Compiled to accompany Jon Savage's book tracing the roots of the notion of the teenager from the late 19th century to the Second World War, Teenage doubles as a fine anthology of early 20th-century swing and jazz
The with gilt-edged classics like Duke Ellington's "Cotton Club Stomp", Chick Webb's "Stomping at the Savoy", Cab Calloway's jive-talk spiel "Zaz Zuh Zaz" and Benny Goodman's "House Hop" are bulked out by welcome novelties such as Slim & Slam's "Flatfoot Floogie" and Baron Lee's light-hearted "Reefer Man".
Throughout, the focus is on dancing, from perky ragtime through hot-jazz steppers to the wartime jump-blues of Louis Jordan's "GI Jive" and T-Bone Walker's "Bobby Sox Baby", a trenchant criticism of crooner-mania. Since when, of course, the changes in youthful behaviour have been mostly questions of style rather than substance. Walter Davis's "Sweet Sixteen" and Judy Garland's "In-Between" also address the predicament of the teenager in that era. The latter's collaboration with her Wizard of Oz co-stars on "The Jitterbug" (cut from the film) is an early example of Hollywood trying to cash in on a kids' craze.
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