Betty Boop Minnie the Moocher

A moocher is defined as a person who borrows something, knowing that they have no intention of returning or repaying it. I’m sure you know at least one. For lovers of jazz, we’re familiar with at least two of them: Minnie the Moocher and Moose the Moocher. One is a fictious characters who you could love, the the other was a real person who you would love to hate.

Minnie the Moocher is the name of a song by the Hi-dee-ho man, Cab Calloway. According to the lyrics in his song ‘Minnie The Moocher’, she was a red-hot-hoochie coocher with a heart as big as a whale. Her boyfriend’s name was Smokey who had a problem with cocaine (that’s why he was a cokey). She had a dream about the King of Sweden, and he gave her the things that she was a needin’ like a home and a fancy car. Though it was a dream, her heart was in the right place.

That’s in marked contrast with Mooch the Moocher. Mooch was a real person who owned a newstands on Central Avenue in Los Angeles. One of his side professions was that he was a part-time coke dealer. One of his customers was Charlie Parker. And according to lore, while Parker was in need of a fix, Mooch had the horn player sign a contract which gave him 50% rights to future record sales. The contract was valid, though it was later revoked and the moocher was sent to prison on other charges. I’m sure that author J.A. Rollins will manage to get both moochers into his ii-V-I: A JassOdyssey series. We’ll just have to see how he introduces them. In the mean time, let’s hear Cab say more about Minnie the Moocher.


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