Our weekly feature on the songs of Swings Both Ways moves on to look at the albums’ eleventh track this time around. This week it’s the smouldering, schmaltzy showbiz classic ‘Minnie The Moocher’, a song made famous by the Blues Brothers film which featured its original writer and singer, the irrepressible Cab Calloway. As a fellow showman, Robbie greatly admires Calloway’s performance of his favourite song from the film.
“Minnie The Moocher I’ve been a fan of since the Blues Brothers film, with Cab Calloway and his amazingly slinky moves and voice. He’s like an Olympian, so graceful. He’s like a gazelle.”
Cab Calloway was a legendary American jazz singer, band leader and all-round crazy cat whose talent and huge personality epitomised the big band movement of the 1930s and 1940s. Cab’s enduring popularity was guaranteed after his classic cameo appearance in the Blues Brothers film which Robbie loves so much.
This slinky, sultry, schmoozy song sees Robbie in a playful mood, and having a serious amount of fun in the recording studio. Capturing the feel of the original song, as well as the eccentricity of the performance in the Blues Brothers film is something Robbie does brilliantly with his intoxicating take on the showman’s classic.
“I’m an entertainer and you need tricks and ways to interact with your audience. It’s very important to me. What better than Minnie The Moocher? ‘Hidee hidee hidee hi, hodee hodee hodee ho’ It’s already in-built.”
With his own take on this classic track, Robbie welcomes us into the era which holds such a fascination for him and which inspired him to create this album. It is an era with which he has felt a strong connection since a young age and the recordings of the period were where he found sanctuary, inspiration and a love of music.
“Dad left when I was three and he left a bunch of records. On rainy days I’d find my way into the front room and I’d listen to these legends that seemed to live on a different planet than we did. I’d imagine who these people were and I’d listen to the most amazingly crafted songs ever. It’s from a more naive time, and it seems to be a more glamorous time.”
Swings Both Ways is out now; use the links below to buy your copy.
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