RIP: Alex Trebek + Holly Cara Price (double cancer whammy)

I’ve been trying not to turn the LOUIE Report into an obituary webpage. Sadly, we keep losing people, and I do feel the need to acknowledge people that made a difference.

Today, it’s all about two people that just lost their long battle with cancer in the past few days. As I’m still adjusting with the recent cancer death of my own brother, it all feels too painfully familiar…

Alex Trebek was the prominent celebrity TV show host that went public with his condition, announcing on March 15, 2019 that he had been diagnosed with stage IV pancreatic cancer.

Sadly, we lost Alex on Sunday, November 8th.

The Vintage Los Angeles Facebook page shared this fine memory + photograph that connected Alex with pop music.

Before he was the man with all the answers on the long-running U.S. game show Jeopardy!, Alex Trebek was a familiar face — and voice — to many CBC programs in the 1960s including a music program in 1963 on CBC in Toronto, called ‘Music Hop’ !! Later on, he hosted his first knowledge-based game show called ‘Reach For The Top’

… and as my pal Stretch Riedle pointed out, there was more than a few LOUE LOUIE moments on the Jeopardy TV show.

Here’s one of those moments from Season 14, episode 1, which aired on September 1, 1997.

Bravo to Dan Melia for knowing this one.

I saw a lot of great tributes to Alex Trebek. There was a lot of love shared for his work, as he was awarded a Guinness World Record for “the most gameshow episodes hosted by the same presenter (same program)” for his multi-decade association with Jeopardy.

I think Neil deGrasse Tyson said it best.

A keepsake from my several appearances in video Daily Doubles.
And now, one last clue:
KNOWLEDGE for $1,000
Answer:
“He nurtured a Television safe-space for smart people”
Question:
“Who was Alex Trebek (1940-2020) ?”
Farewell, patron saint of geeks. Jeopardy host since 1984

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Holly Cara Price was a good friend of the LOUIE documentary project.

When she was working with Steve Van Zandt on the Little Steven’s Underground Garage radio show, she reached out to us for a special LOUIE LOUIE show they did in 2003. We provided some rare versions that were aired on this show (#84), which included a nice mention of our efforts.

We kept in touch over the years, connecting on both MySpace and Facebook, as well as an actual meeting in New York back in 2008. She’s been an excellent resource, connecting us with some of her wonderful friends.

She was diagnosed with stage IV metastatic breast cancer in April 2011, the week of her birthday.

She wrote about her experience with what she called “The Big See” a few times for Huffpost and created a GoFundMe account.

Welcome to Cancer Land – April 22, 2015
The Summer of Me – June 9, 2015
The Big See: Living With Metastatic Breast Cancer – October 14, 2015

I’m so very saddened she lost her battle on Saturday.

She was definitely one of the good people, and it hurts that she’s gone.

My heart goes out to her family and friends.

Did I mention how much I hate cancer?

– E.P. of LouieLouie.net
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Reference Links:

wikipedia – Alex Trebek
Vintage Los Angeles Facebook page
Jeopardy Archive – Show #2986 – Monday, September 1, 1997
Facebook page of Neil deGrasse Tyson
Facebook page of Holly Cara Price
Holly’s Stage IV Cancer Campaign on GoFundMe

October musings on the dearly-departed of 2020

photo © Eric Predoehl

2020 has been an extremely difficult year.

We’ve lost jobs.

We’ve lost restaurants, nightclubs, theaters and community watering holes.

We’ve lost record stores, book stores and art galleries.

We’ve lost the ability to celebrate in large gatherings.

We’ve even lost a lot of civility that used to exist in the United States.

The most difficult losses of 2020 had to do with the loss of good people.

Here’s a list of people that made a difference to yours truly.

We’ve already mentioned the passing of Lynn Easton of the Kingsmen, John Prine, Danny Mihm of Flamin’ Groovies, KFJC DJ Roy Ross/Pete Dixon, Young Jesse (aka Obediah Donnell “Obie” Jessie), Little Richard, Bonnie Pointer, Boston DJ Arnie Ginsburg, composer Ennio Morricone, Pat O’Day, and Toots Hibbert.

Here’s the update…
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A few weeks ago, we lost Eddie Van Halen, a rock ‘n’ roll guitar player who discovered new ways to play guitar, which in turn, inspired lots of kids to pick up a guitar to replicate his chops. Who would have guessed that a Dutch-Indonesian kid that came to the USA at the age of 7 years old without knowing a word of English, would somehow grow up to become an iconic American rockstar?

I tried to find a recording of Van Halen performing LOUIE LOUIE, but had no luck whatsoever. The closest I came to that was a 2008 video clip of baccalaureate recital medley by Russell Gates that featured Chopin’s “Fantasie Impromptu,” the Star Wars theme song, LOUIE LOUIE, Vince Guaraldi’s “Linus and Lucy” composition, and Van Halen’s “Right Here Right Now.”

I have no idea who took this photo of Eddie, which I’d gladly credit if I had access to that information. Awesome photo!!

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We lost Jeanette Baker in May. She had a big hit in 1958 with “Hey Boy – Hey Girl”, a duet she did with Oscar McLollie, which was re-recorded by Louis Prima and Keely Smith. She was married to Johnny Flamingo, and they were both dear friends of Richard Berry, author of LOUIE LOUIE.

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Gaynel Hodge was another good friend of Richard Berry. In fact, he became Richard’s first friend when they first attended Jefferson High School in Los Angeles. Gaynel Hodge, along with Curtis Williams and Jesse Belvin, wrote the song “Earth Angel,” which became a big hit for the Penguins in 1954. Gaynel was also a founding member of the Platters, and had an extensive career writing and recording with a ton of other prominent musicians. He died in June at his home in the Netherlands. On YouTube, you can see an interview with Gaynel conducted by Tom Meros, where he discusses his extensive career, which includes his friendship with Richard (at 8:03 mark)

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Phil May, the lead singer for the band Pretty Things, passed away in May. The Pretty Things were an English rock band that began in 1963 when Phil linked up with Dick Taylor, a guitarist/bassist that recently quit the Rolling Stones. They were both art students in London that decided to form a band, which they named after a Willie Dixon song. While the band may not have had the commercial success of their peers, they had a seriously dedicated fanbase. There once was a YouTube audio clip of their performance of LOUIE LOUIE from the “Rockin’ the Garage” CD, but that was removed ages ago.

If you’d like to learn more about Phil May, I would highly recommend that you pick up the latest issue of UGLY THINGS magazine (#54), which is dedicated to Phil May.

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Hal Wilner recorded a lot of great music, including some mind-blowing tribute albums and some of the most inspired televised musical collaborations ever shared with a national audience. I”m not sure if he ever produced a version of LOUIE LOUIE, but if he did, I have no doubt it would have been awesome.
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Michael Spohn was a friend of the LOUIE / OctaLouie video production team, providing support for our various concert productions.
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Original photo of Andy + Terri by Brenda Opp/ tweaked+ enhanced by E.P. of LouieLouie.net

Andy Average and Terri Groat-Ellner were two of the quirkiest, charismatic and absolutely lovable characters to emerge from the San Jose punk rock retro roots white trash art underground scene, even if they did bail on the town, and run away to New Orleans over 10 years ago.

a few examples of artwork created by Terri Groat Ellner for Metro Newspapers

Terri was an ultra-talented graphic artist that designed some unforgettable music flyers, eye-opening record cover art, and with her longtime regular gig at the Metro newspaper during 1980s-1990s, provided some catchy illustrations that added an extra sparkle to that weekly publication.

Andy was a poet, a DJ and a singer in an early 80’s punk rock band known as The Retorts. He called himself “Andy Average,” but Andrew Ellner was anything but average. Funny, brilliant, caring.. are just a few of the adjectives you could use to describe this cat, who was truly one of a kind.

While he didn’t like to discuss it, Andy was also a cousin of Kenn Ellner, lead singer of Count Five, a San Jose garage band that found fame in 1966 with their hit record “Psychotic Reaction.”

Together, Andy and Terri were an amazing team, two married people that deeply loved each other, and continued to inspire each other, as well those that knew them.

You can sample some of that special love with Andy’s review of Undrinkable Wines! (It’s a keeper)

Back in 1986, I somehow sweet-talked Andy to be the lead actor of a short student film I created at San Jose State about a writer and his crazy dreams. A rough version of the film was shown once during film class finals, but never shared it publicly as it lacked a proper soundtrack and special effects.

Over the years I kept in touch with Andy and Terri, who decided over 10 years ago that New Orleans was the town they wanted to live in. I talked about finishing this little film of mine, but it was one of those projects that was shelved on the proverbial back burner.

In May of this year, Andy announced to his friends on Facebook that he had Stage 3 cancer, which was updated to Stage 4 inoperable cancer a month later. When I saw this initial announcement, I decided I should either finish it now ….or never. I found my 16mm film master, and shipped it off to a film-transfer facility in Burbank, as no similar facility was open in the SF Bay Area during the covid quarantine. After approximately 3 weeks of post-production, cleaning up old edits and adding the special effects that were not available with my 1986 budget, I went about the task of creating the proper soundtrack.

With big thanks to Greg Oropeza, Joey Myers, Mike Belardes, Dave Baisa, Sharon Nicol-Bischoff and Roy Estel (Hughes), I was able to finish this film with a musical score that turned out much better than I originally planned.

On July 29th, the night that I finally finished the film, I sent a copy to Andy… not realizing he had already left us a few hours earlier…

Two months later, Terri joined Andy, which in some ways, was a perfect ending for two people that couldn’t live without each other.

Here’s the film I created with Andy, which, as I’ve noted in the opening warning statement, features “questionable appeal for all ages” with grainy images, nudity, Nazis, violence and noisy jazz.

PLEASE don’t watch it if this sort of thing offends you.

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Last year in March, I posted something about my friend Deb Merchant, who was the subject of a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds for helping her deal with cancer.

I’m deeply saddened to report that Deb lost her battle.

She was a beautiful soul with a generous spirit that was kind to humans and critters alike.


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Lastly, a death that cuts as close to home as one could ever be.

My brother Tom Predoehl died recently.

Tom was my big brother protector who looked out for his little brother. Not only did he help me get out of some serious jams, but was also responsible making sure I’ve had reliable vehicles for the past 25+ years – buying ’em, fixing ’em, and making sure they were properly maintained.

He was born in Detroit, which I swear probably enriched his blood with automotive DNA, if such a thing is even possible. He had a serious passion for automobiles, for which I was eternally grateful, as I went through a period where I somehow wound up destroying more engines than I want to think about.

As we took care of our mother in her final years, I took care of my brother after he was diagnosed up with terminal cancer earlier this year.

I was my brother’s caregiver, and the one who was there for him when he left this mortal world.

He also enjoyed LOUIE LOUIE, and was looking forward to seeing this film of mine. To say I’m gonna miss him is a massive understatement.

Rest in peace, my brother.

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As I assemble this post, I also thought about Billy Joe Shaver, Jerry Jeff Walker, Helen Reddy, Mac Davis, Bill Withers, Jerry Slick, Jorge Santana, Emitt Rhodes, Judy Dyble, Peter Green, Trini Lopez, Johnny Nash, Spencer Davis..

2020 has not been a good year.. and we have two more months to go.

Please take care.

ERIC PREDOEHL
(producer of long-awaited LOUIE documentary project and these LouieLouie.net pages)

___________________________
REFERENCE LINKS:

Facebook – Jeanette Baker
Wikipedia- Gaynel Hodge
The official Gaynel Hodge webpage
Wikipedia – The Pretty Things
Andy Average on Undrinkable Wines
LOUIE REPORT- a plea for my friends James MacLeod and Deborah Merchant
Facebook – Deborah Merchant

LOUIE comic strip – OVERBOARD (October 2020)

Just in case you missed it, the Overboard comic strip by Chip Dunham for October 16, 2020 featured a LOUIE LOUIE reference.

This is a screen capture from the official GoComics.com webpage at:
https://www.gocomics.com/overboard/2020/10/16

RIP: Toots Hibbert of the Maytals, inventor of reggae

This one hurts. We just lost Toots Hibbert of the Maytals.

Yesterday, on September 11, his family released this statement:

“It is with the heaviest of hearts to announce that Frederick Nathaniel ‘Toots’ Hibbert passed away peacefully tonight, surrounded by his family at the University Hospital of the West Indies in Kingston, Jamaica.

“The family and his management team would like to thank the medical teams and professionals for their care and diligence, and ask that you respect their privacy during their time of grief.”

I was blessed to meet and interview Toots for the LOUIE documentary project. He had an amazing voice, and could literally sing the phonebook and make it sound beautiful.

He was the first to use the term “reggae” and somehow sparked a musical revolution.

Variety provided a brief backstory of that term in a recent review for Toot’s latest album:

.. Toots is credited with giving reggae its name when he christened his 1968 song “Do the Reggay.” He has said that he changed the word “streaggae” to reggae by accident, the result of which was a Maytals song. Streggae was patois for a raggedy form of dress. Marley purportedly believed that it derived from the Latin word regi, which means king.

On the first album that Toots and the Maytals provided for Island Records– “Funky Kingston,” they recorded the first Jamaican version of LOUIE LOUIE. The initial release came out in Jamaica and the UK on the Dragon subsidiary in 1972, followed by a revised variation on the Mango subsidiary for the USA in 1975. They were the biggest music act to emerge from Jamaica at the time. Along with the help of the movie “The Harder They Come,” starring Jimmy Cliff, Toots and the Maytals, along with their friends Bob Marley and the Wailers, opened the door to a massive international audience that embraced this new music.

When Joel and Ethan Coen created their first movie, a 1984 noir murder mystery entitled “Blood Simple,” they licensed the use of Toots’ version of LOUIE LOUIE for this film. I remember talking to Richard Berry (author of LOUIE) about this movie. He told me that when he first watched this film, he heard a song that he really liked, and made a note to himself to watch the film credits to find out the name of this song. He was blown away to discover that it was HIS SONG, recorded in a way he didn’t recognize, but absolutely loved!

As the original lyrics of LOUIE LOUIE include a stanza “Me see Jamaica moon above,” it was perfect synchronicity to have Toots to record this song as a Jamaican reggae track. Among the cover recordings of this song, I’ve always considered the Toots version as one of the definitive cover versions.

In addition to performing the song many times with his Maytals, Toots has also performed LOUIE LOUIE with a handful of other prominent musicians, including the Red Hot Chili Peppers and the Dave Matthews Band.

In 2013, Toots was sidelined after a fan tossed a vodka bottle at him at a concert in Richmond, Virgina. He wound up with a concussion, and stopped performing for three years. When the assailant was brought to court, Toots asked the judge to give the man who threw the bottle a light sentence. “He is a young man, and I have heard what happens to young men in jail,” he wrote in a letter to the judge. “My own pain and suffering would be increased substantially knowing that this young man would face that prospect.” The man received a six-month sentence.

In 2016, Toots returned to the stage, which led to whirlwind of touring. In the next year, 2017, Toots and the Maytals played Coachella Fest, becoming the second reggae-based group to perform at the festival. That year, he also played at the Glastonbury Festival, and also headlined the 35th anniversary of the WOMAD UK festival.

In 2018, Toots and the Maytals launched a 50th anniversary tour with concert appearances in North America from April to August, which I was fortunate to catch when they appeared in San Jose on July 12th. That particular show was sponsored by Buddy’s Cannabis, the first time I recall such a thing ever happening in San Jose, which would have been impossible before California legalized recreational use of cannabis two years earlier. Considering how the Maytals musical career was interrupted in late 1966 when Hibbert was jailed for 18 months for possession of marijuana, that was a special thing to behold!

Toots and the Maytals recently just released their new album “Got to Be Tough,” which will be their first full-length since 2011.

My thoughts are with the family and friends of Toots.

– E.P.

REFERENCE LINKS:

Official announcement from Toots’ family on Facebook

New York Times -Toots Hibbert, a Father of Reggae, Is Dead

Variety – Legendary Reggae Singer Toots Hibbert, Frontman of the Maytals, Dies at 77

The Guardian – Toots Hibbert, pioneering reggae star, dies aged 77

Variety – Toots and the Maytals’ ‘Got to Be Tough’: Album Review

Wikipedia – Toots & the Maytals

LOUIE LOUIE in Video Games

This week has been a hectic one at ye LouieLouie.net offices, made even more stressful by the recent fires that were too close for comfort at our homebase in the San Francisco Bay Area.

It’s been a challenge to focus on the LOUIE blog, but luckily our pal Clay Stabler has shared some serious LOUIE research at the Facebook LOUIE LOUIE Party that he’s allowed us to recycle on these pages.

Thank you again, Clay! – E.P.

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PART ONE – the Licensed Hit Versions

Here’s what I’ve found for licensed versions. Are there more?
Motorhead (Rocksmith):

Joan Jett (Rocksmith):

Iggy Pop (Just Dance & Just Dance Unlimited):

Just Dance X Just Dance Unlimited (not yet released)

In the remake, the coach has a bright light blue outline. His color scheme is based off his original one…

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PART TWO – LOUIE LOUIE in video games featuring game-specific versions

First, here’s the 2004 Donkey Kong version with vocals:

The senior citizen is California Games. Here’s the original 1987 Commodore 64 version:

Originally written by Epyx for the Apple II and Commodore 64, it was eventually ported to Amiga, Apple IIGS, Atari 2600, Atari ST, MS-DOS, Genesis, Amstrad CPC, ZX Spectrum, Nintendo Entertainment System, MSX, Master System, and Atari Lynx.

Different platforms can have different versions because sound chips change over time and across manufacturers. Here are two Sega Master System versions (one with the “FM sound expansion board”):

Not sure we’ll ever have a complete set of the different California Games versions across all platforms. I’ll keep digging!

Is anyone aware of other LL video game versions?

The Louie Report of January 26, 2009 has an entry that mentions a California Games version by Jack Ely, but the link is dead. Anyone know more?
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PART THREE – LOUIE LOUIE in video games featuring player created versions

Recent video games allow players to import MIDI files into the game. Here’s an example from Lord of the Rings Online with a version by Music ‘N Mayhem at the Prancing Pony:

Terraria features an in-game instrument called the “rain song” that allows gamers to compose tunes. A “Louie Louie” version is the inevitable result!

Still looking for more ….
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… and we’ll likely be updating this post as we get more information – E.P.

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)

Identifying the first pressings of Kingsmen LOUIE LOUIE

This week, we’re sharing some of the great research our friend Clay Stabler had conducted to identify the first pressings of the 1963 Kingsmen LOUIE LOUIE recording. He’s been sharing his research notes at the LOUIE LOUIE Facebook party, so we’re going to provide some LouieLouie.net real estate as a means of sharing these details with a larger base…

To begin, we’ll start off with the initial pressings from Jerden Records, a small record label owned by Jerry Dennon.

How to tell if your Jerden 712 is an original pressing.

This 45 has had multiple repressings/bootlegs over the years. The label has always been the same, but the original is crisper and clearer — especially the small print at the right. Also, the Jerden graphic at the left is darker in the repressings. The markings in the runout area are definitive proof, though. The original has “JERDEN #30” and “JERDEN #31” hand scribed on the A/B sides. The Monarch Records sequence numbers “Δ 47668” and “Δ 47668X” are also hand scribed on the A/B sides indicating late April 1963 as the production period. The Monarch Records logo (“MR” in a circle) was not used for some reason.
Various later pressings have “JD 30” and “JD 31” on the A/B sides. On some repressings a small “340” is also present. There are also repressings on blue and pink vinyl.

Sound quality is the same on all!

This is the original label.

This is what the “30 mark looks like on an original recording.

The original pressing also has a “Δ 47668” marking, which is NOT on any of the secondary re-pressings.

This is an early repressing.

Here’s another repressing.

..and yet another …

When it became obvious that Jerden Records could not keep up with the demand, another record label made an offer to buy the recording and sign the Kingsmen to their label. That record company was Scepter Records, which released this recording on their Wand label. Founder Florence Greenberg operated this company with Marvin Schlachter.

How to tell if your Wand 143 is a first pressing.

When Wand picked up national distribution from Jerden, the Bell Sound plant in NJ did the initial pressing work. First pressings have hand inscribed matrix numbers and a small Bell Sound logo in the runout area. But you can also tell just from looking at the label layout. As shown in the DJ example below, if the text is right blocked and the “Louie Louie” line is shorter than “The Kingsmen” line, then it should be a first pressing. Many other text varieties exist for later pressings with different centering and line lengths (and also the addition of “Lead vocal by Jack Ely” and the “Louie Louie 64-65-66” reissue), but this particular label layout normally identifies a first pressing.

For completeness I should also note that another first pressing variety exists. At some point, the pressing plant ran short on 45 labels and had to use LP labels. The result is a scarcer first pressing variety that looks like this.

Here’s a first pressing stock label example with standard red lettering and without the promo language.

Red lettering is standard. Black lettering is usually used on promo copies.

There are also DJ promo examples with red lettering but black lettering seems to be exclusively used for promo items.

Here’s an example of the second pressing. At some point Wand shipped a stamper to the Monarch plant in Los Angeles for additional production. The Monarch logo (“MR” inside a circle) was added in the runout area, so this pressing has both logos. The Monarch sequence number “Δ 49965” was also added which identifies the production period as October 1963. Label text layout is also unique with centered lettering and the “Louie Louie” line longer than “The Kingsmen” line. Third pressing has other text layouts and typeset matrix numbers. Confused yet?

.. and we haven’t even gotten to the records that acknowledged Jack Ey on Vocals yet!!

As this is still very much a work in progress, we’re looking for other variations of these pressings. if you have any such pressings, please feel to contact us directly. You can reach us via “louie45” at LouieLouie.net.

UPDATE 1: Since this blog post was published, there were some minor corrections. Apparently, the “Δ 47668” marking was only on the original Jerden 45 pressing and not part of the second pressing.

RIP: Pat O’Day, NW Music Legend

Pat O’Day, the legendary Broadcaster and concert promoter of the Pacific Northwest, has passed away.

During the 1960’s he was the highest-profile disc jockey of Seattle and the region’s dominant dance promoter. He has often been credited as being the primary person responsible from bringing the Seattle music scene to national prominence during that period.

Starting off in 1956, he began by booking teen dance shows at the Astoria, Oregon National Guard Armory, which led to a whole string of other shows at various towns in Oregon and Washington State. His flagship dance club was the Spanish Castle Ballroom located on Highway 99 between Seattle and Tacoma, which was operated by Mr. O’Day from 1959 until its closing in 1964.

The Fabulous Wailers, whose rendition of LOUIE LOUIE was the archetype that inspired a few gazilion interpretations, played over 100 times for Pat O’Day at the Spanish Castle Ballroom. It’s no coincidence that the Wailers second album was recorded live “At the Castle.” The club was loved by the musicians who played there, including a young Jimi Hendrix, who would later write a song entitled “Spanish Castle Magic.”

Pat O’Day was considered the “godfather” of Seattle’s teen dance scene, and after he sold his dance club business, he expanded his operations- Pat O’Day & Associates, eventually renaming the company as Concerts West, which after merging with Kaye-Smith Enterprises, became the largest concert promoter in the world at that time.

At the Pat O’Day Wikipedia page, there was this summary of how this company initiated big changes in the music industry:

Now going by the name of Concerts West, Pat O’Day and his associates design a premium state-of-the-art executive-style service for touring bands, music artists, and their managers. The new concept centered around the fact that live music shows have many components and disparate business needs. Music artists would now be free to concentrate on their music and performances, and the managers could spend more time looking after the artist and their future. All aspects of the shows would be handled by CW. Logistics; air travel, limousines and motels, venues and halls, ticketing and box office, trucking, sound, lights, catering and security—as well as all aspects of promotion; advertising & press, special appearances, and the printing of tickets, CW even acted as comptroller and a central point for the handling of all monies and disbursements (CW typically taking 10-20 percent of net proceeds). All clients were guaranteed that at least one of CW’s principals would be present at every concert. Due to this guarantee and his other responsibilities at various radio stations, Pat O’Day has to work seven days per week.

Pat O’Day had a very diverse career, which included ownership of various radio and TV stations, eventually retiring from the entertainment industry to focus on real estate ventures.

In 1998 a plaque featuring Pat O’Day with a photograph of him was added to the permanent disc jockey exhibit at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Museum in Cleveland, Ohio.

According to his family, he died peacefully at his home on San Juan Island. He was 85 years old.

Pat O’Day is surrounded by members of the Kingsmen, celebrating the release of their new record in 1964 – Jolly Green Giant.

REFERENCE LINKS:
Wikipedia- Pat O’Day
Seattle PI – Pat O’Day obituary
KIRO 7 – Pat O’Day obituary

A Midsummer Update (the 2020 edition)

(from Louis Restaurant Facebook page)

In the city of San Francisco, Geary is a major thoroughfare that runs almost 6 miles east–west, starting off downtown at Market Street, running westbound through the Civic Center area, cutting through what used to be the Fillmore district, with a majority of the street running through the predominantly residential Richmond District before transitioning itself into Point Lobos Avenue around 48th Avenue, which quickly intersects at the Great Highway, providing one of the most spectacular views ever seen of the Pacific Ocean.

It’s at this area where two iconic restaurants are located. One of the restaurants is the Cliff House, a spectacular looking building that had six major incarnations since its inception in 1858. The other restaurant is Louis’ Restaurant, a rather casual diner that’s been owned and operated by one family for 83 years.

Sadly, the corona virus and coordinated efforts to minimize the dangers of this mysterious disease have taken a toll on these restaurants and so many other things we hold precious.

On July 13, Louis’ Restaurant announced it was shutting down permanently, having shut down on March 16th for what they thought would be a temporary closure. A few days later on July 20, the Cliff House also announced they would be shutting down, for what they hoped be a temporary measure.

This is the sort of thing that feels all too common these days, both nationally and internationally, as multitudes of businesses cannot afford to be shut down during this terrible pandemic. Nightclubs, theaters, record stores, bookstores, health clubs and so many other businesses are feeling the pain. In an environment where a business need to “swim or sink,” way too many businesses are drowning.

Last year when I visited the Seattle-Tacoma area to follow up on the LOUIE documentary work, I made a point of visiting three prominent record stores. All three of those record stores – Golden Oldies of Tacoma, Rocket Records of Tacoma and Bop Street Records of Seattle have shut down within the past three months.

For many of us, record stores are the sanctuaries we visit to be amongst kindred spirits. We often find healing and inspiration in unlikely places, be it a vintage Bo Diddley 45 single or a brand new recording by some kid that just shared their masterpiece on a homemade CD being sold on consignment at a local store.

Losing Golden Oldies really hurts. Jeff’s been a great friend, and has provide some solid support for the documentary project. in a perfect world i would have loved to have seen his store transformed into a museum. That being said, I’m glad he’s got his eBay stores – one to sell music-related merchandise and another to sell cool pop culture kitsch.

I wish I had visited this place sooner. It really was an amazing resource. My jaw more than a few times in this place.

My friend Ray Michelsen recommended this place, and I’m glad I visited it. Not did I find some wonderful quirky pop music I didn’t have before, but after I told owner Steve Gaydich about my production, he donated some unique items for the project.

In addition to the restaurant workers and record stores, there’s also the professional musicians, nightclub operators, and associated stagehands that we need to consider.

These folks just lost their livelihoods.

Dave Alvin shared some solid words on this very subject via his Facebook page:

In the late 60s, George Carlin had a comedy bit where he imitated a TV newsperson saying, “This just in…The big bands are coming back! Thats right folks, the big bands are coming back! There’s NO PLACE for them to play but the big bands are coming back.” Sadly, due to the Coronavirus, this joke could come to be a tragic reality. Not only for the remaining big bands but for rock and roll bands, blues blasters, punk shouters, singer-songwriters, psychedelic visionaries, folk strummers, honky tonk combos and just about any musical act playing whatever musical style. The huge concert arenas are owned by big corporations and they’ll survive so eventually The Rolling Stones, U2, Beyonce or Springsteen will be back on stage doing what they do best. For the rest of us musicians, though, we depend mostly on small independent music venues. These threatened clubs are where the artist and audience come together in a true sense of shared community, where we can experiment, grow artistically, make mistakes or beautiful perfect noise and somehow survive doing what we love for the people we love in the venues we love. Please take a moment to check out this important group of independent venues who are fighting to keep their doors open so that when this pandemic is a thing of the past (not soon enough unfortunately) musicians can finally get back to work. Please don’t let Mr. Carlin’s joke become a reality for all of us.

On the NIVA – National Independent Venue Association Facebook page, there’s a call for action.

The #SaveOurStages bill and the RESTART Act, if passed, would help preserve the music ecosystem in our local communities. Your favorite independent venues need your help RIGHT NOW! Help us survive, so we can once again thrive. Go to saveourstages.com and let your legislators know how important independent venues, promoters, and festivals are to you.

These are very difficult times we are living in. If you can reach out, and provide some support for those that are hurting, that would be a very good thing right now.

… and PLEASE, PLEASE PLEASE… wear a mask if you are mingling with the public.

Failing to wear mask in public merely EXTENDS the misery of this rotten pandemic.

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Reference Links:
Louis’ Restaurant – official webpage
Louis’ Restaurant – official Facebook page
Cliff House – official Facebook page
Wikipedia – Cliff House
NIVA – National Independent Venue Association – Facebook page
SaveOurStages.com
Dave Alvin – Facebook message on #SaveOurStages bill and the RESTART Act

RIP: Ennio Morricone, composer of magnificent soundtracks

On Monday, we lost Ennio Morricone, a brilliant composer of many magnificent soundtracks. Morricone created over 400 scores for film and television, as well as over 100 classical pieces. His most famous creation, the score to “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly” is considered one of the most influential soundtracks in history and was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame. In 2007, he received the Academy Honorary Award “for his magnificent and multifaceted contributions to the art of film music.” He was nominated for a further six Oscars, and in 2016, received his only competitive Academy Award for his score to Quentin Tarantino‘s film “The Hateful Eight,” at the time becoming the oldest person ever to win a competitive Oscar. His other achievements include three Grammy Awards, three Golden Globes, six BAFTAs, ten David di Donatello, eleven Nastro d’Argento, two European Film Awards, the Golden Lion Honorary Award and the Polar Music Prize in 2010.

Some of you may be asking …. “What connection would Ennio Morricone have to the song LOUIE LOUIE?”

Luckily, Owen Gleiberman provided the answer to that very question with his celebration of Mr. Morricone in Monday’s Variety.

That said, if I had to choose my favorite Morricone score, apart from the spaghetti Westerns (which I absolutely think are his greatest), it would be the magnificent opening theme music he composed for “Burn!,” a 1969 colonial drama directed by Gillo Pontecorvo that stars Marlon Brando as a British secret agent who foments and manipulates a slave uprising in the Caribbean. The music that opens the film starts off as a single-note organ melody that turns into a stately chant that turns into a slow-groove island hymn that turns into a soaring choral version of “Louie Louie” that turns into the most ecstatic revolutionary anthem this side of “Lift Every Voice and Sing.” You could say that it’s completely uncharacteristic of Morricone, except for one thing: the way it burns itself, forever, into your heart.

Here’s a link to that song..

… and a quick sampler of his most famous compositions.

With big thanks once again to our pal Clay Stabler, who spotted this one!

By the way, the featured graphic of Mr. Morricone is an illustration by my friend Jim Blanchard, who’s done some remarkable work over the years. If you’d like more of his work, which includes some awesome images of Little Richard, Lennny Bruce, John Coltrane, Frank Zappa, Willie Nelson, Richard Nixon and lot of other great pop icons, be sure to visit Jim’s official website at jimblanchard.com.

REFERENCE LINKS:

Wikipedia – Ennio Morricone|

Variety -Ennio Morricone: His Incandescent Film Scores Made the Past Feel Present

JimBlanchard.com