“Pete Fountain, the goateed clarinetist who became a global ambassador of New Orleans jazz with his flawlessly slippery technique and joyful sound, died Saturday of heart failure while in hospice care in New Orleans.”
I thought it was a perfect statement about Mr. Fountain well worth recycling.
The NOLA Media Group pointed out an unusual aspect of their native son of New Orleans (LOUISiana):
Unlike other musicians whose lives were marked by marital strife, substance abuse and run-ins with the law, Mr. Fountain lived a blissful existence with Beverly Lang Fountain, his wife of 64 years, and a sizable number of children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
“His love of family kept him going,” said Benny Harrell, Mr. Fountain’s son-in-law and manager. “He was very fortunate to be able to perform his music in New Orleans, whereas most musicians have to go on the road. People would travel here to see him.
“He had tours, but his life wasn’t spent on the road. … He was able to make his music here, performing the music he loved. He played the music he grew up with.”
Both of these articles provide excellent overviews of his musical legacy.
At the website, which offers a LOUIE-centric point of view, we provide a special type of linkage.
Pete Fountain shared his version of LOUIE LOUIE on his 1963 album entitled “I’ve Got You Under My Skin.”
This version was also included as part of Rhino Record’s “Best of LOUIE LOUIE – Volume 2” compilation that was released in 1989.
Ill Folks, aka The Blog Of Less Renown, Celebrating Under-Appreciated Unusual, Unique, Sick Or Strange Singers, Songwriters And Songs, shared a nice tribute to his version of LOUIE LOUIE a few years ago with a post entitled “Pete Fountain GOOSES “Louie Louie!”
One of the main problems with the song is to figure out what the hell to sing. It’s in a sort of incomprehensible dialect. Pete and the boys get around this by simply walking to the middle of the road, and crooning the song’s redundant two-word title. “Just pronounce it like it’s written….Looey Looey.”
Pete’s clarinet, over a slinky beat, gives a few torpid “ahh ooooh” honks, while the muted choir lumbers along, not sure what other lines they’re supposed to sing. Pete livens things up with some staccato squeaks…and this goes on just long enough (2:10).
When you visit the Ill Folks webpage, you can find a link to an MP3 file of this very special version!
Some people believe that Paul McCartney‘s composition “Yesterday” may be the world’s most recorded song of all time. I happen to believe that Richard Berry‘s composition “LOUIE LOUIE” may be a better candidate for that particular title. On Pete Fountain’s album “I’ve Got You Under My Skin,” he shares his recordings of both of these two songs.
Can anyone think of another musician that might have released an album / CD that featured recordings of these two iconic songs?
Here’s a LOUIE recording that I really enjoyed finding…
Blue Johnson aka Bangkok Blue did a jazzy remix of Richard Berry‘s original version, and shared with the world on YouTube.
Here’s a brief description from his YouTube page:
“Louie’s In The House” is a REMIX of Richard Berry‘s original recording of “Louie Louie”. Most people never realized that Richard Berry wrote and recorded the song in 1957. In 1963 the Kingsmen recorded the song and it became a world-wide mega-hit but there was never any mention that Richard Berry was the original writer of the song. Fortunately in the mid 80’s, Berry’s lawyers were able to prove in court that he had been illegally deprived of several million dollars in unpaid back royalties! Richard Berry finally won a lucrative settlement that put an end to one of the biggest rip-off attempts in the history of the music business!
In 2006 my son, James Ming Johnson and I decided to do this REMIX in honor of the late, great Richard Berry. Ming (who was in high school then), did all the digital sampling and engineering from the original 45 RPM single and he and I both programmed and added some keyboard parts in this REMIX.
This may become my favorite new LOUIE recording of the year, as I really enjoy hearing versions that don’t sound like any other versions… as well as hearing different variations of Richard singing that song…
My friend Joe Macoll turned me onto the recording of LOUIE LOUIE by Atomic Suplex.
Here’s a little description from the band on how they came to record this song…
We don’t really do covers but when we were rehearsing for our second album a couple of years ago we did for some reason broke into an impromptu version of Louie Louie which was committed to tape. I forgot about it until the other day when I was looking to nick a loop of JDs Drums for a demo.
Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you this week’s LOUIE of the Week!
My friend Gary S. Paxton has passed away a few days ago.
Gary was an extremely talented musician that produced #1 hit records in rock, country and gospel music. As a singer-songwriter of a teenage duo with a hit song that sold a million records, he toured America with legendary DJ Alan Freed in 1959. From 1959 until the time of his passing, he produced thousands of records for a wide variety of musicians. He was both admired and feared by his peers including Phil Spector, Brian Wilson and Buck Owens.
I got to know Gary because of his connection with Richard Berry, songwriter of LOUIE LOUIE, as well as his role as producer of the first album by Paul Revere & the Raiders.
Gary, along with his then-business partner Kim Fowley, produced a handful of Richard Berry records in the early 1960s after Richard’s contract with the Flip Records label had expired.
One of my proudest moments was helping facilitate the proper reissue of these recordings, as well as the original Flip recordings, which both found a loving home with Ace Records of UK.
Gary S. Paxton’s first success in the music business was with the singing duo Skip & Flip, whose initial recording was “It Was I,” which entered the Billboard Top 20 in 1959, peaking at No. 11.
The duo consisted of Gary and Clyde Battin, who were both part of The Pledges, a rock band based in Tucson, Arizona.
As Gary explained to me, the song was originally a demo recording sent to record label that Gary didn’t follow up on. He discovered that the song became a hit record after he moved from Tucson to Tacoma, Washington. He heard the song on the radio while he was working a job picking fruit in an orchard, and didn’t even recognize his own voice. When he contacted Brent Records, the New York label that released this record, they told him they had been trying to get ahold of him, and immediately made plans for him to rejoin his old bandmate for a nationwide tour that included television appearances on American Bandstand.
The duo, which was re-named “Skip & Flip” by the record label, lasted for a few years before it dissolved, as their partnership fell apart when Gary’s wife decided to be with Clyde.
Gary moved to Hollywood, where he linked up with Kim Fowley to produce records together, which included “Alley Oop” by the Hollywood Argyles, their studio project that became a band, featuring with Gary on lead vocals.
In the meantime, I leave you with a short video… a small sample of some of the footage that I shot with Gary at his home in Nashville in 1998. He talks about his special storage trailer, the band Limey and the Yanks, Red West (Elvis Presley‘s bodyguard) and some of the recordings he did with Richard Berry.
This week, we point the LOUIE spotlight at a 1976 recording by a Dutch band known as Zodiac.
The band Zodiac was formed in Rotterdam (The Netherlands), featuring members of Crown’s Clan. I wasn’t able to find out details on all six of the band members, but some of the core players included vocalist Sylvia van Asten, guitarist Jan Kroon and keyboardist Fred Sammelius.
LOUIE LOUIE was released as a 45 single on the CNR label in 1976, with the song “Back Again” on the flipside.
This may, quite possibly, be the ONLY the version of LOUIE LOUIE that could be categorized as “Dutch Glam Rock Disco.”