I’ve always loved this song. My parents played a lot of records. My Dad used to buy weird cut-outs, mostly by names he knew already, such as Chet Atkins, Doc Severinson, people of the previous era trying to make records in the swingin sixties. A lot of potential for uncool there. One record they played a lot was a Capitol Records something or other anniversary compilation of big hits. Cow Cow Boogie was the opener, being the fledgling label’s first gold record. When I was in High School I snickered every time Ella sang the lyric with “loco weed” in it (Still do, actually). Check out the ultra cool jive rap with Don Raye on The House Of Blue Lights. She actually calls him “Homey”.
Ella Mae Morse (September 12, 1924 – October 16, 1999), was an American popular singer. One of the most talented and overlooked vocalists of the 1940s, Morse blended jazz, country, pop, and R&B; at times she came remarkably close to what would be known as rock and roll.
Morse was born in Mansfield, Texas. She was hired by Jimmy Dorsey when she was 14 years old. Dorsey believed she was 19, and when he was informed by the school board that he was now responsible for her care, he fired her. In 1942, at the age of 17, she joined Freddie Slack’s band, with whom in the same year she recorded Cow Cow Boogie, Capitol Records’ first gold single. “Mr. Five by Five” was also recorded by Morse with Slack and they had a hit recording with the song in 1942 (Capitol 115). She also originated the wartime hit “Milkman, Keep Those Bottles Quiet,” which was later popularized by Nancy Walker in the film, Broadway Rhythm.