It’s Not Just a Train Song!
Here’s a summer treat – one of my all-time favorite songs of the 1940s. I give you “Choo Choo Ch’Boogie” recorded by Louis Jordan and His Tympany Five in 1946. My high school chorus teacher first introduced it to me, and my show choir performed it. The song is fun to dance to yet surprisingly meaningful all at once! I was happy that it had a natural place in Song of Return.
This jump blues song is no simple train song. Take a listen to the lyrics - “You reach your destination, but alas and alack! You need some compensation to get back in the black. You take a mornin' paper from the top of the stack. And read the situations from the front to the back. But the only job that's open needs a man with a knack. So put it right back in the rack, Jack!”
The lyrics reflect the mood of many returning World War II soldiers. They were unsure how to go back to life as normal in a world that had changed significantly in their absence. How would they now live? Where would they work? How would they deal with the internal changes within themselves? Sadly, not all were able to answer those questions.
“Choo choo, choo choo, ch’boogie! Woo woo, ooh ooh, ch’boogie!” the music continued. Percy was still talking with the man, another drink in his hand.
The song ended, and the next one took its place.
“Sorry,” Percy said, back by her side. “Got some job leads.”
Song of Return, Chapter 21