Rhum Boogie Club, Harlem, 1943 (video)

rhumboogieA Gordon Parks photo from 1943 shows an establishment called Rhum Boogie somewhere in Central Harlem but not much has been written about this actual establishment.

IMG_3726From the Deco storefront, one might deduct that the business was right by the Lenox Lounge but the architectural details do not quite match up. Looking back at some archival photos, Harlem+Bespoke “figured out that this was the south side building at The Lafayette Theatre and the establishment would have been just north of Connie’s Inn.” They added “The building is actually intact today but a supermarket takes up the space.”

Here’s the song Rhumboogie sang by the Andrew Sisters in the 1940’s. The tune was also recorded by Bunny Berigan, Will Bradley, Connie Haines, Woody Herman;,Gene Krupa, Bob Zurke:

Rhumboogie Lyrics with the Gene Krupa band

All Harlem’s got a brand new rhythm
And it’s burning up the dance halls
Because it’s so hot.
They took a little rhumba rhythm,
And they added boogie-woogie,
And-a look what they’ve got:

Rhumboogie.
Rhumboogie-woogie.
It’s Harlem’s new creation
With a Cuban syncopation –
It’s a killer.

Lyrics unclear from 00:42 to 00:58

Rhumboogie.
Rhumboogie-woogie.
A native is a monkey
Both barbaric and a donkey -
It’s a killer.
Just plant your toes
And both feet in Honeyside -
Lets both hit the Jodeside.

Just through your body way back rhyme
Sing a little bit of the -

Rhumboogie.
Rhumboogie-woogie.
The native rhythm haunts you,
It’s barbaric and it taunts you –
It’s a killer.

Just plant you toes and both feet on each side,
Let both your hips and shoulders glide,
Then throw your body a-way back and ride.
Sing a little of
The rhumba
The boogie
The woogie
Then put them
Both all together
You have rhumboogie…

Then all together sing rhumboogie.
Rhumboogie-woogie.
Rhumboogie.
In Harlem or Havana
In Poughkeepsie or Savannah
It’s a killer.
It’s a killer this rhumboogie.

Rhumboogie.
Rhumboogie.
Rhumboogie-woogie-woogie-woogie-woogie.
Do-do-do-do-u-do-do-do-u-do-do-do-u.
There’s nothing like rhumboogie!

Here’s the video from the movie:

The song Rhumboggie was the screen debut of the The Andrew Sisters in the movie “Argentine Nights” 1940.

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