Jack Ely, original Kingsmen vocalist, to play North Carolina

Jack Ely, the original vocalist for the Kingsmen, who hasn’t done a show in ages, is performing at a special event in North Carolina next month. Here’s the word, direct from the man himself:

It should be announced through the blog that Wendy and I will be attending this: http://www.cammy.org We will be there all weekend and I will be performing LL with some of the bands there. Right now the actual itinerary hasn’t been set in stone so I don’t know exactly where or when, but I have been invited to sing. I know I will sing LL on Sunday at the after show dance and I may just do impromptu sit-ins with other bands on other nights. So now you know what I know.

It should be noted that Jack hasn’t performed live since 1999, when he was invited to Seaside, Oregon with a reunion of his band The Courtmen. After he left the Kingsmen, the band he founded with Lynn Easton, and Mike Mitchell, he created a new band to capitalize on the success of LOUIE LOUIE. As the song became a massive hit, he never had a chance to tour with the original group that recorded the song, so he created an all-new band known as “Jack Ely & the Kingsmen,” which was later renamed as the Courtmen, after some legal disputes with the other guys.

Anyways, it should be pretty exciting that Jack is doing this special show in North Carolina. If anyone has some frequent flyer miles they can share, send ’em my way…..

Here’s a little preview of Jack Ely, live in action on the hottest TV channel of moment- YouTube. This was from the reunion of the Courtmen at Seaside, Oregon on August 21, 1999. For you history buffs, Seaside was the location where the Kingsmen first heard LOUIE LOUIE on a jukebox at the Pypo Club. It also happens to the place where Lewis and Clark ended their expedition to the West Coast.

Jack is joined by Wally Todd on guitar, Billy Truitt on keyboards, and Gordon Hirsch on drums.

RIP: Sandy West, drummer for Runaways

Sandy West

From Stretch Riedle, the uber-archivist of LOUIE recordings:

Only slightly Louie Louie related but very worthy of mention:

Sandy West, the drummer for the Runaways, has died of lung cancer. She was only 47.

About 6 years or so ago I had the pleasure of meeting Sandy West. She was in northern California for a gig. She walked into my cd store, and we chatted. She also put some cds on consignment.

Very nice woman. You could tell she had had a tough life though. (Smoking probably was the eventual cause.)

Now she gets to jam with Keith Moon.

The Louie connection…?…Joan Jett, her bandmate, has done Louie Louie over the years as part of her live shows, as well as recording it for commercial release.

For more on Sandy, check out the Rocket City Records page.

Quite possibly, the first MySpace LOUIE LOUIE page?

Fellow LOUIE appreciator David Hartwig wrote to tell me of what could very well be the very first MySpace LOUIE LOUIE page. I don’t know… I’m not following the MySpace buzz, but this does seem to be a fairly decent tribute to the coolest garage rock song of all time. It’s in French, so French-illiterates such as myself would need to look at the Google French-to-English translation, or find a French friend that could tell me what these folks are writing about….

I love the photo of the rock and roll crowd! What’s also really cool is the way the page randomly plays different versions of LOUIE LOUIE!

UPDATE: David sent me another MySpace link. Check out this video:

Louie Louie Interpretation

YouTube purges 30,000 Videos over copyright

Hot off the presses from Yahoo News:

TOKYO – The popular video-sharing site YouTube deleted nearly 30,000 files after a Japanese entertainment group complained of copyright infringement.

The Japan Society for Rights of Authors, Composers and Publishers, found 29,549 video clips such as television shows, music videos and movies posted on YouTube’s site without permission, an official from the group, Fumiyuki Asakura, said Friday.

The San Mateo, Calif.-based company quickly complied with the request to remove the copyright materials, made on behalf of 23 Japanese TV stations and entertainment companies, Asakura said.

Read the whole story by clicking here.

RIP: Jennell Hawkins, singer with Richard Berry + Freddie Willis

Here’s some sad news:

Jennell Hawkins (courtesy of DooWop Society)

Singer-pianist Jennell Hawkins died in Los Angeles on Friday, October 13, after a long illness following a stroke last year. She was the lead singer on the Dreamers‘ well-regarded “Since You’ve Been Gone”/”Do Not Forget” (Flip Records, 1957), and also dueted with Richard Berry (as Ricky & Jennell) on a single for Flair Records, but she’s best known for “Moments to Remember,” a small, Richard Berry-written pop hit (#50) in late 1961.

Ironically, on October 13, the day of her death, she was being honored at a“Legends of Central Avenue” celebration in Los Angeles. According to LA Weekly, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa was scheduled to present certificates of recognition to Ms. Hawkins along with other past and present female jazz singers, including Etta James, Melba Liston, Esther Phillips, among others at a special ceremony at Los Angeles City Hall.

At the Southern California DooWop Society webpages, which is where I borrowed this photo of Jennell, there’s a nice little write-up about a show she did in 2002, joining her old bandmates, The Dreamers for what sounded like an awesome performance.

UPDATEJim Dawson adds:

Jennell actually had two small R&B hits, “Moments” (#16) and “Money (That’s What I Want)” (#17), both on Amazon. “Moments” was retitled “Moments to Remember” on her two albums; she redid the song in a jazzier style for her first LP, The Many Moods of Jenny, in 1961, and the single version appeared on her Moments to Remember LP a year later. Jennell was also a member of the Combo-Nettes on Combo, best known for “Hi Diddle Diddle” with Jake Porter‘s band.

Another one gone is Freddie Willis of the Calvanes, who died Monday of cancer. He joined the group in 1958 and recorded on their Deck singles. He was a member of the group during the last 16 years or so.

OUCH! On the previously mentioned Southern California DooWop Society webpage about a show with Jennell Hawkins, it notes that Freddie sang Richard Berry‘s part with the Dreamers that night.

Recovering from the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Fest of 2006…

There are some things in life that are absolute joy. They entertain, inspire, and recharge the essence of the human experience. It can be something as simple as visiting a beautiful place that inspires your inner child, or connecting with an old friend that makes you laugh. Every person has something that really makes them feel absolutely euphoric.

For me, it was attending this year’s Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival this past weekend.

Henry and Howard Coward

An estimated crowd of 300,000 people gathered at Golden Gate Park in San Francisco in this weekend for the annual Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival. Normally, I’m not one for massive crowds at music festivals, but this was not your ordinary music festival. For six years, investment banker Warren Hellman has invested some serious money to put on some of the finest music festivals I’ve ever attended. Unlike other music festivals, this event does not have major corporate sponsorship, yet provides an abundance of stellar musical talent for three days, spread out over five different stages. What makes this event so incredibly wonderful is the fact that this event is FREE to the public.

If there’s any recurring themes to this festival, it’s that peace and harmony can co-exist with minimal security, and that recycling all disposables is really a good thing. Too many music events seem to disrespect their audience, over-charging for every little creature comfort, treating the audience as cattle. COMMUNITY is the key concept for the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival.

If I had any complaint about this event, it would be that it was impossible to watch every musical group that I wanted to. I regret that I missed performances by Hazel Dickens, Chip Taylor & Carrie Rodriguez, Poor Man’s Whiskey, Hot Tuna, Earl Scruggs, and various others. As luck would have it, I wound up at the Rooster Stage for most of the event, providing some professional support, so to speak.

For the past couple of years, I’ve been trying to catch a show by Todd Snider. I’ve had a handful of people tell me all about his song entitled “The Ballad of the Kingsmen,” which is a very entertaining musical interpretation of the story of LOUIE LOUIE. I should have seen him sooner, as this guy is a brilliant musical satirist singer-songwriter. What I love about Todd is that he’s not trying to preach to anyone, or change their mind with his opinions. He’s just a storyteller that talks about things as he sees them. which actually makes pretty good sense to a tree huggin’, peace lovin’, barefootin’ filmmaker like me. I’m definitely gonna keep my eyes for this guy in the future. In the meantime, there’s over 20 video clips of him on YouTube (soon to be GoogleTube?), including an appearance on David Letterman’s TV show.

The biggest crowd at the Rooster Stage was the Sunday appearance of the Coward Brothers, a couple of very talented musicians that have a remarkable resemblance to Elvis Costello and T-Bone Burnett. The very first (and perhaps only) recording released by this band was an obscure single entitled “The People’s Limousine” released free of charge with the Elvis Costello “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood” UK and Japanese single in 1985. Coincidentally, T-Bone produced The Elvis Costello album “King of America” around the same time in 1985. Something did seem fishy about these particular characters, as I don’t think “Elvis” and “T-Bone” were their original birth names….

Anyways, this show featuring Henry and Howard Coward was a phenomenal show, with vocal harmonies reminiscent of the Louvin Brothers and the Everly Brothers, borrowing a little bit of Marx Brothers for their onstage banter. They did a handful of originals, including some “supposedly stolen originals” that were “later claimed to have been written by” Merle Haggard, George Jones, and some songs that were actually released in the 30’s….. before the Coward Brothers were even born!! Some of their unlikely covers were renditions of Scott McKenzie‘s “San Francisco (Be Sure to Wear Some Flowers in Your Hair) and the Byrds‘ “So You Want to Be a Rock and Roll Star.” They were also joined by their long-lost sister EmmyLou Coward, who joined them for a few songs, and talked about how proud they all were to be “Cowards” during these challenging times.

The REAL Elvis Costello did a great performance for Friday, the first day of the event, acknowledging all of those that decided to play hooky, rather than go to work that day. After playing solo, and then performing with The Hammer Of The Honky-Tonk Gods, an all-star group that included Bill Kirchen, Davey Faragher, Austin de Lone and Pete Thomas, he was then joined by Emmylou Harris (who looked just like EmmyLou Coward), Fats Kaplin, Gillian Welch, and David Rawlings. There were some incredible moments in this set- “God’s Comic,” “Loser” (a Grateful Dead song), a rather moving duet with Emmylou on “I Still Miss Someone” (Johnny Cash), and one Nick Lowe song I’ll never get tired of- “What’s So Funny ‘Bout Peace Love and Understanding.”

On Saturday, the big Songwriter’s Circle took place, with this year’s line-up featuring Steve Earle, Guy Clark, Billy Bragg, and Verlon Thompson. Steve Earle took the lead in this line-up, acknowledging the late Townes Van Zandt as the inspiration for this onstage collective of singer-songwriters, and starting off the set with a lively version of “F*** the F.C.C.” that would have certainly driven the censors crazy had this thing actually been broadcast. Together with fellow progressive Billy Bragg, Steve integrated political consciousness into his set list. When it was Billy Bragg’s turn at the microphone, one of the songs he did was an inventive re-write of “Bourgeois Blues ,” transforming this Lead Belly standard into “Bush War Blues” which can actually be downloaded for FREE at Billy’s own website. He also performed a few songs from one of my favorite albums of the past 10 years, “Mermaid Avenue,” which was the album he did with Wilco based on the previously-unseen Woody Guthrie writings.

Compared to previous Hardly Strictly Bluegrass shows, there seemed to be an abundance of conscience-raising songs. While it was certainly no surprise that Steve Earle and Billy Bragg took the opportunity to sing some excellent songs about injustices, lying politicians and other topical concerns in the world, they were not alone in their sentiments. Richard Thompson discussed the use of wartime abbreviations. Just as soldiers in Vietnam shortened the name to “Nam,” soldiers in Iraq shortened “Baghdad” to simply “Dad,” which gave Richard Thompson the spark to write a witty little song called “Dad’s Gonna Kill Me.” Iris Dement did a couple of wonderful songs entitled “Wasteland of the Free’ and “There’s A Wall in Washington.” Even Alejandro Escovedo made a little snipe at the current administration, reclaiming “Castanets,” the song he formerly refused to play when he discovered that it was one of the Top 10 songs in the Presidential iPod.

It was wonderful to see Alejandro Escovedo back in action after his near-death experience with Hepatitis-C a few years ago. I used to see him perform with Rank and File, then performing solo at various shows in the San Francisco-San Jose region. It was especially poignant to see his mother at this show as he dedicated a song to her and his late father, singing of the love his parents shared.

One of the great bands that returned to this festival was the amazing trio of Kevin Welch & Kieran Kane & Fats Kaplin. Like so many of the bands that performed at this event, their music transcended the genres of country, bluegrass, rock, folk, and the various Americana labels that have been attached to their style of playing. Unfortunately, their set was cut short, and I didn’t get a chance to hear my favorite song by these gents – a ditty known as “Everybody’s Working for the Man Again….” In spite of this loss, their set was still a stellar performance. I even met a lady from their Australian fan club, who traveled around the world to attend this event.

The last performance I saw at this event was Robert Earl Keen, who was joined by special guest Danny Barnes, formerly of the Bad Livers. Closing off the set was the highly-appropriate song “The Road Goes On Forever,” which was a good way to end Sunday, the last day of this event.

I do hope this event goes on forever. It’s the time of event that makes me very proud to live in the San Francisco Bay Area. God bless Warren Hellman for being the type of billionaire that makes the world a better place than the one he came into with this wonderful celebration of the human spirit.

* * * * * *
For more write-ups on this event, be sure check out some of these articles:

San Francisco Chronicle article

San Jose Mercury News article

Austin American-Statesman article (??)
The Hardly Strictly MY SPACE page?

Emmylou.net forum chat

RARE Richard Berry video- who was that mystery yodeler?

In memory of my late friend Michael Rivinius, I decided to post a video of him with Richard Berry performing “LOUIE LOUIE.”

The time was November 17, 1989. The place was JJ’s Blues Cafe in Mountain View, California. Singer-songwriter Richard Berry was in town for a special performance Richard’s son Marcel Berry played bass, and sax player Michael Rivinius brought his band The Simplistics to back up this musical legend. This footage was shot by Eric Predoehl (that would be me) for the upcoming documentary THE MEANING OF LOUIE under less-than-ideal situations. The lighting was terrible, and the camera wasn’t very forgiving. Nonetheless, we’ve got a very rare performance of LOUIE LOUIE by the man who actually wrote this song.

What makes this particular clip so special is the audience interaction. Richard walked around the club with a microphone, inviting audience members to sing LOUIE LOUIE with him. One gentlemen did some really great yodeling!

If you are the “mystery yodeler” or know who this person is, please send me an email!

UPDATE: Chris Pimentel wrote:

Well I am not the mystery yodeler, but I was am the guy playing guitar. I met Mike about a year earlier and started working with him in Jan. of 89′. He got me through colleg back then, and got me plenty of gigs after. Thank you for posting that. I Heard about his death a day after he died, but had no idea he was sick. Due to family and work obligations I was not able to atted the memorial for him. This is a great tribute to him, as I remember this being one of the highlights of his career, he lived for these kind of gigs, lord knows He, and I , sufferered thru some rough ones.

The other guys are,

Pat O’Connell on drums
Bill Blair (a.k.a. Lance Flynn) on Tenor
and, Jim Passarell on trumpet

I just wanted to make contact and say thank you! He will be missed!

RIP: Michael Rivinius, musician

This week, thanks to my pal David at Punmaster.com, I received word that musician Michael Rivinius had died.

I first met Michael back in 1989 when he arranged a show with Richard Berry at JJ’s Blues Cafe in Mountain View, CA. Michael assembled his band, The Simplistics, to back up Richard, and they put on a helluva good show, which luckily…. I was able to capture on videotape, albeit with one camera.

Raymond Jax wrote up a nice little notice for Michael:

Please forgive the mass email but there are many who should be aware that we lost a true Sonoma County institution this week.

I don’t know if you are aware of this man but he was a part of the fabric of the Sonoma County music scene for the last 3 decades as the leader of the Simplistics and as a “little guy” who was always out there beating the bushes for gigs, creating showswith The Drifters, The Platters and numerous other bands. He was, as Candi Chamberlain (of KRSH, KNOB, The Pointlyss Sistars and other projects) told me this morning, a musical “facilitator”. He put a lot of different musicians together through his network of friends, players and his never ending heart and souls.

He died in SF on Tuesday awaiting a double lung transplant, he was poor as a church mouse but was rich in spirit and loved playing his music above all. I would think his passing and life would merit a mention by anyone of numerous San Francisco, Press Democrat, Bohemian and other paper’s columnists, radio personalities, a glowing obituary and a big send off from Sonoma County.

For every local musical luminary such as the highly respected and much lauded Tom Waits, Jack Blades (Night Ranger), Chris Hayes (Huey Lewis), Les Claypool (Primus), Mickey Hart (Grateful Dead, Planet Drum etc), Vince Welnick (Tubes, Grateful Dead), to name but a few, there are dozens of guys like “Muddy” who work hard all of their lives making a local music scene happen. I was not an “intimate” but I can provide anyone of you who is interested some contact numbers to learn more about this “character” who has departed from our musical community and who will be sorely missed. The musical fabric of Sonoma County is weaker today for the loss of “Muddy Rivers”.

Thank you.

Raymond Jax

The Matalan UK TV commercial with LOUIE LOUIE

Theo of the LouieLouie Pages reported on yet another TV commercial that uses LOUIE LOUIE:

the Matalan TV commercial

While on holiday in the UK these last few weeks I stumbled upon yet another new TV commercial using Louie Louie. It’s from some clothing stores chain called Matalan. It uses an edit from the Kingsmen’s version. It’s still broadcasted on ITV1, a commercial British station and for those who can receive it: most chance to see it is before the 8 o’clock news.

View the ad by clicking here.