RIP: Pete Fountain, jazz clarinetist – LOUIE of the Week

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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 borrowed that opening sentence from Randy Lewis’s fine obituary that was shared on August 6th in the Los Angeles Times.

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.”

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This version was also included as part of Rhino Record’s “Best of LOUIE LOUIE – Volume 2” compilation that was released in 1989.

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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!

Rest in peace, Pete Fountain!

Reference:

Ill Folks – Pete Fountain GOOSES “Louie Louie
Los Angeles Times obituary on Pete Foutain
NOLA Media Group obituary on Pete Foutain
Discogs entry for Pete Fountain LP “I’ve Got You Under My Skin”
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AFTERTHOUGHT:
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?

Remembering Those We Lost in 2015

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Last year, we lost quite a few people in the LOUIE universe. Click on their names to read more about them.

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Jack Ely, the original lead singer of the Kingsmen, was one of the two people that inspired this documentary project. I met Jack at the same event where he first met Richard Berry, the composer of this legendary song, and their stories inspired this project. It saddens me deeply that my friend will not be able to see the completed documentary.

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Lady Bo was also a big part of the event where Jack Ely met Richard Berry. Her band backed up these two major players in the LOUIE universe as they played together for their first and only appearance together. Lady Bo had an extensive musical career working with Bo Diddley and a variety of other musicians.

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Lemmy, of course, was the iconic leader of Motörhead that died a few days ago.

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Kim Fowley, the legendary musician/producer/writer with an abundance of credits to his name, co-produced Richard Berry’s music during the years between Richard’s initial recording of THE SONG in 1957 and the Kingsmen’s recording of THE SONG in 1963.

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Wally Todd, a member of Jack Ely & the Courtmen (formerly known as “Jack Ely & the Kingsmen”), left this world a few days after Jack’s passing. I’m so very grateful I was able to witness their historic reunion at Seaside, Oregon.

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Steve Mackay was a saxophone player that performed with the Stooges, whose “Fun House” album was produced by Don Gallucci, original keyboardist with the Kingsmen. His collaboration with Iggy Pop continued after the break-up of the Stooges, as well as the reunion shows with the surviving Stooges.

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Gary Abbott was a drummer that joined the Kingsmen for a brief period after their newfound success with LOUIE LOUIE.

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Errol Brown of Hot Chocolate, was the co-writer of “Brother Louie,” a song often confused with LOUIE LOUIE.

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Dennis Eichhorn was a gifted writer from Idaho that transformed his life stories into highly entertaining underground comic books. Denis shared memories about working at nightclubs in the Pacific Northwest and getting his hair cut by Paul Revere before the Raiders became the band became they became famous.

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Gail Zappa was the keeper of the Frank Zappa legacy – the matriarch of the family and overseer of all Zappa enterprises.

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Allen Toussaint was a genuine musical legend from LOUISiana that wrote a ton of unforgettable songs and shared some appreciation for Richard Berry’s special song!

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P.F. Sloan was another gifted singer-songwriter that composed some songs that also became big hit records. The LOUIE team was privileged to work with him in 2014, and we discovered that he co-wrote an opera about Ludwig Beethoven entitled “LOUIS! LOUIS!”

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Leonard Nimoy was a gifted actor, musician and film director whose works provided great inspiration to the LOUIE team. Using the “Five Degrees of LOUIE” principle, we found some interesting connections.

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Eric Caidin is someone whose death was not mentioned on these pages, but he was a kindred spirit that appreciated this project, and provided great words of support over the years. He operated the Hollywood Book & Poster Company, a wonderful store for movie enthusiasts and was a regular exhibitor at various comic conventions in the SF Bay Area.

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Joe Houston was one of the great saxophone players that was playing some wild rhythm and blues music before it was ever called “rock music.” I don’t recall him ever playing LOUIE LOUIE, but he was a great musician whose legacy should be acknowledged.

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John Harada was an early member of A Western Front, a local band that ye webmaster enjoyed quite immensely back in the 1980s.

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Deanna Predoehl was the beloved niece of the producer of this LouieLouie.net webpage. She left us way too early at the age of 20 years old, and not a day goes by without thinking about her.

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This blog posting is blog post #7500 of this particular webpage that began in 1996, and was converted to a blog in 2005.

Time is a funny animal that I am still trying to tame….

Eric Predoehl, producer of the LouieLouie.net experience and upcoming documentary…

RIP: Allen Toussaint / LOUIE of the Week

allen_Toussaint

Allen Toussaint, an extremely talented musician, passed away on November 10, 2015 while on tour in Madrid, Spain. He was 77 years old.

Emerging from the fertile hotbed of New Orleans R&B during the 1950s, Toussaint was the guy that could do it all – a singer, a gifted piano player, a prolific songwriter and producer of multiple hit records. He produced a string of hits in the early-mid 1960s for a handful of New Orleans R&B artists including Ernie K-Doe, Chris Kenner, Irma Thomas, Art and Aaron Neville, The Showmen, and Lee Dorsey.

He also collaborated with Elvis Costello, Paul McCartney, Patti LaBelle and The Band.

Toussaint’s songs were recorded by such artists as the Rolling Stones, Bo Diddley, Jerry Garcia, Ringo Starr, Little Feat, Robert Palmer, the Yardbirds, Glen Campbell, Bonnie Raitt, The Pointer Sisters, Warren Zevon, Iron Butterfly, Spirit, the Paul Butterfield Blues Band and many others.

Toussaint was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame and the Blues Hall of Fame. In 2013 he was awarded the National Medal of Arts by President Barack Obama.

At the time of his death, Toussaint was scheduled to perform with friend Paul Simon at a December 8th benefit for New Orleans Artists Against Hunger and Homelessness, a charity Toussaint helped found.

He will be deeply missed by many.

Allen Toussaint wrote a song called “LOUIE,” a little instrumental that sounds nothing at all like Richard Berry‘s LOUIE LOUIE. It first appeared in 1970 on his second album, originally titled simply “Allen Toussaint” which was later re-issued on CD in 1994 on the Kent Soul record label with a new name of “From a Whisper to a Scream.”


https://youtu.be/hnJ-JMgtNIs

Allen did actually perform a little version of LOUIE LOUIE that will be an exclusive for my documentary project, but we’ll save that for another time….

In the meantime here’s some other songs by Allen that absolutely need to be heard …


https://youtu.be/C6ldpOBWKAE
Here’s Allen Toussaint performing “Get Out My Life, Woman,” a song covered by the Paul Butterfield Blues Band.

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https://youtu.be/XN9FYh_GmnM
Here’s his performance of “Working in the Coal Mine, which was an international hit for Lee Dorsey in 1966, and covered by a lot of other musicians including Devo in 1981.

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https://youtu.be/8zC65J2W_0o
Using his mother’s name Naomi Neville as a pseudonym for contractual reasons, Toussaint wrote “A Certain Girl” for Ernie K-Doe. It wasn’t quite that successful when it was first unveiled in 1961, but found some extra attention with covers by The Yardbirds and Warren Zevon.

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https://youtu.be/khw6Kjfu3aM
I always loved the song “Sneakin’ Sally Through The Alley,” which I first heard via Robert Palmer‘s version.

Special bonus points for any of my friends named Sally….

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https://youtu.be/fifjamnUqpI
New Orleans based WDSU News shares memories of the life and legacy of the legendary musician.

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You can learn about this talented musician by visiting…

The Official Web Site of Allen Toussaint
The Wikipedia page on Allen Toussaint
AllMusic.com page on Allen Toussaint
Top 10 Allen Toussaint Classic Rock Covers

September 11 and the LOUIE LOUIE Connection

Mention the day “September 11,” and you cannot help but be reminded of certain events that took place in semi-recent American history.

For some of us, September 11 is a day to celebrate the birthday of loved ones, like my sister Ann, for example.

As this is “the website for all things LOUIE LOUIE,” this is the place to ponder unlikely connections within the LOUIE LOUIE universe.

So …. here’s something on the connections between September 11 and LOUIE LOUIE….

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Jack Ely, lead singer of the Kingsmen, would have celebrated his 72nd birthday today, had we not lost him earlier this year.

Jack shared his birthday and year with Mickey Hart of the Grateful Dead, which performed some memorable versions over the years of their existence.

Some of you may not know it, but “LOUIE LOUIE” was first released as a B-side on a 45rpm single by Richard Berry. The A-side was a cover of “You Are My Sunshine,” a catchy little country western song that Richard Berry’s mom really loved. As LOUIE LOUIE became more popular, the record was reissued with LOUIE on the A-side and a Richard Berry original “Rock Rock Rock” taking over the B-side.

“You Are My Sunshine” was recorded and probably written by Jimmie Davis in 1940. Four years later, he was elected Governor of the state of LOUIsiana, which he served for two non-sequential terms (1944–1948 and 1960–1964).

While his exact birth year is still questionable (various publications stating 1899, 1901, 1902 or 1903), it is believed that Jimmie Davis would have been 116 years old today.

Leo Kottke, whose version of “Louise” was highlighted as this week’s LOUIE Relative of the Week, celebrates his 70th birthday today.

Jon Moss, a drummer with The Nips (as well as Culture Club), whose recording of “Gabrielle” was declared LOUIE Mutant of the Week in July 2014, celebrates his 58th birthday today.

There’s a handful of other musicians that also share this birthday today, but until they perform a version of LOUIE, or at least a LOUIE Bastard/ Mutant, then we probably won’t mention Moby, Harry Connick, Jr., Gidget Gein, Ted Leo, or Ludacris … yet.

So today… it’s a Happy Birthday for the spirits of Jack Ely and Jimmie Davis…. as well as my sister Ann, my friends Debee, Joey, Sally, another friend named Eric, and anyone else that wound up with this very special birthdate!

Reference:
Wikipedia – September 11
Wikipedia – Jimmie Davis
2006 LouieLouie.net article – What About Today?

Victoria Williams with Pappy & Harriet’s All-Stars – LOUIE of the Week

Sometimes, in the course of my adventures, I literally walk into unexpected LOUIE LOUIEs. Last month, I attended a comic book convention where I witnessed Spider-Man dancing to Iggy Pop‘s version of LOUIE LOUIE.

This time, it was a just a casual little mention of my project that led to an entirely new version of the song. A few weeks ago, I was in Southern California, visiting a friend. We decided to check out Pappy & Harriet’s, a little honky tonk restaurant-bar near Joshua Tree Park. I heard that Victoria Williams, a singer I’m quite fond of, was playing with Pappy & Harriet’s All-Stars, a loose group of local musicians that liked to jam every Sunday night at Pappy & Harriet’s. It’d been quite a few years since I’d seen Victoria, including a handful of shows in the San Francisco area, and a Bumpershoot appearance in Seattle.

Sure enough, she was part of this Sunday night show, and it was great to hear her perform again. During a set break, I had a chance to yack with her, and reintroduce myself. Just like the last time I talked with her, she was extremely cordial, friendly, and absolutely charming. When I mentioned my LOUIE LOUIE project, her eyes lit up, she told me she loved the song and wanted to record a special version for me!

Then, during the next set… she surprises me with a spontaneous version of the song, so I pull my little camera out of my pocket, and capture this version for posterity….

Victoria is a singer-songwriter that was born in LOUIsiana. In 1993, her life took a dramatic turn when she learned that she was suffering from multiple sclerosis. As she didn’t have health insurance, word got out about her condition, and a whole bunch of artists, including Pearl Jam, Lou Reed, Maria McKee, Soul Asylum, Lucinda Williams and others, joined together to record some of Williams’ songs for a tribute/benefit project called Sweet Relief: A Benefit for Victoria Williams. This led to the creation of the Sweet Relief Fund, a charity that aids professional musicians (of any stature) in need of health care.

As it turns out, she’s actually doing pretty good, health-wise, these days, which is GREAT!

Check out this video clip of my favorite Victoria Williams composition – “You Are Loved.”

I second that emotion! LOVE YA, VICTORIA!

Go visit her at
VictoriaWilliams.net

… or Pappy & Harriet’s

RIP: Sam Butera, singer/saxophonist with Louis Prima

Sam Butera

We just lost another musical icon. Sam Butera, a singer/ saxophonist with of the LOUIS Prima band, has passed away at the age of 81 years old.

Sam Butera was born Aug. 17, 1927, in New Orleans, LOUISiana. At the age of 7, his father took him to see a big band and asked which of the instruments the boy liked best. Sam pointed to the saxophones, and the next day, his father brought him a saxophone, which led to a remarkable life in music.

During the 1950s, Sam had a very successful partnership with entertainers Louis Prima and Keely Smith, providing a dynamic entertainment. Backed by a small band called the Witnesses, the Prima-Smith-Butera partnership re-interpreted jazz and pop standards with a distinctive array of styles and tempos- swing jazz, jump blues, Italian folk balads and Dixieland. Some of their best-known songs included “Just a Gigolo”/”I Ain’t Got Nobody” (done as a medley), “Pennies From Heaven,” “That Old Black Magic” (which won a Grammy Award), “Jump, Jive an’ Wail” and “When You’re Smiling.”

In addition to his work with Prima, Butera enjoyed a prolific side career performing with such entertainers as Frank Sinatra and Sammy Davis Jr.

While Butera took a mostly supporting role in the Louis Prima band, on a few songs he was allowed an opportunity to shine as lead singer. One of those songs was “(There’ll Be No) Next Time,” which was a song written by Richard Berry in 1955 (released two years before LOUIE LOUIE).

I was fortunate to not only see Sam Butera perform live, but also interview him, where he had a chance to talk about this catchy little number.

Thank you, Sam. You will definitely be missed.

In the meantime, here’s a little clip of Sam in action with his pal LOUIE!

Solidarity with New Orleans Musicians

Passed on by my friends at Rock ‘n’ Rap Confidential, here’s something for our comrades in New Orleans:

HIGH NOON August 26 Sunday we are organizing a Silent second line in protest of the lack of local, state and national support for our local musicians. We will be paying 2 brass bands to march without playing. Hankies waving, umbrellas, indians in costume from Armstrong Park to Jackson square. No music.

We will ask musicians all over the world to support the protest with 1 hour of Silence.

Please support us. We need to know we are not alone as we approach the 2nd anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.

Our task force will be circulating our Save New Orleans Musicians Manifesto after a meeting at the musicians union hall on July 31.

Cheers, Bethany

Bethany Ewald Bultman
NOMC Co-Founder and Program Director
neworleansmusiciansclinic.org
New Orleans Musicians’ Clinic
504 415-3514 NOMC OFC.

Not the same Kingsmen

All the Kings Men

Contrary to certain rumors floating around cyberspace, the upcoming movie “All the Kings Men” starring Sean Penn is NOT the story of Lynn Easton, Jack Ely, Mike Mitchell, Dick Peterson, Barry Curtis, Don Gallucci, Bob Nordby, or even Norm Sundholm. It is based on a former governor of LOUISiana, but that’s probably the only LOUIE connection.

On the other hand, I’ve been informed that the upcoming “Bobby” movie about Robert Kennedy supposedly features Demi Moore singing a version of “LOUIE LOUIE” that’s reminiscent of Julie London.

What about today?

Today, anyone that reads a newspaper, watches television, or surfs the web will be bombarded by commemorative tributes to the tragedy that happened five years ago. It was a terrible moment in the history of the United States, which can never be forgotten.

While many folks will forever link September 11 to the tragedies of 2001, I think it’s important to acknowledge the GOOD things that also happened on this particular date.

On September 11, 1899, James Houston Davis, also known as Jimmie Davis, was born. Jimmie wrote and sang a lot of cowboy songs. He was such a popular guy that he was elected as governor of LOUISiana in 1944, and again in 1960. His biggest claim to fame was writing the song “You Are My Sunshine,” which was extremely popular. The Recording Industry Association of America named it one of the Songs of the Century. Jimmie Davis died in 2000 at the age of 101.

When Richard Berry first released “LOUIE LOUIE” in 1957 by Flip Records, it was on the B-side of his recording of “You Are My Sunshine,” one of his mother’s favorite songs. As “LOUIE LOUIE” became the bonafide hit, Flip Records was reissued the 45 single with LOUIE on the A-side, and “Rock Rock Rock” on the new B-side.

On September 11, 1943, two rock stars were born. One of these guys was Mickey Hart, one of the two drummers for the Grateful Dead.

The other rock star born on September 11, 1943 was Jack Ely, the original vocalist for the Kingsmen in 1963. Jack’s voice fueled the most popular recording ever of the word’s most notoriouous rock and roll party song.

Other great events happened on September 11:

1906 – Mahatma Gandhi starts Non-Violence movement.

1961 – Formation of the World Wildlife Fund

1962 – The Beatles record their debut single, Love Me Do.

1972 – Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) in San Francisco bay area begins regular service.

1978 – U.S. President Jimmy Carter, President Anwar Sadat of Egypt and Prime Minister Menachem Begin of Israel met at Camp David and agreed on a framework for peace between Israel and Egypt and a comprehensive peace in the Middle East.

Some other notable folks that were born on September 11 include writer O’Henry, musician Moby, film director Brian de Palma, musician Harry Connick, Jr., and blogger Markos Moulitsas.

One of my favorite people in my universe was also born on September 11. My sister Ann Casey also celebrates her anniversary of existance today. If you’re in the Baltimore area and need to have something packaged, notarized, or shipped, I can’t think of a better place than her company, Parcel Place. Tell her LOUIE sent ‘cha….

Portland Opens It’s Doors to Displaced New Orleans Musicians

The city of Portland, Oregon demonstrates the type of charity that makes me very, very proud of my Northwest neighbors:

As part of our nation’s concern for the recent catastrophes along the southern gulf ports in Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana, we are very concerned for our extended jazz family and the history of Jazz as America’s Classical Music in the devastation of New Orleans. The Portland Jazz Festival, presented by Qwest, in partnership with Azumano Travel and additional Portland businesses including the Portland Oregon Visitors Association are offering to transport the New Orleans jazz scene to Portland, Oregon. We are extending an invitation to all New Orleans jazz musicians and their families to come to Portland while the City of New Orleans rebuilds.

More details can be found at the Portland Jazz Festival website.