Louis Jordan might not have invented rock and roll — his jump blues lacked the crucial input from country music — but he was most certainly one of the first rock stars.
Not only was he a huge crossover artist — check his discography and you’ll see loads of songs that were top ten in both the R&B and pop charts — the songs he chose to perform were often about the consequences of living the hedonistic lifestyle.
Like the rollicking “Ain’t Nobody Here But Us Chickens,” which is all about trying not to get busted when you’re partying in a place that you’re probably not supposed to be. Or, even more to the point, you’ve got visitors you’re not supposed to have.
One night farmer Brown was takin’ the airs
Locked up the barnyard with the greatest of care
Down in the hen house, somethin’ stirred
When he shouted, “Who’s there?”
This is what he heard
“There ain’t nobody here but us chickens
There ain’t nobody here at all
So calm yourself and stop that fuss
There ain’t nobody here but us
We chickens tryin’ to sleep and you butt in
And hobble hobble hobble hobble with your chin”
The absolute joy which Jordan sings “hobble hobble hobble” is infectious, and after awhile there’s a long sax solo that plays off of the rest of the band in such a way that no doubt all of the chickens and “chickens” were dancing, having the time of their lives.