My dad had an incredible collection of jazz 78s. My favourite was the disc that held Cab Calloway’s ‘Minnie the Moocher’ and ‘Kickin’ the Gong Around’ and I sang both with gusto, at the top of my little lungs. I probably started singing this song while I still learning to talk.
Of course I didn’t know that nickels and dimes were eighths and quarters of pot (Minnie the Moocher lyrics), what cokies were, or that kickin the gong around was slang for opium smoking. I know my mom didn’t know any of that. But I liked the scat parts the best.
Cab’s daughter, Chris, who died after a very long battle with breast cancer last year, sings this version of ‘Kickin the Gong Around.’