Hi De Ho is one more of the quick, cheap movies cranked out by Hollywood featuring black entertainers and designed to fill seats in the movie houses for the segregated black audiences of the south and the unofficially but just as segregated theaters everywhere else. Hi De Ho is exceptional in one regard. It features that great showman and entertainer Cab Calloway in his prime and a year before he decided to disband his orchestra because of changing musical tastes. Calloway had a long career, and had become a star by 1930. He sang, moved (not exactly danced), strutted and jived.
Cab Calloway's eccentric personality and wild onstage antics often overshadowed his musical contributions, when in fact, as this superb Columbia sampler demonstrates, the two went hand in hand. On all-time classic tracks like "The Jumpin' Jive," "Reefer Man," and the inexhaustible "Minnie the Moocher," the Hi-Di-Ho man's exuberance and vitality as a performer is grounded by his tight bandleading and the outstanding playing of his orchestra (which, over the years, included such greats as Dizzy Gillespie, Eddie Barefield and Chu Berry).
A bombastic party courtesy of Legacy Records. The festivities begin with an unedited "Wake Up Everybody" by Harold Melvin & the Bluenotes, flows into Isley, Jasper, Isley's "Caravan of Love," and then switches to adult theme ballads, the stature of "Me & Mrs. Jones," "Kiss and Say Goodbye," and Bill Withers' "Ain't No Sunshine." Brenda & the Tabulations' breezy but despairing "One Girl Too Late" is delightful. The Intruders' "Cowboy to Girls" and Major Lance's calypso-ish "Hey Little Girl" are irresistible. Includes Labelle's potent "Lady Marmalade" and MFSB's contagious, six-plus minute "Love Is the Message."