I was running late with this week’s LOUIE, and certainly didn’t plan to to utilize it again as I’ve done in the past to pay tribute to another departed musician… but life often throws you a curveball, as it did this week.
Johnny Winter was an exceptional musician whose work I always enjoyed. In addition to being an award-winning guitar player, he was also the producer of three Grammy Award-winning albums for blues legend Muddy Waters.
The first time I saw Johnny perform was at the Keystone Palo Alto in 1983. I remember being completely mesmerized, and so very grateful I brought a camera with me that night.
The second time I saw Johnny perform was the Catalyst in Santa Cruz sometime in the 1990s. At the time, I was involved with the LOUIE project, so I decided to bring a copy of “A Lone Star Kind of Day” CD, which featured Johnny’s version of LOUIE LOUIE. I was hoping I’d be able to chat with Johnny about that particular recording and maybe get an autograph for my collection. Johnny wasn’t meeting with anyone after the show, but one of the roadies took it back to Johnny for the autograph. Johnny graciously autographed the CD, but I was informed that it was a bootleg released without his permission.
I discovered that this CD was one of many recordings released by Roy Ames, owner of Home Cooking Records/Clarity Music Publishing, who briefly managed Johnny in 1969. Apparently, Johnny left Houston for the express purpose of getting away from Ames, who had a reputation for screwing over various musicians. in 2003, Ames passed away, and the ownership rights of the Ames master recordings remains unclear to this day.
Anyways, Richard Berry LOVED Johnny’s version of LOUIE LOUIE. I would often make some cassette compilations of his famous song, and he told me he used to love blasting that particular version in his car stereo!
This year, when I discovered Johnny Winter would be doing an appearance in Santa Cruz for a meet-and-greet at Streetlight Records, I made plans to be there. I printed up some photographs from the 1983 show, which I hadn’t shared with anyone.
Johnny’s meet-and-greet session turned out to be inside Johnny’s tour van, parked outside the record store. Johnny was very gracious to everyone that lined up to meet him. When I gave him copies of the 1983 photos, he immediately recognized his bass player Scott Spray, who was still playing with the band!
We talked briefly about the LOUIE recording, which was mostly me jabbering away about how much Richard loved that particular recording. Johnny didn’t really have much to say about that recording or the guy who released it without his permission, but he appreciated that Richard loved his version.
Anyways, here’s that version of LOUIE LOUIE that Johnny recorded in 1969. Despite the graphics on this video that someone posted, it was not on the Rhino Records “Best of Louie Louie,” or released on any other recording authorized by Johnny Winter… but it’s definitely a keeper!
Rest in peace, Johnny. You shall be missed…
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P.S. Last night, as I heard unconfirmed news about Johnny’s demise, I shared a Johnny song with friends that I hoped would ring true… It didn’t work out that way, but I still love this track!
Following up on last week’s blog post, which touched on the concept of “LOUIE Mutants” and “LOUIE Bastards,” here’s another song that could fit into either category.
“Questions I Can’t Answer” was recorded and released by Heinz in 1964 on the Columbia label in the UK, and the Tower label in the USA. According to my ears, this feels like a “LOUIE Bastard” – an absolute rip-off of LOUIE LOUIE, borrowing 95% of the LOUIE melody, adding new lyrics, giving full credit to two other songwriters.
Looking at this YouTube clip, I discovered that this song was produced by legendary UK record producer Joe Meek. Heinz, whose full name was Heinz Burt, was a bassist for the Tornados, whose 1962 recording of “Telstar” (produced by Meek) became the first record by a British group to reach No.1 in the US Hot 100. With the help of Meek, Heinz was transformed into a solo artist, touring at various times with Gene Vincent, Jerry Lee Lewis, Billy J. Kramer and the Dakotas and Bobby Rydell.
This particular song was sixth single and his first on Columbia, eventually released on an American ‘Brit Invasion’ LP from 1964.
The story of Joe Meek and Heinz is a fascinating one, and was transformed into a controversial and somewhat-fictional film entitled “Telestar” that was released in 2009.
More details on their lives can be found at their Wikipedia pages.
Heinz (singer) – Wikipedia page
Joe Meek – Wikipedia page
Jini Dellaccio, photographer of many great rock bands, has passed away at the age of 97. If you’ve paid attention to this project, you’ve seen her work. She’s created some unforgettable, iconic images of The Sonics, The Fabulous Wailers and various musicians from the Pacific Northwest.
On the website of the documentary on her life – Her Aim is True, there’s a nice introductory paragraph that provides a quick overview of her life:
In 1964, a middle-aged self-taught photographer, Jini Dellaccio, began hanging out with raucous garage bands like The Sonics in her backyard, creating startling images and innovative album covers. Soon she was grabbing unprecedented portraits of Neil Young and early performances by bands like The Who, Rolling Stones, and Mamas & Papas. Musicians and rock photographers join Jini Dellaccio on an inspiring tour of her ingenuity and style, with a soundtrack and interviews that capture the Pacific Northwest’s vibrant music subculture. At the heart of this film though, is a legacy lost and found in an enduring story about love, creativity and indie spirit, with universal appeal.
The new documentary, produced and directed by Karen Whitehead, will be released in the very near future, but in the meantime, here’s a trailer to provide a little glimpse on the life of this remarkable woman.
Her Aim Is True – Trailer from Karen Whitehead on Vimeo.
Our hearts go out to the family and friends of Jini.
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To learn more about Jini Dellaccio, please visit:
Jini Dellaccio official webpage
Her Aim Is True documentary – official webpage
This week, we’ll point the mighty LOUIE spotlight at what we at LOUIE CENTRAL like to call a “LOUIE Mutant”- a song that borrows heavily from LOUIE LOUIE, but is another song entirely, as opposed to a “LOUIE Bastard,” which would be a completely blatant swipe of LOUIE LOUIE, albeit with a different song title.
Sometimes it does get a bit confusing, trying distinguish whether a song might be a LOUIE Mutant or LOUIE Bastard.
A LOUIE Mutant might be something like “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” which starts off the same chord progression, holds onto to the riff for an extended period, but becomes another song entirely.
A LOUIE Bastard could be something Frank Zappa‘s original version of “Plastic People,” which sounded just like LOUIE LOUIE, but with completely different lyrics. (Songwriter credit was eventually given to Richard Berry in subsequent releases of the song)
Anyways, this week’s LOUIE shall be a LOUIE mutant called “Gabrielle,” a 1979 record released by a band known as the Nips.
The Nips, also known as The Nipple Erectors, were a English punk rock band formed in London in 1976 by female punk artist Shanne Bradley and were notable for the being the very first musical group featuring Shane MacGowan, who later formed the Pogues.
You can learn more about the Nips by checking out the Wikipedia entry on the Nips, or The Nips: Licensed to Cool – unofficial fan site page.
Anyways, here’s The Nips – Gabrielle!
The Nips (featuring The Pogues’ Shane MacGowan)
This week, the LOUIE spotlight is on “Brother Louie,” a song which many people have confused with Richard Berry‘s LOUIE LOUIE. “Brother Louie” became a hit recording with Ian Lloyd & Stories back in 1973, and was brought back into the spotlight in 2010 with the TV show entitled LOUIE, a sitcom loosely based on the life of American comedian Louis C.K.
This particular clip is by the band Hot Chocolate, which was the band that originally created and recorded this song before Ian Lloyd & Stories discovered it.
Today, the mighty LOUIE LOUIE spotlight is pointed at Sophie Villy, a Georgian (not Russian) singer that delivered a soulful rendition of THE SONG, covering the Iggy Pop- American Caesar version, while adding a few extra phrases from the song “At Last.” This performance took place sometime this month on The Great Fisun Show on the Aristocrats.FM music channel.
Sophie has a new album that’s available on iTunes, but it doesn’t look like this song is on it.
Too bad. I LOVE this version!
Luckily, this version is shared via YouTube!
This week, I didn’t get around to posting a LOUIE of the Week. It’s been a rather hectic week. A road trip 400 miles from home and the sudden death of Nina kinda threw me off the usual schedule, but I should have something fresh for next week…
I am saddened, shocked and speechless by the sudden death of Nina Broadwater-Johnson, who was once a daughter-in-law of Richard Berry (author of LOUIE LOUIE). My heart goes to out to Richard D’juan Berry and Devin Berry over the loss of their beloved mother. She was a kind woman that I feel so very privileged to have known. The last time I saw I saw her, she handed me a big book on Doo-Wop music, as she wanted me to have this special reference book.
Please join me in praying for D’Juan and Devin as they deal with this very heavy loss.
This week’s LOUIE is by a band known as White Sodium, and I believe this performance is from a 2010 music festival in Lyon, France.
I don’t know how old these kids are, but they definitely rock!
My friend Wm. Christman, a KFJC Max LOUIE alumni, just sent me this photo from Portland, Oregon. This is the new plaque at the location where the Kingsmen recorded their version of LOUIE LOUIE back in 1963. There was a big ceremony for this plaque in September last year, and my friend Cindy Lindahl, daughter of original studio owner/ engineer Robert Lindahl, did a guest blog post reporting on that very event.
It’s a shame the plaque didn’t acknowledge Paul Revere & the Raiders as well, as they recorded their version a couple days later in the same studio. Revere & Raiders were the first rock band signed to Columbia Records – the world’s largest record label in 1963, and their single of LL was the first record released as part of that alliance.
Anyways, I’m glad this new plaque was installed by the Oregon Music Hall of Fame. Hopefully this one will stay at the location for a very long time. The other plaque – installed in 1993, stolen a few years later….. listed the wrong recording date.
More details on the recording studio, 1993 ceremony and plaque can be found by clicking HERE…