The Ace of Cups – long awaited 1st album (non-LOUIE of the Week)

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For the past 7 or so years, the LOUIE production team has also been quietly working on another project.

LOUIE co-producer Jesse Block has been directing a documentary on the band known as The Ace of Cups.

The Ace of Cups is a band that was formed in San Francisco during the Summer of Love in 1967. They were one of the first all-female rock bands, and their story is pretty incredible.

They played a lot of interesting shows, and Jimi Hendrix considered them of his favorite bands.

The band broke up after five years, and up until our friend Alec Palao assembled a compilation of previously unreleased recordings for a CD on Ace Records in 2003, there were never any commercial recordings of the band.

In 2011, the Ace of Cups reunited, and began the process of recording their very first album.

Jesse has been working diligently on documenting their journey, with fellow LOUIE producer Eric Predoehl joining him for some of the adventures..

The new album has been released this week, and available directly from High Moon Records or your favorite friendly neighborhood record store.

Tonight, if you’re in San Francisco, you’ll be able to see them for FREE at Amoeba Music.

In the meantime, here’s a little video snippet to wet your proverbial whistle, so to speak…

ACE of CUPS – "FEEL GOOD" w/ Prologue from Jesse Block on Vimeo.

REFERENCE LINKS:

Ace of Cups official webpage
High Moon Records
Wikipedia – Ace of Cups
San Francisco Chronicle – Ace of Cups, SF all-female psychedelic rock band overlooked in patriarchal ’60s, rises again
Jewish News of Northern California- Reuniting Ace of Cups: S.F.’s Summer of Love girl band

RIP: The Last of Richard Berry’s Pharaohs

Richard Berry & the Pharaohs 1956: Richard Berry, Noel Collins, Godoy Colbert, Joe Morgan

Sometimes these blog posts take a bit longer than usual to assemble. This was one of those posts.

It appears that all of the members of Richard Berry‘s Pharaohs have passed away.

To begin, let’s start off with a recap of the history of Richard Berry with the Pharaoahs..

The song LOUIE LOUIE was originally written by Richard Berry when he was singing with Rick Rillera’s Rhythm Rockers sometime in 1955. Richard was a special guest with the Rhythm Rockers when they were booked to play a season of Sunday night shows at the Harmony Park Ballroom in Anaheim, California, which happened to be a few miles from the yet-to-be opened Disneyland amusement park. The band played a variety of musical styles, using Richard to sing many of the rhythm and blues songs. Among the other songs regularly performed by the band was a Cuban calypso number by Rene Touzet that featured a short, but very catchy little musical riff. Richard decided this little hook could be used as the primary melody of a standalone song he would create that would become LOUIE LOUIE.

At the time of creating this song, Richard was contractually bound as a recording artist signed to Modern Records, a label owned by the Bihari Brothers. Richard decided to save this song for his next recording deal at Flip Records, where he would have more freedom to create the music he wanted to release. While Richard Berry initially performed the song with the Rhythm Rockers, he decided he wanted to record his new music with some friends from Jefferson High School who already started a vocal group known as The Pharaohs. The Pharaohs featured two brothers – Godoy Colbert and Robert Harris, accompanied by Noel Collins. Godoy sang first tenor, Robert second tenor, and Noel sang baritone.

The first record that would be released by Richard Berry & the Pharaohs in 1956 featured “Take The Key (And Open Up My Heart) on the A-side and “No Kissin’ And A Huggin'” on the B-side. Their first recording session was recorded discreetly in 1955 while Richard was still under contract with Modern Records. Accompanying Richard and the Pharaohs, they were joined by a backing band that consisted of Plas Johnson on tenor sax, Jewel Grant on baritone sax, Ernie Freeman on piano, Irving Ashby on guitar, Red Callender on bass, and Ray Martinez on drums. Some of the other songs recorded at this session by Bunny Robyn at Master Recorders included “Take The Key,” and “You Are My Sunshine.”

When Richard’s contract with Modern finally expired in 1956, Richard and the Pharaohs quickly returned to the recording studio to record “LOUIE LOUIE,” “Rock Rock Rock,” “You Look So Good” and “Sweet Sugar You” between February and April 1956 at Hollywood Recorders. Stanley Henderson replaced Robert Harris, who had some other commitments at the time. The backup band for these sessions were mostly the same players, adding John Anderson on trumpet, and Earl Palmer would sometimes switch drum duties with Ray Martinez. Gloria Jones of Richard Berry’s Dreamers (and future Blossoms) provided some additional harmony vocals for LOUIE LOUIE, which was released in April 1957.

As fate would have it, the alliance with Flip Records only lasted a few years. While the original version of LOUIE LOUIE did achieve a certain level of success by selling 130,000 copies, it wasn’t enough to chart on a national level. As Flip Records proprietor Max Feirtag tried to talk Richard into writing “another LOUIE LOUIE,” which led to the creation of “Have Love, Have Travel,” there were some deep frustrations which ultimately led to their eventual split in 1959.

Richard Berry & the Pharaohs did continue to make more music, but not under that moniker. Richard linked up with producers Gary S. Paxton and Kim Fowley, who just had a big hit with “Alley Oop” by Gary’s studio band, The Hollywood Argyles. Godoy Colbert lived across the street from Kim Fowley, and wound up singing on a handful of singles by the Hollywood Argyles. Around that time, Eugene Maye, brother of Richard’s old friend Arthur Lee Maye (legendary baseball player and Doo-Wop singer), sang with Richard and the Pharaohs, recording a handful of singles for Paxton & Fowley, albeit marketed as solo Richard Berry music.

As Richard continued to explore his options as a solo artist, he regularly performed in the Los Angeles area, releasing a handful of records with a band he called the Soul Searchers.

Fast forward to February 1996.

Richard Berry & the Pharaohs 1996: Eugene Maye, Richard Berry, Robert Harris and Godoy Colbert

I’d been working on this LOUIE documentary for over 10 years, when Richard Berry invited me to a reunion of two of his prominent musical groups – Richard Berry and the Pharaohs, as well as Richard Berry and the Dreamers. It’s all part of a big show organized by the Doo Wop Society of Southern California in Long Beach California that also features Tony Allen, The Satellites/ Hollywood Flames, Leon Peels, Wally Roker of The Heartbeats. I made plans to be there. Together with my co-producer Jesse Block, we did the roadtrip for this once-in a lifetime opportunity, bringing our Betacam camera rig to capture this special moment.

The whole thing was absolutely magical. I met the Pharaohs, which consists of Godoy, Robert and Eugene. I was also introduced to the Dreamers, which included Gloria Jones, Annette Williams and Nannette Williams. We met a lot of wonderful people, caught some great musical performances and preserved some great stories for posterity.

(READ MORE about Gloria and The Dreamers by clicking here.)

The Dreamers – Annette Williams, Gloria Jones and Nannette Williams

After the show, a bunch of us went out for a late night dinner at a local Denny’s. We all had a great time with lots of laughs.

Ten months later, after a handful of other big life changes, I wound up making big plans to move to Los Angeles. An old friend offered me a job doing video production for a CD-ROM project. I figured this would be a great opportunity to hopefully connect with some industry folks to get some funding, and maybe even help Richard organize his stuff, including cataloging some of the live tape masters that were buried in his garage.

A few weeks before I was scheduled to move to Los Angeles, Richard Berry died of a heart attack on January 23, 1997 at the age of 61 years old.

The funeral for Richard was an extremely sad occasion. The Pharaohs were there, including Noel Collins, who wasn’t part of the last reunion, but he was on hand to say goodbye to his old friend.

1997 was a challenging year. Whatever good things that happened that year seemed to be overshadowed by massive layers of frustration. By the year’s end, I decided Los Angeles was not where I wanted to be at that point in time.

Godoy Colbert


Godoy Colbert

After Richard and the Pharaohs eventually branched off in different directions, The Pharaohs split off as a separate unit, shortened to “The Pharaos,” recording for Donna / Del-Fi Records.

Godoy went on to perform with such musical acts as The Exits, the Afro Blues, the Visitors, the Kuf-Linx, The Cyclones, and Free Movement who had a Top Five Pop and Top 20 R&B Billboard Music Chart hit with the 1971 single, “I’ve Found Someone Of My Own.”

Godoy Colbert was the first of the Pharaohs to leave the land of the living. Five years after the passing of Richard Berry, Colbert died at the age of 62 years old, on July 17, 2002 in Sacramento, California. Apparently, he had several forms of cancer including liver, colon, and prostate.

Eugene Maye

Eugene Maye

Eugene Maye was not only a member of the Pharaohs, but also one of the greatest advocates for the musical heritage of Jefferson High School, as well as the legacy of his brother Arthur Lee Maye. Eugene maintained a longtime friendship with his old vocal music teacher – Larry Larsen, whose tenure was also pivotal for Richard Berry’s musical education, as well as providing the outlet where Richard would meet Dorothy Adams, the woman who would become his wife in 1957.

Eugene and I shared a lot of conversations via telephone and emails over the years, and his passing a few years ago, which I only discovered about a few months ago, saddened me deeply. Oddly enough, it seems I’m still receiving spam emails from disreputable organizations pretending to be “Eugene Maye.”

Eugene left us on February 10, 2015.

Robert Harris

Robert Harris

It was just a few years ago when Robert got ahold of me to let me to know that he had restarted the Pharaohs, creating some brand new recordings with an new group of singers with “old school flavor.”

Robert shared this introduction for the project at his CD Baby page for the band:

The Pharoahs were formed in 1953 under the name The Goldentones. After seeing the movie “The Ten Commandments” in 1955, I changed the name to “The Pharoahs”. Our first music contract and single release with Richard Berry came in 1955. We then became known as Richard Berry and the Pharoahs. “Louie Louie”, “Have Love Will Travel” were released on the west coast and has since become the #1 party record in the world and peaking at #9 on the all time rock and roll list. Many groups have covered these famous hits and have re-recorded them.
Currently, The Pharoahs have reunited to create a blend of old school with todays sound. From ballads to uplifting tracks that are written to inspire the young and experienced ear, the Pharoahs have indeed withstood the sands of time.

Here’s a YouTube sample of Robert’s Pharoahs…


https://youtu.be/fC2p6g9D_J0

Robert passed away on the day after Christmas last year – December 26, 2017.

Noel Collins

Noel Collins

Noel Collins was a founding member of the Pharaohs, who I met briefly at Richard’s funeral, but I unfortunately never got around to interviewing. I believe he died a few years ago, but I haven’t been able to get any specific details about his passing.

Noel was the the guy sitting in the car with Richard Berry in the parade photo that was used for the cover on Ace Records “Have Louie Will Travel” CD.

Stanley Henderson and Joe Morgan

Stanley Henderson and Joe Morgan are two other Pharaohs I haven’t been able to track down, so I’m guessing they’re no longer with us.

From what I’ve been able to determine, it appears that we’ve lost all of the Pharaohs.

If anyone has any thoughts or memories they’d like to share of any of the Pharaohs, please feel free to post some words in the comments section. We’d love to hear from you… especially anything regarding the whereabouts of Noel Collins, Stanley Henderson and Joe Morgan, which remains a mystery.

In the meantime, here’s a clip that I created from the last public appearance of Richard Berry and the Pharaohs on February 24, 1996 at Long Beach, California.

Big thanks to Jim Dawson for his encyclopedic liner notes on the Richard Berry compilation album released by Earth Angel in 1986.

REFERENCE LINKS:

The Doo Wop Society of Southern California (RIP)

Godoy Colbert memorial page

Godoy Colbert – Popdose.com – Soul Serenade: The Free Movement

Godoy Colbert – Soulwalking.co.uk- The Free Movement

Godoy Colbert – Rockabilly.nl – The Hollywood Argyles

Robert Harris – (New) Pharoahs CD Baby webpage

The Dreamers & The Blossoms – the Doo Wop Society of S.C. page
http://www.electricearl.com/dws/dreamers.html

Wikipedia – The Blossoms/ The Dreamers
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Blossoms

The Blossoms/ The Dreamers- Soulful Kinda Music
http://www.soulfulkindamusic.net/blossoms.htm

Wikipedia – 20 Feet from Stardom

LOUIE LOUIE roadtrip (w/ mention of Gloria’s birthday party)

The Return of Sherlock Holmes w/ mysterious LOUIE – LOUIE of the Week

The Return of Sherlock Holmes

My friend Clay Stabler has been great work documenting the various LOUIE LOUIEs, and shared this update at the LOUIE LOUIE Party group page:

I’m working on revising the Wikipedia section on LL movie versions using Theo’s excellent site, IMDb, and the SoundtrackCollector.com site. My goal is to list specific versions for each movie. So far I’m in pretty good shape with positive identifications for almost all.

I got lucky with “Survival Game” because the trailer on Youtube (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3LLZzbSzk4o) has the relevant section. You can hear the Kingsmen version playing on the car radio at about the 20 second mark.

I need some help with the obscure 1987 made-for-TV film “The Return of Sherlock Holmes.” The IMDb site at https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0093850/soundtrack lists a credit to Richard Berry but not the performer. Theo has it as “uncredited” on his site.

Luckily there is a copy posted to Youtube.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jsOy5X6mDl0

Go to 1:03:14 to experience this LOUIE LOUIE.

The Return of Sherlock Holmes

While there’s a mystery about which band performed this version, I found a couple of noteworthy mentions in the credits…

Ray Jewers was credited as “Singer” and Robert Drasnin was the music supervisor.

According to IMDB, Ray Jewers died in 1993 and Robert Drasnin died in 2015.

I haven’t watched the whole movie, but I’m guessing Ray Jewers was the guy who sang this version of LOUIE LOUIE with this mysterious unnamed band.

If anyone has any inside information on this version, please let us know!

_________________

REFERENCE LINKS:

Theo’s (amazing) LOUIE LOUIE Pages
The LOUIE LOUIE Party – a Facebook group
Wikipedia – LOUIE LOUIE page (with section focused on movie usage)
IMDB – The Return of Sherlock Holmes soundtrack page
IMDB – Ray Jewers
IMDB – Robert Dresnin
IMDB – Richard Berry (the musician)
SoundtrackCollector.com

UPDATE FROM CLAY:

There are quite a few Sherlock Holmes sites out there with good info on this and other movies. Just posted links to full character names and screen caps to the Louie Party Facebook page. Looks like Ray Jewers’ role was Ray Singer. LL singer remains unknown so far!|

The Ray Singer character first appears at 44:35. Something about a former FBI agent who resigned from a highjacking case. He shows up again at 1:05:38 where Holmes calls him Agent Singer. Other observations: Good shot of the band at 1:03:15. The bass player is left handed. Can anyone identify the lead guitarist’s guitar type? Pick up line at the bar: “Don’t you just love the classic sounds here?”

RIP: Paul Allen, philanthropist, tech pioneer, music supporter

On Monday, October 17th, we lost Paul Allen, co-founder of Microsoft, owner of Vulcan Inc., the Seattle Seahawks, the Portland Trailblazers, Stratolaunch Systems and founder of Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence, as well as many other ventures.

I never met the man, but I love the fact that he was passionate about music, and supported some wonderful community music programs.

KEXP Radio, a listener-powered radio station, shared these words on Paul Allen:

In 2001, Paul Allen made a transformative $3.6M gift to then-KCMU, which resulted in the station becoming independent of the University of Washington, and changing call-letters to KEXP. This venture philanthropy also allowed the station to grow and become financially self-sufficient within three years, made possible investments in technology, in particular, technology that allowed KEXP to become an early leader in internet radio, as well as investments in new partnerships with the University of Washington’s School of Music and the Experience Music Project, now known as MoPop. Mr. Allen again supported KEXP with a $500,000 gift in 2016, which helped the organization complete a $15.7M fundraising campaign to build a new facility at Seattle Center.

“Today, we say goodbye to Paul Allen with great sadness,” said KEXP Executive Director Tom Mara. “He will be missed and mourned by a city that owes him an amazing debt of gratitude. His massive support of KEXP 17 years ago came at a crucial time – it allowed KEXP to become the independent, forward-looking, mission-focused organization it is today. Paul was a lover of music; he had a deep understanding of its power and its ability to not only enrich lives, but to make the world a better place. He translated that passion for the power of music into countless projects that will live on for years and years. Our condolences go out to Paul’s family and friends in this difficult time.

I’m especially fond of how he created the Experience Music Project, a rather unique museum in Seattle designed to celebrate rock ‘n’ roll music, would include a special acknowledgement on the music of the Pacific Northwest, especially Jimi Hendrix.

I was fortunate to not only attend the 2000 opening of this museum, but I was also contacted by the EMP team to secure a photo of Richard Berry that would be used as part of the “Northwest Passage” exhibit that acknowledged the Northwest connection to the song “LOUIE LOUIE,” which also paid tribute to the Fabulous Wailers, Little Bill Engelhart, the Kingsmen and Paul Revere & the Raiders.

There was also an interactive exhibit that allowed attendees an opportunity to play THE SONG in the museum.

E.P. at the Northwest Passage exhibit at E.M.P. opening in 2000

It gave me a wonderful sense of pride to see Richard Berry and his most famous musical creation acknowledged within this beautiful museum.

It may have been the FIRST museum to acknowledge the legacy of LOUIE LOUIE…

As fate would have it, the Experience Music Project would later transform into the Museum of Pop Culture, and I’ve been told the “Northwest Passage” exhibit is no longer part of the permanent display.

Perhaps in the near future, we’ll see a revival of that exhibit…

Rest in peace, Paul Allen.

______________

Reference Links:

The official Paul Allen webpage
KEXP Radio – R.I.P. Paul Allen
Spain News – The amazing music museum of Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen
Wikipedia – Museum of Pop Culture
Seattle Times – Goodbye, EMP: Seattle landmark changes name (again) to Museum of Pop Culture

Celebrating M. Dung and Richard Berry – LOUIE of the Week

Today is a special celebration for two friends that are deeply missed. We lost Richard Berry in 1989, and Mike Slavko, aka “M. Dung” in 2017.

Today, Mike Slavko is getting inducted to the Bay Area Radio Hall of Fame, The Class of 2018.

As Mike has often said, the experience of singing LOUIE LOUIE with Richard Berry at the LOUIE LOUIE parade in San Francisco was one of the greatest days of his life.

It actually happened twice. Once in 1988 and again in 1989.

Unfortunately, folks have only seen the 1988 performance.

Today, we take care of this, as we share a newly-assembled clip from 1989 to rectify this situation.

As a wise man named Rockin’ Robin once said, “Let’s give it to ’em, right now!”


https://youtu.be/lPOcOJNhsM4

If you would like to attend this award ceremony, get yourself over to the Basque Cultural Center in South San Francisco today, starting at 11:30 am. Details at this link.

.. and if you need a refresher on the 1988 parade, here’s a couple of quick reminders:


https://youtu.be/tYXOy3MIxDE


https://youtu.be/adez4kZrPMw

Jedi Jedi – LOUIE Star Wars parody of the Week

It had to happen.

The “Star Wars” themed LOUIE LOUIE parody!

The band is called Boyish Good Looks, and here’s the video:

https://youtu.be/Y1kFDelQIdE

Want more? Here’s more..

Support Royish Good Looks on PATREON: https://www.patreon.com/RoyishGoodLooks

My band, Boyish Good Looks:
http://tinyurl.com/BoyishGoodLooks
My Recording Studio:
http://www.RoyThompsonAudio.com
My Apple Inc. Auto-Tune Remixes, iTuned Steve Jobs:
http://tinyurl.com/iTunedSteveJobs

DOWNLOAD on iTunes ►► https://itun.es/i6723Jx
DOWNLOAD on Google Play ►► http://goo.gl/86amOC
DOWNLOAD on Amazon►► http://goo.gl/pwO6TF

DOWNLOAD all my Star Wars Songs ►► http://goo.gl/ogiAXx
STREAM all my Star Wars Songs on Spotify ►► http://goo.gl/Samn8A

T – SHIRTS & MERCH ►► http://goo.gl/VZoP69

Tom Dyer’s New Pagan Gods – LOUIE of the Week

It’s Friday… feeling a bit swamped by other events and been a bit too busy to write the update I wanted to write…

So… I figured it’s time to share a LOUIE of the Week… or every other other week.. or something like that …

To quote another, let’s give it to ’em… right now..

Here’s a very special LOUIE shared online by Green Monkey Records of Olympia, Washington.

Ladies, and gentlemen, I present to you…Tom Dyer’s New Pagan Gods!

Here’s some quick reviews shared on the Green Monkey Records site:

“(Tom) Dyer, a 35-year local rock stalwart and head cheese at local indie label Green Monkey Records, dips into the well of first-wave Northwest rock and roll. The result is the joyous audio equivalent of the best sloppy-drunk sweaty house party you ever crashed. Like any good band rocking a house party, Dyer and his bandmates play with grittily fun-loving chemistry, and that’s what makes this ragged little record sing.” Tony Kay – The Sun Break

“Louie Louie, in Dyer’s hands takes not only a huge left turn but an unplanned detour down an alley, across the freeway, and off into the hinterlands, so unique is the arrangement … he set out to capture the DIY spirit and the maverick vibe that the songs’ creators represented. Methinks he succeeded.” Fred Mills – BLURT

You can hear and order Tom’s version of LOUIE LOUIE by clicking here.

Purchase of the album includes unlimited streaming of History of Northwest Rock Vol. 1 (1959-1968) via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.

https://youtu.be/2GMuYK-5yM0

LINKS:

https://greenmonkeyrecords.bandcamp.com/track/louie-louie

https://soundcloud.com/greenmonkeyrecords/albums

https://soundcloud.com/greenmonkeyrecords

RIP: Big Jay McNeely – rhythm & blues /rock n’ roll saxophone legend!

Our friend Jim Dawson shared some sad news on Sunday…

“My longtime friend Big Jay McNeely passed away at 6:15 this morning in Riverside, CA. He made his first record in 1948 and played his last gig last June. Our hearts go out to his family.”

Big Jay has been a friend, supporter and participant in the LOUIE documentary project, and we’re all very saddened by his passing.

Jonny Whiteside provided a proper perspective of Big Jay’s legacy in the L.A. Weekly:

The death of saxophonist Big Jay McNeely, felled by cancer at age 91 on Sunday, Sept. 16, shuts the door on Los Angeles’ world-changing postwar R&B explosion. McNeely was the sole surviving artist from that profoundly revolutionary era, and he epitomized it with an elegantly aggressive musicality — known as honking — which laid the foundation for rock & roll and kicked off a national craze via a horde of sound-alike responses to his electrifying 1948 debut “Deacon’s Hop.”

An unrivaled showman whose delirium-inducing shenanigans — blowing his tenor sax laid out flat on his back, prowling across the dance floor midsong, walking along the bar or out to the street — represented a perfected methodology which he executed with an almost surgical precision that reliably overstimulated listeners to a shocking degree.

Domenic Priore, author of “Riot on Sunset Strip: Rock ‘n’ Roll’s Last Stand in Hollywood,” shared high praise for Big Jay…

THEE transitional figure from Central Avenue’s nationally-crucial Jazz scene, into what became Rock ‘n’ Roll. Until this morning, I considered Jay the most important living musician in Los Angeles.

Domenic also added this story about Big Jay..

Dale Smallin, manager of The Surfaris and voice on “Wipe Out,” told me this: “The guy at my high school in charge of booking talent for the assemblies, slipped one past the Faculty in 1954; they hired Big Jay McNeely, under the pretense that he was a Jazz artist and was therefore giving the kids a little culture. So when Big Jay takes the stage, the entire auditorium went berserk, rocking and rolling and the Faculty was totally caught by surprise, and did NOT know what to do. This was the same year we kids were all tuning in to Vampira on KABC, hot rodding and surfing was popular, everything that became popular during the late ’50s and ’60s was in place and happening with us, but it was still kind of a secret, it wasn’t in Time magazine or the newspapers yet, so we could get away with this kind of thing, still.”

If there was one big magic moment that put Big Jay on the map of pop culture consciousness, it might have been this unforgettable photo of Jay, taken by Bob Willoughby at the Olympic Auditorium in 1951.

Marc Myers of JazzWax.com reached out to photographer Bob Willoughby for his impressions on that very special night, and here’s a few paragraphs from that exchange:

“This was really something! It was 1951, and I had been listening in my darkroom to the late-night disk jockey, Hunter Hancock. He was advertising a jazz concert at the Olympic Auditorium (the local Los Angeles fight arena) starting at midnight! The idea of starting a concert that late was really so intriguing that I had to see what it was all about.”

“As I walked in, the concert had already begun, and the main hall was rocking on its foundations! I could see the audience on their feet screaming. You could taste the energy in that air. To this day I have never seen or heard anything to match it. It was my introduction to the amazing Big Jay McNeely!”

“Big Jay stood in the middle of what normally would be the Main 4-fight ring, playing his heart out, and the crowd was exploding around him. He created some sort of resonance with the audience. In some weird way, he seemed to be playing them!”

It’s a fascinating story, and you can learn more about that event and the photographer by visiting the JazzWax.com page and the official Bob Willoughby website. (Bob passed away in 2009).

I’m grateful to have known Big Jay, who provided an interview for the LOUIE documentary, as well as various musical performances that I was able capture for posterity. Like Richard Berry, author of LOUIE LOUIE, he was an alumni of Jefferson High School of Los Angeles.

Jim Dawson, Buddy Collette, Richard “Louie Louie” Berry, and Red Callender. courtesy of Jim Dawson

There will be more stories of Big Jay, but we’ll save them for later.

If you’d like to learn about Big Jay, I’d recommend this..


Nervous Man Nervous: Big Jay McNeely and the Rise of the Honking Tenor Sax“- a book by Jim Dawson (ISBN 10: 0936433175 ISBN 13: 9780936433172), which is still available at the coolest book stores.

I’ll leave you with a never-before-seen clip of Big Jay performing live at the West Coast Live 2010 event in San Jose, CA.


https://youtu.be/H6VO4hW3HmI

MORE Big Jay McNeely reference links:

Big Jay McNeeley – brief bio by Jim Dawson – ElectricEarl.com

L.A. Weekly obit on Big Jay McNeely

Los Angeles Times obit on Big Jay McNeely

New York Times obit on Big Jay McNeely

Bob Willoughby on photographing Big Jay – Jazzwax.com

The official Bob Willoughby photo page

Big Jay at Rockin’ Race Jamboree – excellent photos at hidalgophotos.com

Nervous Man Nervous: Big Jay McNeely and the Rise of the Honking Tenor Sax”- by Jim Dawson – AbeBooks.com

Louie Louie for 2018 National Recording Registry

There’s a pile of unfinished posts I’ve been meaning to share after the busy events of August, but we’ll save ’em for another time, as Friday snuck up on me as I was dealing with all sorts of other stuff….

Meanwhile, here’s information about an effort being led by Joe Rallos to include LOUIE LOUIE to the National Recording Registry:

“Louie Louie” is one of the most iconic and covered songs in Rock ‘n’ Roll. It’s been named one of the Songs of The Century by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) as well as being recognized by National Public Radio, Rolling Stone and The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. It’s also arguably the only song to be given a special day (April 11 is International Louie Louie Day) and be the subject of an FBI investigation.

One award which is missing though is preservation in the Library of Congress’ National Recording Registry. Having this song be included would ensure not only official recognition but also permanent preservation.

Despite the many versions of this song, the two I am pushing to get included (as a single entry) are the following:

Richard Berry‘s original 1957 version on the Flip label
The Kingsmen‘s 1963 version on the Jerden label

How can we ensure this song gets its due? Simple- send an email to [email protected] or write a letter to

National Recording Preservation Board
c/o Motion Picture, Broadcasting & Recorded Sound Division
Library of Congress
101 Independence Avenue SE
Washington DC 20540-4698

Give a very brief justification of why you think this song should be added by 1st October as I’ll then email the board and include the number of people who “attend” this event to really push the cause.

Please share this event with as many people as possible and ensure you contact the board- LOUIE LOUIE!

Check out the Facebook event page at:
https://www.facebook.com/events/718307551849094/

LOUIE road trip (August 2018- part 3) (w/ LOUIE of Week)

Sunday, August 26th was one extremely busy day for yours truly!

Months ago, I made big plans to visit Southern California. I already made plans to attend the Animal House Toga Party event featuring the Kingsmen in mid-August. After learning that Gloria A. Jones, a founding member of Richard Berry & the Dreamers, was planning a big birthday bash in Los Angeles sometime late August, I thought that might also be a good time to participate in a LOUIE LOUIE event that my friend Gerry Fialka had been trying to talk me into doing for the past year or so.

As tentative plans were made for Gloria’s party to be held on Saturday, August 25, I told Gerry that Sunday, August 26 would probably be a good time for this LOUIE event.

As fate would have it, after locking down the date for Gerry’s show, Gloria’s party somehow got rescheduled to the same Sunday night….

… but that’s OK, as I can often juggle things…..

Gloria Jones has a special place in the LOUIE LOUIE universe. She was she the only female vocalist on the original Richard Berry recording of the song. I believe she may also be the last surviving member of the recording session, probably outliving all the Pharaohs* and instrumentalists used in that iconic 1956 recording that was released in April 1957 on the Flip Records label.

(* = I believe all of Richard Berry’s Pharaohs are gone, but I’m still trying to get more information before confirming any of this)

Up until a few days ago, the last time I saw Gloria Jones in person was also the last time I saw Richard Berry. It was a late night dinner at an all-night diner in Long Beach after a magnificent performance by Richard Berry and the reunited Pharaohs and the Dreamers at the Petroleum Club in 1996 – one year before we lost Richard.

I was very happy when I saw Gloria prominently featured in Morgan Neville‘s 2013, documentary “20 Feet from Stardom,” which won an Oscar for Best Documentary Feature at the 86th Academy Awards.

As I reconnected with Gloria on Facebook this year, I decided I wanted to be there for her 80th Birthday party…

photograph by Laurel Buttercup Rudy

I created a special video for Gloria. She’d never seen my interview with Arthur Lee Maye discussing how he wound up recording “Gloria”- a special song written by Richard. I combined this soundbite with some clips from the 1996 Long Beach reunion shows, and assembled something on Saturday for the big party on Sunday…


https://youtu.be/ouPTPCqmVtg

While I wasn’t able to stick around for the big concert with the rest of the Dreamers, the Blossoms, Darlene Love and all the other performers, I’m glad I was able to meet up with Gloria all these years later…

Anyways, I had another party to go to…

Beyond Baroque turned out to be a wonderful space for this one-of-a-kind LOUIE event. As Gerry pointed out, this location is the world’s largest poetry center, and there’s some wonderful history attached to this building that was originally Venice City Hall, built in 1906.

Gerry assembled quite a show to celebrate Richard Berry’s most famous melody, featuring such performers as: Steve Moos & Don Kirkpatrick, Shep Stern, BSP, Suzy Williams, Brad Kay, John Cannizzaro, Reverend Dan (Music for Nimrods) among others.

It was wonderful to see the lyrics of Richard’s iconic song celebrated in an actual literary art center. People passed around various lyric sheets, reciting the original lyrics, the reinterpreted lyrics (aka FBI versions) and the otherwise surreal variations.

And of course, it was also exciting to show excerpts of this documentary of mine as a work-in-progress.

I hadn’t done this sort of thing beforee, as I had resisted other invitations in the past, but with recent changes in my life, the timing worked out in our favor.

I was humbled that three of my friends from KFJC Radio were able to join me on this one…. especially Jeff Stretch Riedle, who created the spark that inspired this documentary project. Stretch was the man whose efforts started the KFJC LOUIE marathons, including the massive 63 hour event where I decided to borrow some video gear to document the festivities. As Stretch pointed out repeatedly on Sunday, he literally died three times with three cardiac arrests one night in November 2017, and is still with us by the grace of some wonderful beings that saved his life that night.

He’s been waiting very patiently for me to finish this movie, and I really hope to do that in the near future.

KFJC survivors at LOUIE event, clockwise from bottom left:
Eric Predoehl, Robyn Ginsburg Braverman, Jeff Stretch Riedle and Keith Putney. photograph by Ellen Giurleo.

After I get a chance to properly digest all the videos of the event, and connect all the names to the awesome performers, I will be sharing footage on this page.

In the meantime, here’s a quick video of the big finale …


https://youtu.be/mMXXwCXcvU4

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On Monday, August 27, I was finally ready to relax.

I wound up at Venice Beach, not far from Beyond Baroque. After thousands of miles of driving, some serious time spent editing a few relatively short segments from the hundreds of hours of video, I was feeling a sense of freedom from a weight that I’d been carrying.

Unfortunately, I left the sunblock in the car, but that’s another story entirely….

E.P., ringleader of this LOUIE documentary project

E.P.ster at the beach / photo by Laurel Buttercup Rudy

Reference Links:

Wikipedia – 20- Feet From Stardom

Wikipedia – Beyond Baroque Literary Arts Center