"Thaaat's what I'm talking about!"
george.thompson at NYU.EDU
Fri Oct 28 15:01:25 UTC 2011
I have since listened to "Pinetop's Boogie Woogie" again. I have it on some
CD or another, but I heard it on YouTube.
In fact, he says "That's what I'm talking bout!" 3 times, to conclude each
of the 3 episodes to the plot (so to speak) of the record. He emphasizes
the "That's", just as BZ calls for.
Another point that marks this expression as a catchphrase expressing
approbation rather than an ordinary statement of fact is that the statement
is not literally true because Pinetop hadn't actually been "talking" about
The plot of the record is that Pinetop is playing the piano in a club or at
a party, and as he plays he talks to the crowd to encourage them to dance.
Episode one has him saying to the crowd, "When I say git it, I want you to
mess around". A piano break follows, then he says "That's what I'm talking
bout!" In the second episode he tells them to boogie woogie. The third and
last episode is addressed to the girl in the red dress. But he doesn't tell
the crowd how to mess around, or boogie woogie, or her how to shake that
If the girl had stood by Pinetop's piano shaking her head, and he had said,
No, not that thing, stupid, and "That's what I'm talking bout!" when she got
it right, then the case would be altered.
On Thu, Oct 27, 2011 at 8:55 PM, George Thompson <george.thompson at nyu.edu>wrote:
> I believe that in the record "Pinetop's Boogie Woogie", recorded 1928 or
> so, Pinetop Smith asks the girl with the red dress to come stand by the
> piano where Mr. Pinetop is, and to shake that thing. When she does so to
> his satisfaction, he says "That's what I'm talking bout!"
> Have heard this recently, but haven't verified my recollection for this
> On Thu, Oct 27, 2011 at 4:02 PM, Ben Zimmer <bgzimmer at babel.ling.upenn.edu
> > wrote:
>> On Thu, Oct 27, 2011 at 3:26 PM, will salmon wrote:
>> > On Oct 27, 2011, at 2:19 PM, Jonathan Lighter wrote:
>> > >
>> > > There's a current TV commercial in which B.B. King says this.
>> > >
>> > > Contextually it can only mean, "Yes, indeed, I think that's really
>> > >
>> > > AAVE?
>> > I've said this for years, and I am a native speaker of Texican.
>> Seems unremarkable to me, too -- I feel like I've heard it in a
>> hundred movies. Earliest relevant example I can find from a quick
>> search of IMDb's quote repository is from Will Smith in "Men in Black"
>> Zed: Kay, give the kid a weapon.
>> [Kay opens a chest filled with intergalactic guns. He picks up a large
>> Kay: A Series Four De-atomizer.
>> Jay: That's what I'm talkin' about.
>> Eddie Murphy said it in his standup movie "Raw" but not in the
>> intended idiomatic fashion -- though he did use it in relevant way in
>> "Mulan" (1998) and "I Spy" (2002). More recent examples come from Sam
>> Worthington in "Avatar" (2009) and Steve Carrell in "Despicable Me"
>> Ben Zimmer
>> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
> George A. Thompson
> Author of A Documentary History of "The African Theatre", Northwestern
> Univ. Pr., 1998, but nothing much since then.
George A. Thompson
Author of A Documentary History of "The African Theatre", Northwestern Univ.
Pr., 1998, but nothing much since then.
The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
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