It Ain’t Necessarily So [Bad]


Since my last post was about the song Ain’t That A Shame, I thought that I would continue with the same theme as last week and share some more grammatically incorrect “ain’t” songs from this period. In chronological order, the songs are:

Ain’t She Sweet is a song composed by Milton Ager (music) and Jack Yellen (lyrics) and published in 1927. It became popular in the first half of the 20th century, one of the hit songs that typified the Roaring Twenties. Like “Happy Days Are Here Again” (1929), it became a Tin Pan Alley standard. Milton Ager wrote “Ain’t She Sweet” for his daughter Shana, who in her adult life was known as the political commentator Shana Alexander.

Ain’t Nobody Here But Us Chickens is a 1946 song, with music and lyrics by Alex Kramer and Joan Whitney. It was recorded by Louis Jordan and His Tympany Five. The single hit number one on the US Billboard Rhythm and blues Juke Box chart and number six on the pop chart. The song was featured on the soundtrack for L.A. Noire, and was then included on a remixed version of the soundtrack with production by DJ Premier. Gonzo the Great and various Muppet characters performed this song on an episode of The Muppet Show.

In this 1947 R&B classic, Louis Jordan lists women in history who have tormented men. Looking over this pattern, he sees that this is typical behavior, and wants to warn men to watch out. The women mentioned in the song are Eve, Delilah and Marie Antoinette. There’s also a mention of the Roman emperor Nero, who while not a woman, was gay.

Chuck Berry lifted the guitar intro (sometimes played by Jordan’s band on horns) for his song Johnny B. Goode and The Beach Boys Fun, Fun, Fun. Jordan was a big influence on Berry, as well as B.B. King and Ray Charles, all of whom played versions of Just Like A Woman in their live shows. B.B. King would often do a long intro before playing the song, inviting men in the audience to sing along, but warning them that they might not get any “supper” if they do. This was written by Claude Demetrius and Jordan’s wife, Fleecie Moore.

Written by Irving Taylor and made popular by Kay Starr and “Tennessee” Ernie Ford, this 1950 song ranked on both the Country and the Pop Billboard charts. In 1950, when this song hit the charts, Ford [birth name: Ernest Jennings Ford] was known simply as Tennessee Ernie. It was not until 1954 that he recorded under the name of “Tennessee” Ernie Ford. In addition to the Starr-Ford version of the song, Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Jordan made a recording that did not chart. On the flip side of Ain’t Nobody’s Business But My Own was a bigger hit [#2 on the Country charts], I’ll Never Be Free, again with Kay Starr.


Ain’t She Sweet
Harry James and His Orchestra (1945)
Mr. Goon Bones and Mr. Ford (1949)
Pearl Bailey and Hot Lips Page (1949)
Erroll Garner Trio (1951)
Henry “Red” Allen (1952)

Ain’t Nobody Here But Us Chickens
Louis Jordan and His Tympany Five

Ain’t That Just Like A Woman (They’ll Do It Every Time)
Louis Jordan and His Tympany Five

Songs Related to Ain’t That Just Like A Woman
Johnny B. Goode: Chuck Berry
Fun, Fun, Fun: The Beach Boys

Ain’t Nobody’s Business But My Own
Kay Starr and “Tennessee” Ernie [Ford]
Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Jordan


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