Cab Calloway, Minnie the Moocher's alter ego ("". . . a low-down hoochy coocher. . . had a heart as big as a whale"") tells his life story--straight on, honest and infectious. Cab can't style a book with the same finesse he can a song; in fact it comes out a bit rough-hewn. But then, he's plain people from Baltimore and still the same earthy hustler he was back in those old street-fighting days. He got his first band, The Alabamians, and his first wife, Wenoah, at the age of 21. He became very big in the fast, boozy, high-strutting Harlem days when jazz was hot at Small's Paradise and the Savoy Ballroom and the Cotton Club. Over the years he's traded licks and riffs with almost all the great jazzmen--from Satchmo and the Duke to Chick Webb and Dizzy--while Irving Berlin and Gershwin, Will Rogers and Bing Crosby sat in the audience. And always, he enjoyed himself. In the Thirties and Forties Cab had ""fifty suits and fifty pairs of shoes and fifty pairs of pearl gray gloves"" and beautiful women and fast horses and good liquor. He's 69 now and those hell-raising days look better than ever. Ebullient and irrepressible--that's Hi-de-hi-de-hi-de-ho Cab.