Oriental Strut" sounds like a Chinese melody.
  • Break Up Song: "I Ain't Got Nobody", which is about a sad and lonely person.
  • Color Motif: "Black And Blue", "Blue Turning Grey Over You".
    Why do I have to be so black and blue?
    Even the mouse ran from my house
  • Cover Album: A lot of recordings were traditionals or jazz compositions by other legendary artists of the time. Others were composed by Armstrong and his band members.
  • Cradle of Loneliness: "Lonesome Blues", "I Ain't Got Nobody".
  • Cross-Dressing Voice: In "Tight Like This" a female voice is imitated.
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  • Dancing Is Serious Business
    C'mon and do that dance they call the "Heebie Jeebies" dance.
  • Distinct Double Album: Back in the 1920s all these recordings were released on singles and/or albums with a limited space to collect them all on one record. The CD-box set compiles them all on four CD's.
  • Dream Sequence and Drugs Are Bad: "Willie the Weeper", about a chimney sweeper who smokes too much marihuana. The song describes his drug-induced dream.
  • Fat and Skinny: "Big Fat Ma and Skinny Pa".
  • Greatest Hits Album: This album compiles all the tracks Armstrong and his Hot Five and Hot Seven band members ever recorded.
  • Heavy Meta: "Jazz Lips", which is a Jazz track itself.
  • I Am the Band: Louis Armstrong and His Hot Five & His Hot Seven.
  • Improv: Most of the music was improvised.
  • Instrumental: Most of the music is instrumental, with occasional singing, scatting or talking thrown in for good measure. "St. James Infirmary", "Heebies Jeebies" are sang.
  • Intercourse with You: "Tight Like This", which refers to a woman.
  • Location Song: "West End Blues" and "St. Louis Blues" are both melancholic songs about these locations.
  • Long Title: "When You're Smiling (The Whole World Smiles Along With You)".
  • Made Myself Sad: Every track with the word "blues" in it, but also "Black and Blue".
  • Name and Name: "Big Fat Ma and Skinny Pa".
  • Never Smile at a Crocodile: "Alligator Crawl".
  • Non-Appearing Title: The title does not appear, because most of the tracks are instrumental and they were all recorded as singles.
  • Ode to Intoxication: "Muggles", about Armstrong's love for marijuana. Subverted by "Willie The Weeper", though, a song about a marihuana addict.
  • One-Man Song: "Sweet Little Papa", "Beau Koo Jack", "Big Butter And Egg Man".
  • One-Woman Song: "Sweet Savannah Sue".
  • The Power of Love: "I Can't Give You Anything But Love".
  • The Problem with Pen Island: The track "Big Butter And Egg Man". Is it about a duo named "Big Butter" and "Egg Man"? Or about a man called "Big Butter And Egg"? note 
  • Rhymes on a Dime: "Heebie Jeebies", words that Armstrong improvised on the spot.
  • Scatting: Trope Namer and Trope Codifier in "Heebie Jeebies". The title of "Skid-Dat-De-Dat" is literally a scat.
  • Shout-Out: In Manhattan Woody Allen lists Armstrong's "Potato Head Blues" as one of the reasons that make life worth living.
  • Something Blues: "Gut Bucket Blues", "Lonesome Blues", "Wild Man Blues", "Potato Head Blues", "Weary Blues", "Keyhole Blues", "S.O.L. Blues", "Gully Low Blues", "Put 'Em Down Blues", "Got No Blues" (which is an interesting subversion we must say), "Savoy Blues", "West End Blues", "Basin Street Blues", "Dallas Blues" and "St. Louis Blues".
  • Stop and Go: The band makes frequent use of them.
    • "King Of The Zulus" is interrupted halfway by Clarence Babcock playing a Jamaican who wants to bring in his own interpretation.
    Armstrong: "What you mean by interruptin' my solo?"
    • "Cornet Chop Suey" 's first trumpet solo is full of stops and starts and syncopations, comparable to Be-Bop.
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial: "Ain't Misbehavin'". Though there is a perfectly good reason why the protagonist isn't doing anything wrong: he is already in prison.

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