Tox Tunes #3 – Reefer Man (Cab Calloway)

January 17, 2010, 8:10 pm

This clip is, I think, from the 1933 W.C. Fields film International House.  Cab Calloway led one of the most popular big bands of the 1930s and 40s. At various times his group included such jazz greats as Dizzy Gillespie, Doc Cheatham,  Ben Webster,  and Chu Berry. At one point Calloway fired Dizzy from his band after a nasty altercation involving a spitball and a small knife.

The lyrics of “Reefer Man” — which may not be completely clear on this clip — are very funny: “If he trades you dimes for nickels/And calls watermelons pickles/Then you know you’re talking to that reefer man”.

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