by Eric Predoehl
first posted September 17, 2001 (all rights reserved)
THE TOP 11 AND MORE...
THE VOICE OF THE
Before I bring up the top eleven LOUIEs of Mid-2001,
I'd like to let you know about Ross Wilson. You
might be asking yourself, "Just who is Ross Wilson,
anyways?" In his press package, I quote:
"ROSS WILSON is probably
the only person in Australian rock music who can't
make a comeback - simply because he's never been away.
In a career that spans over
30 years, Ross has always been active. Either as a
singer/performer, songwriter, or producer, Ross has
managed to remain one of this country's most respected
"Ross Wilson has come
a long way since 1964 when he fronted The Pink
Finks, a schoolboy R&B band. They recorded
'Louie Louie' a bona fide garage record and possibly
Australia's first independent single. The disc charted
in Melbourne leading to a record deal & 3 more
singles being released, while he was still at school!"
Ross just came out with a new CD entitled "Go
Bongo Go Wild!" It's a catchy release, and
I especially like the title cut, which mixes rock and
roll with something of a bossa nova beat. While there
is no new rendition of LOUIE LOUIE on this release,
it's music worth hearing. And if, that weren't enough,
a new retrospective 2CD collection 'Now Listen!'
is scheduled for release Nov 5, featuring a re-mastered
version of the Pink Finks 'Louie Louie.'
You read more about Ross Wilson at:
The TOP 11 LOUIE RUNDOWN of
Like clockwork, I continue to find new recordings of
LOUIE LOUIE, or in some cases, they seem to find me.
I suppose when someone dedicates a big part of their
life researching information for a comprehensive documentary
on the song, and then creates a titled "LouieLouie.net,"
it would be perfectly natural to stumble across new
recordings on a fairly regular basis. Here are the Top
11 recordings of LOUIE LOUIE that I've stumbled across,
or somehow re-embraced within the last 12 months.
Why 11 versions? It's better than 10! This one goes
#1 DAFFY DAVE- GIT DOWN & FUNNY!
How I discovered the Daffy Dave CD is yet another
example of goofball synchronicity in the LOUIE universe.
My friend Stretch Riedle, one of the original
orchestraters of the KFJC 63 hour "Maximum Louie
Louie" marathon that inspired me to produce
the ever-challenging LOUIE LOUIE documentary, happens
to be an owner of a record store in Palo Alto, California.
Now, Stretch usually has a very precise eye for LOUIE
LOUIE related items, as he continues to expand on his
collection, the largest known assortment of LOUIE LOUIE
recordings in the world. Every used record, CD, and
cassette that comes into the store is carefully scrutinized
for performances of the song "LOUIE LOUIE."
He's discovered some truly amazing renditions, and is
the only person I know of that actually has a tattoo
on his body with the phrase "LOUIE LOUIE."
How I pulled one over on him in his own store is truly
CD Land is a modest little store in Palo Alto,
located a few miles from Stanford University. One day,
I happened to be browsing around areas in the store
that I don't normally visit. I don't know why I looked
in the children's section, as I have no children (that
I know of), but I happened to be in that area, and I
found a CD by a guy named "Daffy Dave." Thinking
that this CD might be a tribute to the talents of the
late, great Mel Blanc, I take a look at the song
list, and find a song called "Pharaoh Pharaoh."
Sure enough, my intellectual antenna goes off, as I
recall some correspondence that mentions a religious
re-write of LOUIE LOUIE to embrace Christian theology.
Up until now, I've never seen a recording of "Pharaoh
Pharaoh," and I'm thinking "This can't possibly
be what I'm thinking it is, certainly not in Stretch's
So, I ask Stretch if there's an open copy of this release
by this guy, who's actually a local performer, and luckily,
there's one behind the counter for in-store-play. I
plop the little silver disc into a listening station,
and sure enough, I hear a familiar set of three chords.
Credited as a traditional song by "Richard Perry,"
I've stumbled onto yet another version, completely by
accident. While some folks have written to tell me of
"Pharaoh Pharaoh," this is the first time
I've ever heard an audio recording of this inspired
This release by Daffy Dave, entitled "Git Down
& Funny!" is an eclectic assortment of
songs and stories for children of all ages. In addition
to the new variation of LOUIE LOUIE, there's also a
rendition of the Talking Heads' "Psycho
Chicken," Lead Belly's "Cottonfields,"
and some songs about twinkies, candy bars, nursery rhymes,
and Elvis. You can get your copy by accessing
Dave's at http://www.daffydave.com.
#2 THE BLUESCASTERS- BANNED IN SOHO
How I discovered this recording is one of those goofball
moments in time where everything in the universe just
seems to make perfect sense. In October 2000, I was
in London with MEANING OF LOUIE co-producer Jesse
Block as part of a video production team for the
"Next 20 Years" technology conference. After
we finished our assignment, we spent a few days exploring
this wonderful city that neither of us knew. While we
were in town, I made a point of contacting Ace Records,
as I had been in contact with that company to set up
an arrangement where they might be able to pick up the
Flip Records catalog, and I would be able to
use the original recordings in my documentary. On October
4th, we visited the offices of Ace Records, and discovered
that they did indeed complete the deal to purchase the
Flip Records estate. As luck would have it, I was able
to inspect the original tape master of Richard Berry's
original recording of the song that changed the world.
Who would have ever guessed that I'd be in London, holding
the original master for this song, some thousands of
miles from the recording session in Los Angeles? Certainly
That evening, Jesse and I wandered the streets of Soho,
and stumbled across a little nightclub known as "Jazz
After Dark." The band for the evening was a
local group called The Bluescasters. We decided
to pay a modest admission to see what type of talent
was at work in the heart of London. As the band had
just taken a break, I decided to take a look at what
type of product the band might be selling. I'm looking
at the song selections on their CD product, and I happen
to discover LOUIE LOUIE as track #10, wedged between
songs by B.B. King, Otis Rush, Peter
Green, and Jimi Hendrix! I'm absolutely amazed
at this synchronicity, and I strike up a conversation
with Ray Nash, the lead singer and guitarist
for the band. As it turns out, he actually discovered
my webpage while preparing for this CD, and decided
to record the song soon after! As the band returns to
the stage, they perform a special selection, dedicated
to their new friends from America! That night, I continue
to pinch myself, and confirm that indeed, I wasn't dreaming
The CD is actually pretty good. You can order the CD
and get your own copy. Those
embarrassed by the sexy cover can order the
plain cover edition.
#3 THE ALARM CLOCKS- YEAH!
Norton Records is truly an oasis of great sounds
amidst the sea of mediocre product masquerading as music.
Created by Billy Miller and Miriam Linna,
publishers of the late, great KICKS magazine,
Norton Records has provided a safe haven for obscure
rhythm & blues, forgotten garage rock, and greasy
love ballads. Digging into the past, Norton has uncovered
another treasure chest of golden garage gemstones with
the release of The Alarm Clocks "Yeah!"
album on both compact disc and precious 12" vinyl.
Labeled as "savage 1966 Ohio garage raunch,"
this collection features 12 great tracks, including
one inspired rendition of THAT SONG. While you really
should be able to obtain this recording at your friendly
neighborhood record store, it might be easier to order
it directly from Norton, whose website is at http://www.nortonrecords.com.
#4 SUB-MERSIANS- RAW LOVE SONGS FROM MY GARAGE....etc,
My friend Stretch is truly a LOUIE-aholic, and
this CD reaffirms this addiction. Not satisfied with
merely collecting LOUIE recordings, he often records
the song with different bands. In 1987(?), he was a
member of The Shockwaves, a popular San Francisco
Bay Area surf band that appeared on Rhino Record's
"Best of Louie Louie- Volume 2." Returning
to the scene of the crime, so to speak, he's got a new
surf band known as the Sub-Mersians that continues
the tradition with a new rendition of the song. On a
CD with the rather lengthy title of "Raw Love
Songs From My Garage to Your Bedroom to Save the Cave
Train," is a recording of that song, with the
altered title of "Crack Louie." Don't ask
me why he retitled this way he did, but if you act now,
you'll be able to obtain a copy of this rather limited
CD release. Available exclusively at his CD LAND retail
store and local performances, you could probably order
a copy from Stretch if you ask him nicely by sending
an email: [email protected]
#5 SEASONAL FAVORITES- VOLUME 1 (EBENEZER SCROOGE APPRECIATION
There aren't too many Christmas songs that utilize
the LOUIE LOUIE melody, and until this one came out,
the only other one I could think of was "Christmas
Christmas" by Mojo Nixon, which appeared
on the Rhino Records collection "Punk Rock
Christmas." On a Christmas compilation from Double
Crown Records, entitled "SEASONAL FAVORITES-
VOLUME 1," there's a hodge-podge surf medley
combining "Hang On Sloopy," "Louie Louie"
and "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer." The
end result is something called "Hang On Rudolph,"
credited to a band known as the EBENEZER SCROOGE
APPRECIATION SOCIETY. Those that like their LOUIEs
shaken AND stirred, will love this mutant mix of songs.
Some of the other bands on this compilation include
Girl Trouble, Jon & the Nightriders,
The Neptunas, The Boss Martians, and a
bunch of talented rockers. You pick this one up by logging
onto the record label site at http://www.dblcrown.com.
#6 SPECTRUM- PLAYS THE BLUES (aka "SPILL")
From the other side of the world, we were treated once
again to yet another rendering of the song. For over
thirty years, Mike Rudd & Bill Putt
have been a part of the musical heritage of Australia,
performing in such bands as Spectrum, The
Indelible Murtceps, and Ariel. Reuniting
in 1995, after a ten-year hiatus, Mike Rudd & Bill
Putt re-assembled as a duo, which led to a reunion of
their original band, Spectrum. Revisiting the music
that inspired them, they released an album entitled
"Spectrum Plays the Blues," aka "Spill."
With guest appearances by other famous Australians,
including Colin Hay of Men At Work, Spectrum
assembled an album of originals, blues classics by Wilie
Dixon, Robert Johnson, Howlin' Wolf,
and one very popular party song known as "LOUIE
LOUIE." Like the Bluescasters, this rendition of
the song treats the song as a blues song, performed
with non-American dialect. You can order their CD directly
from the band by sending an email to: [email protected]
or [email protected].
#7 THE GEL CAPS- TAKE TWO
When Richard Berry began his recording career,
he started off in a little vocal group that was formed
at Jefferson High School in Los Angeles, California.
The year was 1953, and all five members were 16 years
old, attending their third year in high school. That
group became the Flairs, which also featured
Cornelius Gunther, Obie Jessie, Thomas
Fox, and Beverly Thompson, which turned into
one of the successful DooWop groups from the Central
Avenue region. Four years later, Richard decided to
stretch beyond his DooWop roots with a Calypso-inspired
rocker that he put on the flip side of his release of
"You Are My Sunshine." That song was, of course,
Over 40 years later, a Michigan acapella group known
as The Gel Caps decided to bring "LOUIE
LOUIE" back to it's DooWop roots with the release
of their album "TAKE TWO." Embracing
the spirit of DooWop music, The Gel Caps recorded their
version of Richard's famous LOUIE, along with some inspired
renderings of songs by the Beatles, Frank
Zappa, and Clarence Carter, among others.
You can order a copy of this charming release by logging
onto their website at: http://www.thegelcaps.com.
#8 JOHN RENO- TOTAL RENNOVATION
It's always nice when someone sends me new LOUIE, and
I'll have to thank Art Perry of WKHS FM <http://www.toad.net/~wkhs>
for providing me with some info about John Reno.
John Reno is a musician that works in Calypso/Limbo/Jimmy-Buffet-style
of rock, and was actually named as "One of America's
Hottest Acts" by Campus Activities Today,
an important organization, I'm sure. He put out a CD
titled "TOTAL RENNOVATION" that features
THAT SONG, and other great party songs. As with most
of the artists mentioned, John also has a website which
is simply: http://www.johnreno.com.
#9 THE NEW ORIGINAL SONIC SOUND
When I attended the pre-grand opening of the Experience
Music Project of Seattle last year, I was blown
away by a cover band known as The New Strychinies.
Embracing the hard-edged sound of the original Sonics,
this group is a who's-who of later-day Northwest Rock,
featuring Scott McCaughey of The Young Fresh
Fellows, Bill Henderson of Girl Trouble,
Tom Price of Gas Huffer, and Steve,
Mark and Dan of Mudhoney. As the
Sonics will probably never reunite for any public performances,
this group provided a nice tribute that embraced the
raw sound of the originals. According to Barry Curtis
of the Kingsmen, who I ran into that night,
these guys sounded just like the real thing.
I wish I could tell you that The New Strychinies would
be embarking on a major tour to bring "The Witch","
Psycho," "Boss Hoss," and other great
Sonics songs to the masses, but I'd be a liar if I said
so. This particular band is pretty much a Seattle-based
band created just for fun. Luckily, these guys did record
a superb CD that captures the essence of their rather
limited engagements, produced by Kurt Bloch of
The Fastbacks. The final song on their CD, entitled
"The New Original Sonic Sound," is
of course, "LOUIE LOUIE." On this particular
rendition, the spirit of the Sonics is recycled, with
some extra lyrics borrowed from the Black Flag
rendition that asks the rhetorical question "Who
needs love if you got a gun?" This CD was released
by the BOOK RECORD Company, which claims to use the
www.bookrecords.com webpage, but I had
absolutely no luck accessing this site.
#10 PHIL MILSTEIN on AMERICA THE BEAUTIFUL
My friend Phil Milstein is a man that loves
music of an unusual nature, and his interpretation of
the song, titled simply "LOUIE," is a very
creative rendition that defies most of the normal rules
of music. Some folks would probably think that Phil's
version isn't really music, but noise personified. I,
on the other hand, absolutely love his mutant mix of
the song that lumps a bunch of LOUIE LOUIEs into a dense
wall of orchestrated chaos. In 1994, RR Records was
assembling a compilation that celebrated the theme of
"America the Beautiful," and they asked
Phil, as well as Negativland, Neil Hamburger,
Lee Renaldo, Goosewind, Vampire Rodents,
and various other audio artists to contribute compositions
that reflected on the question "What does America
mean to you?" Using one of the great icons of American
music as a starting point, Phil created an amazing piece
that reflects on the complicated country that is America.
If you would like to get a copy of the 2 CD set from
RR Records entitled "America the Beautiful,"
you should drop a line to RR Records, 151 Paige Street,
Lowell, MA 01852, and ask if this collection is still
available. Otherwise, you can pester Phil at his own
to see if he might offer this recording separately.
I wrote up this little review before the insanity on
9/11, and I'm a little nervous about mentioning it.
This is not a compilation that would appeal to most Amercan consumers.
Nonetheless, I still think the 2-CD collection is a
significant compilation, and I do recommend it.
By the way, you might want to keep your eyes open for
Roctober magazine. In the latest issue, they
print Phil's interview with Arthur Lee Maye,
who was a very good friend to Richard Berry.
Arthur Lee Maye had a fascinating career as both a musician
and major league baseball player. Check out the Roctober
#11 TONY WORSLEY AND THE FABULOUS BLUE JAYS
A tip of the hat goes out to Ross Wilson for
pointing out another great version of this song from
his homeland of Australia. The Blue Jays were
another great rock band from Australia during the 1960's
that was pretty much unknown outside of their country.
Tony Worsley was a transplanted Brit with a talent
that led some folks to call him "Brisbane's Beatle."
On the 2-CD collection, "Ready, Steady, Go!"
we hear a cross section of music from this dynamic Australian
band that existed from 1959 until 1969. This collection
includes their version of "LOUIE LOUIE" which
was actually sung by Paul Shannon, the sax player.
You can order this CD directly from Tony Worsley, whose
email address is: [email protected].
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All images & words
copyright 1999-2003 Eric Predoehl / OCTALOUIE, LLC,
except as noted. All rights reserved. The term "LOUIE
LOUIE" is a registered trademark of RMB, Inc, a
company owned by The Kingsmen, the band recognized for turning
the song into the monster icon heard all over the world.