Is You Is Or Is You Ain’t (Ma’ Baby) – Louis Jordan / Bing Crosby & the Andrews Sisters

September 13, 2022

Today’s song of the day is “Is You Is or Is You Ain’t (Ma’ Baby)” by Louis Jordan and Billy Austin. You’ve heard “Is You Is or Is You Ain’t (Ma’ Baby).” It has been covered an amazing number of times and has been used in movies and cartoons.

Fun Facts

  • Stylistically, the song is a fusion of swing and the blues, like a lot of Jordan’s music. Which made it rather ironic that it hit the number one spot on the Billboard folk and country charts in the U.S. It did also hit the number two spot on the pop charts.
  • Jordan’s pioneering melding of blues and swing came to be known as “jump blues” and is a forerunner of modern R&B.
  • Louis Jordan’s band was called Louis Jordan and His Tympany Five. The group was an American rhythm and blues/ jazz band started by Louis Jordan in 1938. It consisted of 3-5 horns, drums, piano, double bass and a guitar. 
  • The song came out in 1943. In the 79 years since then, it has been covered more than 130 times. That means it’s been covered on average at least once, and usually, twice, every year since the song was released.
  • One of the most popular covers of the song was done by Bing Crosby and The Andrews Sisters. Their version also reached the number two spot on Billboard’s pop charts.
  • Big Bad Voodoo Daddy included the song on their 2018 album Louie Louie Louie.
  • This song is apparently a favorite of Tom Cat from the Tom and Jerry cartoons. He serenades a female cat with it in the cartoon “Solid Serenade” and does so again in the cartoon “Smitten Kitten.”

Lyrics 

I got a gal who’s always late

Anytime we have a date

But I love her, yes I love her

Mmm, he’s gonna walk up to my gate

And see if he can get it straight

Cause he wants her, he’s gonna ask her

Is you is or is you ain’t my baby

The way you’re actin’ lately makes me doubt

You’s is still my baby, baby

Seems my flame in your heart’s done gone out

A woman is a creature that has always been strange

Just when you’re sure of one, you find she’s gone and made a change

Is you is or is you ain’t my baby

Maybe baby’s found somebody new

Or is my baby still my baby true

Is you or is you ain’t my baby, baby

Baby boy, the way you’re actin’ lately makes me doubt

See here, who’s been cuttin’ me

You’s is still my baby, baby

Baby boy, it seems my flame in your heart’s done gone out

Oh, blackout

A woman is a creature that has always been strange

Just when you’re sure of one, you find she’s gone and made a change

And took my change

Is you is or is you ain’t my baby

Maybe baby’s found somebody new

Maybe baby’s found somebody

Is my baby still my baby true

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