Big Bad Voodoo Daddy and Cab Calloway’s Harlem Slang

Swing? Dance? What?

Big Bad Voodo Daddy!

That’s right, friends. Jazz Pensacola is bringing this awesome high-energy swing band to you for Foo Foo Festival 2019 at 7 p.m. Monday, Nov. 4, at Vinyl Music Hall, 2 Palafox Place.

All tickets are $25. This is our fundraiser for the 2020 Pensacola JazzFest.

That means there will be swing band lingo for sure! So, here are some words from A to C from A Hepster’s Dictionary: The New Cab Calloway’s Cat-ologue Revised 1939 Edition for those needing a refresher. You can find more definitions and info at http://www.just-the-swing.com/articles/hepsters-dictionary-of-jive or http://www.cabcalloway.com.

A

ain’t coming on that tab (v)
won’t accept the proposition. Usually abbr. to “I ain’t coming.”

apple (n)
the big town, the main stem, Harlem.

armstrongs (n)
musical notes in the upper register, high trumpet notes.

B

back (adv)
the ultra or peak. Ex. “She sang that song back”, “He danced back.”

barbecue (n)
the girl friend, a beauty.

barrelhouse (adj)
free and easy.

battle (n)
a very homely girl, a crone.

beat
(1) (adj) tired, exhausted. Ex. “You look beat” or “I feel beat”. (2) lacking anything. Ex. “I am beat for my cash”, “I am beat to my socks” (lacking everything).

beat it out (v)
play it hot, emphasize the rhythm.

beatup (n)
small change. Ex. “Can you lend me a little beatup?”

beat up the chops (or the gums) (v)
to talk, converse, be loquacious.

beef (v)
to say, to state. Ex. “He beefed to me that, etc.”

bible (n)
the gospel truth. Ex. “It’s the bible!”

black (n)
night.

black and tan (n)
dark and light colored folks. Not colored and white folks as erroneously assumed.

blues and grays (n)
colored and white folks.

blip (n)
something very good. Ex. “That’s a blip”, “She’s a blip”.

blow the top (v)
to be overcome with emotion (delight). Ex. “You’ll blow your top when you hear this one”.

boogie-woogie
(1) harmony with accented bass. (2) a new dance introduced at the Cotton Club in 1938.

break it up (v)
to win applause, to stop the show.

bree (n)
girl.

bright (n)
day.

bring down
(1) (n) something depressing. Ex. “That’s a bring down”. (2) (v) Ex. “That brings me down”.

buddy ghee (n)
fellow.

bush (n)
weed, reefers, marijuana.

bust your conk (v)
apply yourself diligently, break your neck.

C

canary (n)
girl vocalist.

cat (n)
musician in swing band.

chick (n)
girl.

clambake (n)
ad lib session, every man for himself, a jam session not in the groove.

collar (v)
to get, to obtain, to comprehend. Ex. “I gotta collar me some food”, “Do you collar this jive?”

come again
try it over, do better than you are doing, I don’t understand you.

comes on like gang busters (or like test pilot) (v)
playing, singing, or dancing in a terrific manner, par-excellence in any department. Sometimes abbr. to “That singer really comes on!”

cooling (v)
laying off between engagements, not working.

cop (v)
to get, to obtain (see collar and knock).

corny (adj)
old fashioned, stale.

crept out like the shadow (v)
“comes on”, but in smooth, suave, sophisticated manner.

cubby (n)
room, flat, home.

cups (n)
sleep. Ex. “I gotta catch some cups”.

cut (v)
to outclass, be superior to. Ex. “That trumpet player cuts them all!”

cut out (v)
to leave, to depart. Ex. “It’s time to cut out”, “I cut out from the joint in the early bright”.

cut rate (n)
a low, cheap person. Ex. “Don’t play me cut rate, Jack!”