Thinking of Toots, pandemics and misplaced LOUIEs

This has been a challenging year, to put it mildly. The world is experiencing a pandemic unlike any other, and there’s some radical changes taking place that could permanently alter the way society deals with public events, with scary repercussions for those in the music industry. The death count for those infected by covid-19 continues to rise, and in the USA we have highly divisive political battles about the science of dealing with this terrible disease.

Just to add more to the misery index, Frederick “Toots” Hibbert of Toots and the Maytals is in the hospital right now. A few days ago on his Facebook page, it was announced that he entered an intensive care unit at a private facility “receiving the best possible treatment, while he awaits the results on his COVID-19 test.” Today, I read reports about Toots being in an induced coma.

If you believe in the power of prayer, please send all of your prayers to Toots right now for a speedy recovery. He is a musical treasure, and we don’t want to lose him.

In the meantime, the LOUIE documentary project continues to move forward. In the course of continuing to organize the archive, I found a handful of forgotten treasures.

One of those treasures was “Retro Sketches: A Musical Director Remembers,” an autobiographical book written by Jay Snyder of the band Euphorias Id, a popular New England garage band that existed from 1963 until 1966. Jay sent this book to me years ago, and somehow it slipped through the cracks.

The book is a charming little book with a lot of musical anecdotes – opening up for Herman’s Hermits during their height of fame, getting a haircut from Elvis Presley‘s spiritual advisor, playing music with Big Mama Thornton, and a lot of other stories, including a special LOUIE LOUIE memory involving Richard Berry.

There’s also an especially poignant memory shared of Ron Wilson of the Surfaris in a chapter entitled “Wipeout Drummer”, includes a crisp graphic of the artwork for his final recording- his “Lost In the Surf” cassette album, which just happened to include THAT SONG we know and love. Jay discusses receiving a copy of this cassette from Ron along with a handwritten note with suggestions regarding one of Jay’s projects, and they talked about collaborating in the near future. A few months later, Ron died suddenly, leaving Jay with the quintessential reminder that that if you want to work with someone, you need to make the time to make it happen, as “the ultimate wipeout can hit at any moment.”

(Yes, dedicated LL archivists should probably buy this one)

Speaking of THAT SONG, my friend Clay Stabler reminded me of a certain snow / water globe sold by University of Washington about twenty years ago, of which our friend Mike Hintze shared a video of on YouTube some thirteen years ago.

Anyone got an extra or two they could part with? Operators are standing by.

Meanwhile, here’s some clips to celebrate the music of Toots & the Maytals and Ron Wilson’s Safaris!

REFERENCE LINKS:

Toots & Maytals Facebook announcement
Jamaica Star – Toots now in medically induced coma
Wikipedia – Euphoria’s Id
Retro Sketches: A Musical Director Remembers (the Amazon link)

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