RIP: Keith Allison of Paul Revere & Raiders and MORE…

Last week we lost Keith Allison, formerly of Paul Revere & the Raiders. Like Gail Harris (of the Fabulous Wailers), I can’t recall either one of them being involved with any specific LOUIE LOUIE recording, but as a member of their respective bands, I have no doubt they probably participated in some of the live performances of that song.

Here’s the official word on Keith’s passing, direct from his Facebook page:

Keith Allison
August 26, 1942 – November 17, 2021

It is with deep sadness we announce the untimely passing of Keith Allison on the evening of November 17, 2021, at home in Sherman Oaks, California.

Born Sydney Keith Allison on August 26, 1942, in Coleman, Texas, and raised in San Antonio. Keith Allison was a multi-talented songwriter, musician, singer and actor with a long list of credits. Keith knew everyone, and everyone loved Keith.

Keith Allison recorded and performed with some of the biggest names and acts such as Roy Orbison, Ringo Starr, Sonny & Cher, The Beach Boys, The Righteous Brothers, Chuck Berry, Paul Revere & The Raiders, The Monkees, Boyce & Hart, Harry Nilsson, Alice Cooper, Rick Nelson, The Crickets and Johnny Rivers just to name a few. He also appeared in many movies and TV shows as an actor and musician.

Keith Allison has been entertaining since the late 50’s where he was in local bands and club performances with Clarence (Gatemouth) Brown, Doug Sahm, Augie Meyer performing in the Keith Allison Combo. Moving into the 60’s Keith was Musical Director and Guitarist for Ray Peterson from 1962-1965. In 1964-65 Keith was a member of The Crickets along with his cousin drummer Jerry Allison.

Keith’s success took off when he arrived in Los Angeles in the mid-sixties. It was at a taping for Dick Clark’s “Where The Action Is” at the Whisky A-Go-Go that really put Keith on the map, when the camera panned catching him in the shot, and the audience swore Paul McCartney was at the taping. The phone rang off the hook at Dick Clark Productions, “if not McCartney, then who was that?”. Keith was invited back to be a part of “Action” becoming a permanent cast member along with friends Paul Revere & The Raiders.

Keith contributed to a lot of memorable music including The Monkee’s self-title debut, ‘Headquarters’, ‘Head’ and co-writing “Aunties Municipal Court” with fellow Texan Michael Nesmith on ‘The Birds, The Bees, and The Monkees’. Keith played Guitar and Harmonica on Sonny & Cher’s “The Beat Goes On”. In 1967 Columbia Records signed and released the album Keith Allison ‘In Action’.

Most notable, Keith was a member of Paul Revere & The Raiders from 1968 to 1975 on bass, guitar, organ, vocals and writing credits. Keith co-wrote with Mark Lindsay “Freeborn Man”, considered one of the top bluegrass songs of all time, recorded and performed live by scores of artists.

In 1971 Keith scored the film “Where Does It Hurt?” starring Peter Sellers, as well as wrote and sung the title song. In 1974 and 1975 Keith toured with Johnny Rivers on bass and guitar. In 1976, recorded “Sail Away” with Harry Nilsson and played on Nilsson album produced by Steve Cropper.

From 1975 to 1977 Keith was on guitar and band leader for ‘Dolenz, Jones, Boyce & Hart’ and on Capitol Records album and live album “Live In Tokyo” while touring with them in Asia in 1976.

In 1977 Keith played Guitar on Ringo Starr’s “Bad Boy” followed by 1978 as musical director for Ringo Starr’s TV special “Ringo”. In 1980, Keith wrote and recorded four songs for the film “The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia” starring friend Dennis Quaid.

In the 90’s Keith went on to act in several popular television shows such as “Blossom”, “7th Heaven”, and “The Wonder Years”. In 2003 Keith played Captain James J. White in the film “Gods and Generals” starring another friend Robert Duvall.

In 2007, Keith was inducted as a member of Paul Revere & The Raiders into the Oregon Music Hall of Fame.

In 2015, Keith was inducted as an Ambassador of the Buddy Holly Foundation along with Don Everly, and was presented with a replica Buddy Holly J45 guitar presented by Jerry Allison.

In 2016, at the Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake, Iowa, Keith played guitar and sang with The Crickets for their final performance.

Since 2000, Keith has been a permanent guest member of the Waddy Wachtel Band.

Keith is survived by his wife Tina Stern of 40 years, Son Ryeland Allison, Daughters Allison Gonzalez (Husband Rob) and Brenda Meck (Husband Rich), Sister Cherri Hicks (Husband Don), Judith Allison & Don Reo, eight grandchildren Zephyr, Skyler, Gavin, Adrian, Madeline, Isabella, Makyla, Mercedes, and six great grandchildren.

A Celebration of Keith’s Life will be announced at a future date.

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Keith was originally scheduled to appear at the Mike Mitchell memorial that took place on September 26, 2021 in Portland, Oregon. Unfortunately, he was not feeling well enough to attend this event, and sent a video message instead

This may have been the last video Keith ever shared before his untimely passing.

Here’s the video of the Mike Mitchell memorial, cued up to Keith’s special message at 16:34. This is actually an unlisted and not-quite-final version of the memorial that will soon be replaced, so please don’t share the YouTube URL for this one, as it will be removed soon.

Our thoughts are with Keith’s family and friends.

Reference Links:
Keith Allison – Facebook announcement

RIP: Gail Harris, member of Fabulous Wailers revue

We are saddened to report the passing of Gail Harris, a dynamic female vocalist from the Pacific Northwest. Like Rockin’ Robin Roberts, she was a singer that sang regularly with the Fabulous Wailers as part of their revue show.

Jivetime Records provided an excellent summary of her career…

The Wailers had begun as an instrumental band like many of the original NW Sound artists. With the addition of “Rockin’ Robin” Roberts, they set out to imitate the R&B revues that were popular at the time…one band backing several featured singers. Obviously, the main attraction was “Rockin’ Robin,” but soon, the group added a “girl singer” from Puyallup named Gail Harris.

Jivetime Records discussed how prior to joining up with the Wailers, Ms. Harris had appeared in several talent contests and on The Bar-K Jamboree, a weekly live radio show hosted by country music artist Buck Owens, who was then pursuing a radio and television career in the Northwest.

Buck Owens wanted Gail Harris to become a regular member of his “gang” but Harris’s first love was R&B, and she was already pursuing her dreams by diligently practicing songs by her favorite R&B artists and honing her stage presence in front of a mirror and for her family. From the beginning of her 2-3 year stint with The Wailers, she must have blown the bobby socks and tenny-runners off every largely teenaged audience. Gail could be compared to both Little Brenda Lee with the clarity of her voice and bravado and the sustained, sexual growl of early recordings by Tina Turner. Gail’s love of R&B made Ike and Turner 1960 hit “I Idolize You” one of her signature songs, and blew the house down every time she performed it.

It didn’t hurt that Gail Harris also looked well beyond her actual age and could be just as demure and charming off stage as she was ravaging onstage while singing. Gail performed “I Idolize You” with The Wailers on their groundbreaking live album, The Fabulous Wailers at The Castle. The record is still one of the NW Sound’s most important albums. It set high standards that other of the early 1960s bands would try to emulate, but only a handful could achieve. The live album also included her interpretation of the Jimmy Davis penned “All I Could Do Was Cry” made famous by Etta James. The live album was rounded-out with four numbers sung by “Rockin Robin” Roberts and two by Kent Morrill. The album was recorded by Seattle legend Joe Boles and produced by Ormsby, Morrill, and promoter/DJ/entrepreneur Pat O’Day. The album was an immediate regional hit when it was released.

Gail Harris didn’t release a lot of records, but what she recorded as a solo artist and as a member of the Wailers was fantastic!

I’m grateful I was able to see her perform at Kent Morrill’s memorial, which I was able to capture on video.

My thoughts go out to her family and friends.

– E.P. of LouieLouie.net

UPDATE: I didn’t realize Gail Harris was also sometimes known and marketed as Gayle Harris. As her Facebook page used “Gail” rather than “Gayle, we shall use that as the definitive spelling.

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Reference Links:

Jive Time Records – Tacoma At A Glance: Gail Harris and more..
Discogs – Gail Harris
Etiquette Records – Gail Harris

GAYLE HARRIS – Sir Shambling’s Deep Soul Heaven

Discogs- Gail Harris
Discogs- Gayle Harris (this really should be merged with Gail Harris entry)

Greetings from Portland – the Mike Mitchell memorial + the LOUIE plaques

Two weeks ago, yours truly made a little visit to Portland, Oregon.

I wanted to pay my respects to Mike Mitchell, a founding member of the Kingsmen. From 1967 until his passing this year, he was the only member of the original band that recorded LOUIE LOUIE that was still part of the Kingsmen in 2021. He passed away on April 16th – his 77th birthday.

On Sunday, September 26th, there was a celebration of Mike’s life at the Aladdin Theater in Portland. There was music and memories shared by friends and family of Mike Mitchell.

Mike’s last incarnation of the Kingsmen, led by longtime member Dick Peterson, featuring Mike’s Brother Dennis Mitchell, provided most of the music that evening, joined by Mike’s son Max Mitchell on bass, special guests Mike Skill (of the Romantics), Tommy Tutone, Greg Georegeson, Danny Schauffler, Jennifer Batten (Michael Jackson guitarist), and various others whose names escape me. Phil “Fang” Volk and Jim Valley also performed a short set as an abbreviated version of Paul Revere & the Raiders, assisted by Alex Hart (son of longtime Raiders manager Roger Hart) on drums.

The program began with assorted video testimonies from friends of Mike, which included both Paul Shaffer and Will Lee of David Letterman‘s old TV show, Merilee Rush, Gary U.S. Bonds, Arnel Pineda of Journey and original Kingsmen member Don (Gallucci) Caverhill, among others.

I was fortunate to be able to document this evening with the assistance of my friend and LOUIE associate producer David Jester of Pro Video Productions of Portland. You can see some of that footage at the end of this post, with more to come later.

All in all, it was a great evening to celebrate Mike’s life. Hats off to Terry Currier and Alex Hart for producing this fine event.

While I was in town, I was able to obtain some relatively rare archival footage and shoot some new segments for this documentary of mine, including some moments with the current caretakers of the two LOUIE LOUIE plaques (1993 + 2013) – Sean Ely (son of Jack) and Terry Currier (co-producer of event / owner of Music Millenium / chairman of Oregon Music Hall of Fame).

In closing, here’s a snippet from Mike Mitchell’s memorial. This is the big LOUIE LOUIE finale, featuring a lot of guitar solos as a special way of paying tribute to the guitar legacy of Mike Mitchell.*

I’ll try share more clips from that show…which are still being assembled..

– E.P. of LouieLouie.net

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* – Yes, we know that Mike Mitchell replicated Rich Dangel‘s guitar work on the Rockin’ Robin Roberts (Wailers) LOUIE LOUIE recording of 1961. Mike has acknowledged that in interviews.

The First and Long-Lost LOUIE LOUIE plaque of Portland?

Last month, I was shocked when I stumbled upon a certain LOUIE LOUIE plaque being sold on eBay.

The Kingsmen Louie Louie cast bronze dedication plaque Vintage
14 inch x 20 inch Mint condition
This Item has been in my store as a display item for the past 20 years it has a board mounted to the back and Velcro attached to it so we could hang it on the display wall
would look great in your music room or office

The 1993 LOUIE LOUIE plaque of Portland, Oregon

This looked exactly like the plaque installed by the Oregon Historic Society on July 3, 1993 at the former site of Northwestern Inc., the former recording studio in Portland where both the Kingsmen and Paul Revere & the Raiders both recorded the song LOUIE LOUIE in April 1963. This special event was attended by Richard Berry – the original singer-songwriter of LOUIE LOUIE; four of the original Kingsmen that recorded this song; Mike Korgan aka “Ken Chase” – the original producer of the Kingsmen recording, Roger Hart – producer and manager of Paul Revere & the Raiders, and Robert Lindahl – the original owner and chief engineer of Northwestern Inc.

Richard Berry, Roger Hart (Portland DJ and former manager of Paul Revere & the Raiders), Mike Mitchell (partial view) and Chet Orloff of the Oregon Historical Society.

The Kingsmen semi-reunion of 1993 = Dick Peterson, Bob Nordby (hidden behind Dick), Jack Ely, Mike Mitchell, Lynn Easton, Norm Sunholm, Barry Curtis, Todd McPherson

Marlene and Robert Lindahl (original owner/ operator of Northwestern Inc recording studio). I have no idea these other people are…

A few years later, this plaque was stolen and never seen again, or so we thought. As fate would have it, this plaque had some misinformation on it (the Kingsmen did not record the song on April 13th), and a brand new plaque was installed at the same location in 2013 ….. which was later taken down when it also became a casualty of vandalism.

When I saw this eBay listing, I immediately thought it was the long-lost first plaque. Was it stolen, and then displayed at a record store in Martinsburg, West Virginia for 20 years?

I reached out to members of Oregon Historic Society to see if they had any interest in recovering this lost plaque, but received no response.* (SEE UPDATE AT END OF ARTICLE)

I also alerted my friend Sean Ely, son of Jack Ely, the original Kingsmen vocalist, who was super-excited to see this thing being sold! Sean reached out to the seller, and received assurance that this plaque was NOT the original stolen plaque.

Sean did wind up buying this plaque, which he just received this week.

I can’t think of a better person to give this special plaque a loving home.

Sean Ely – new owner of the 1993 LOUIE replicant plaque

Jack Ely and Sean Ely at the 1999 Courtmen reunion at Seaside, Oregon, featuring a photo bomb by Courtmen guitarist Wally Todd and a partial view of promoter John Thoennes between Jack and Sean.

*UPDATE:
Apparently, I missed the reply from O.H.S., which somehow got lost in my email pile.

Here’s the reply I received from Nicole Yasuhara, Deputy Museum Director of O.H.S.:

Thank you for contacting the Oregon Historical Society. I appreciate you taking the time to contact us about this listing. The plaque is not the property of OHS, it appears it was dedicated by OHS, but the plaque was likely gifted to the building, and they would be the owners.

I did forward your email to our security department to report the listing to local authorities.

Reference Links:
The (Temporary) Rebirth of a Recording Studio
The Portland LOUIE celebration of September 2013 – the Lindahl report

LOUIE at the Movies – August 2021 update

It’s time for yet another update for the ongoing “LOUIE at the Movies” investigations!

Here’s a few you might have missed*…

In September 2020, there was “The Way Back” (titled “Finding the Way Back” in the United Kingdom), starring Ben Affleck as a once-successful basketball star that walked away from what could have been a great career in sports. He reluctantly accepts a coaching job at his alma mater, with a chance to redeem himself.

As I recall, LOUIE was performed by a nondescript marching band.

I’m not sure if I mentioned “A Futile and Stupid Gesture” (Netflix), the 2018 biographical comedy-drama film based on Josh Karp’s book of the same name, starring Will Forte as the late Douglas Kenney, one of the great guiding forces behind the National Lampoon magazine. As this film is based on the real life story of Mr. Kenney and this magazine, it does include a segment on National Lampoon’s first foray into motion pictures – the unforgettable “Animal House,” which of course, included LOUIE LOUIE by the Kingsmen and John Belushi.

Recently on PBS, there was a great mini-series entitled “ICON: Music Through the Lens,” which focused on stories of music photographers

Early on in episode 1, photographer Chris Floyd shares a great analogy that references the concept of LOUIE LOUIE as part of a three-step assembly of what he considered photographic perfection . . . which of course I loved.

As a longtime fan of the band Sparks, I was quite giddy to learn that the Mael brothers would be the subject of a wonderful documentary entitled “The Sparks Brothers.”

Did I expect Ron Mael to acknowledge the song LOUIE LOUIE in this documentary? Of course not!

Do I think that if Ron and Russell ever decided to record their own version of LOUIE LOUIE, it would be truly amazing? Absolutely!! Love these guys!

If you have no idea who this “Sparks” band is, go visit their YouTube channel! Fun stuff!

Last, but not least, my favorite LOUIE guru/advisor – Jeff Stretch Riedle provided a LOUIE update on a movie he just watched, which he kindly allowed me to share on this webpage…

OK, here’s the story. I randomly pick a bad movie to watch on Amazon Prime. It’s got a sex theme so why wouldn’t I watch it? A 2010 movie called “Meet Monica Velour“. About a 17 year old kid who wants to meet his porn star fantasy woman. The movie is about his travels to find her, sell his weiner truck to an art collector, and then settle down with her and her daughter. Problem is now the porn star, played by Kim Cattrall, is 49 years old.

At the end of the movie the kid comes back home and gets a girlfriend his own age. One of the pictures on his scrapboard wall show’s both of them wearing a restaurant bib that says LOUIE’S (King Of The Clam Strip). So standing next to each other it says LOUIE’S LOUIE’S.

And as I again randomly watch some of the credits, it’s obvious this movie was shot in parts of Michigan near my old home. And the kicker is they thank the Livonia School System. Know where I grew up and went to school? LIVONIA, MICHIGAN!!!

No musical connection in the movie, however, to LL.

* – some of these were shared at the Facebook LOUIE LOUIE Party, but not all of ’em.

________________________________

Reference Links:

The Way Back
A Futile and Stupid Gesture
ICON: Music Through the Lens
The Sparks Brothers
Meet Monica Velour
Sparks – official website
Sparks – official YouTube channel

August update for 2021 dearly departed

It’s August 2021 and time for an update on more folks that are no longer with us

Death, the inevitable factor in this cycle of life, continues in it’s natural path. We continue to lose people we care about, in spite of all efforts to delay such final conclusions.

Joey D’Ambrosio

Joey D’Ambrosio (aka Joey Ambrose) was the original tenor sax player with Bill Haley and Comets, one of the earliest groups to be credited as a “rock ‘n’ roll band.” He was a member of the band from 1953 until 1955, and was part of the original recording session of their massive hit record “Rock Around the Clock.” He left the band along with four other members to start another band that would be known as the Jodimars, which lasted for approximately three more years.

Joey D’Ambrosio, Dick Richards and_Bill Haley

Six years after Bill Haley’s death, Joey along with his four fellow former Comets/Jodimars (Marshall Lytle on bass, Johnny Grande on piano, Dick Richards on drums and Franny Beecher on guitar), reunited as the Original Comets in 1987.

In 2004, the LOUIE team was honored to work with the Original Comets, producing a concert video at Bimbo’s nightclub in San Francisco.

A few days ago we just learned via Facebook that Joey passed away on Monday morning – August 9th. Joey was the last surviving member of Bill Haley’s original Comets.

______________________________________________

Roy Gaines

Roy Gaines was a Texas blues guitarist with a long history in music. His older brother Grady played saxophone with Little Richard‘s Upsetters, and Roy was consumed by music as a young child. At the age of 14, Roy met his musical hero, T-Bone Walker, and made such a strong impression with his talents that he was thereafter labeled as “T-Bone Jr.” As his career progressed, he would move from Houston to Los Angeles at the age of 16, joining Roy Milton‘s band, which was followed by a stint working with Chuck Willis. In the course of his career, he would wind up working with Bobby Blue Bland, Junior Parker and Big Mama Thornton in the 1950s, and would later work with such artists as Ray Charles, Everly Brothers, the Supremes, Bobby Darin, Stevie Wonder, and Gladys Knight in the 1960s.

Roy was another great music legend that the LOUIE team was proud to work with, collaborating with him on the Blues Express TV show. His death was announced on Facebook by his daughter Carolyn Gaines. He died on August 11, the day before his 86th birthday.


______________________________________________

Deb Adams

Deb Adams was a longtime friend of the LOUIE documentary project. We made contact in the 1990’s when she was the publisher of a music ‘zine known as 60s Beat. She was passionate about music from the 60s, and absolutely loved the music of Paul Revere & the Raiders. She provided many great leads for the documentary project, and will be missed.

Deb Adams and Paul Revere

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Dusty Hill

I’m seeing a lot of love for Dusty Hill, the ZZ Top bassist that recently passed away.

The late Buck Munger, the former Sunn Music + Fender representative that became the publisher of the TWO LOUIES music newspaper, was a good friend of ZZ Top. He told me than whenever ZZ Top played Portland (Oregon), they would always perform LOUIE LOUIE at the sound check, paying tribute to the hometown guys that had a big hit with that song. While I still haven’t been able to track down any recordings of those sound checks, I do have a photo of Billy Gibbons with those hometown guys – Lynn Easton, Jack Ely, and Mike Mitchell, the three founding members of the Kingsmen that are no longer with us.

photo courtesy of Buck Munger

Lynn Easton, Billy Gibbons, Jack Ely and Mike Mitchell


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Liz Day Sidebottom

Liz Day Sidebottom was the wife of Bob Sidebottom, the legendary comic book store pioneer of San Jose, California. Bob was one of the earliest people to open up a comic shop in the USA, running the Comic Collector Shop from 1968 until his death in 1993. In addition to running a shop, Bob also published a series of underground comic books during the 1970s. with such titles as “California Comics,” “Barbarian Comics” and “Barbarian Women Comics.”

Bob was a good friend that taught me a lot about music and comic books. He was a solid supporter of the LOUIE project, and it was a wonderful day when I was able to bring Richard Berry into Bob’s shop, where they could yack about Charlie Parker, Fats Domino, and all sorts of other cool music in the 1950s (Check out the YouTube clip of that meeting)

Liz kept the Comic Collector Shop going for a few years, even publishing a brand new version of “Barbarian Women Comics” in 1995, before finally shutting down all operations and moving away from San Jose in 1996.

click on picture to view the full editorial

Liz died of natural causes on June 11, 2020. Their daughter, Parker Day is currently a successful photographer based in Los Angeles that recently appeared on Hulu’s “Exposure” reality TV game show.

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As I was finishing this blog post, I learned about the passing of yet another musician I’m fond of.

Nancy Griffith

I can’t think of any Nanci Griffith LOUIE connections, but she was a great singer and will be missed…..

In the meantime, I’m hoping the grim reaper will slow down a bit.

Les Yper-Sound’s Psyché Rock – direct inspiration for Futurama theme song

This week, I’m recycling our friend Clay Stabler‘s addition to the LOUIE LOUIE Wikipedia page.

In 1967 French composers Michel Colombier and Pierre Henry, collaborating as Les Yper-Sound, produced a musique concrète work based on the “Louie Louie” riff titled “”Psyché Rock“. They subsequently worked with choreographer Maurice Béjart on a “Psyché Rock”-based score for the ballet Messe pour le temps présent. The full score with multiple mixes of “Psyché Rock” was released on the album Métamorphose. The album was reissued in 1997 with additional remixes including one by Ken Abyss titled “Psyché Rock (Metal Time Machine Mix)” that, along with the original, heavily influenced Christopher Tyng‘s Futurama theme song.

Listen to the original here:


https://youtu.be/TKz4qVmUz84

… and here for comparison is the Futurama theme song:


https://youtu.be/pkO1u2hrwxA

Memorial for Mike Mitchell of the Kingsmen

Music Millennium (of Portland, Oregon) announced this special event on Facebook.

In 1963, before Beatlemania here in the states, there was a song that a Portland band recorded that inspired a ton of guitarists to play guitar …..Louie Louie by the Kingsmen. The Kingsmen’s guitarist was Mike Mitchell, an amazing guitarist and an amazing human being. In April, Mike left us. The Kingsmen asked me and my friend Alex Hart to help put on a show to celebrate the life of Mike Mitchell. This is going to be a night to remember. The Kingsmen and Friends will include the below guests plus a special set from three former members of Paul Revere & The Raiders….Phil “Fang” Volk, Jim Valley and Keith Allison!
Hope to see you there.
Terry

An Appreciation of The Dreamers to The Blossoms

The Dreamers – Annette Williams, Gloria Jones and Nannette Williams

This week, we’re pointing the mighty LOUIE spotlight at The Dreamers, a vocal group that would became the Blossoms. As music writer Jay Warner once declared, this band was “the most successful unknown group of the 60s.”

Richard Berry, the man who wrote LOUIE LOUIE, played a significant role in the early years of this musical group of teenage girls that included Gloria Jones, Fanita Barrett, twins Annette and Nannette Williams, as well as Jewel Cobbs and Pat Howard. When they met Richard, he was a recording artist that was transitioning from a member of the Flairs to a solo artist. He became a mentor and dear friend for these young ladies, as he brought them to Modern Records, where they were christened with “the Dreamers” name and signed to the Flair Records subsidiary label.

Their first recording, as The Dreamers featuring Richard Berry in 1954, included a cover version of “At Last” – originally a Glenn Miller song that would become a big hit for Etta James six years later, and “Bye Bye (Baby)” – a song that was probably written by Richard Berry, but credited to “Joe Josea,” an alias used by record company honcho Joe Bihari.

After an appearance by the Dreamers on Johnny Otis‘ radio show to promote this new record, Jewel Cobbs and Pat Howard found themselves at odds with their fathers over this controversial rhythm and blues music, and had to quit the band. The Dreamers continued to record for Flair Records, as Richard Berry & the Dreamers or simply “The Dreamers” before moving over to Flip Records, where Richard was recording with a band known as the Pharaohs.

When Richard Berry and the Pharaohs recorded the very first version of “Louie Louie,” Gloria Jones of the Dreamers, was the only woman singing backup vocals. As fate would have it, she is also the last survivor of that recording session.

After some semi-concurrent sessions with three Dreamers recording as The Rollettes for Googie Rene‘s Class record label, the Dreamers signed to Capitol Records in 1957 as The Blossoms. When Annette Williams took a leave of absence to have a baby in 1963, Darlene Love stepped in as a replacement, which changed the dynamics of the group.

Over the the course of 45 assorted years, members of the Dreamers-Blossoms did recordings for Phil Spector, and performed as backup singers for such artists as Sam Cooke, Gene Autry, Aretha Franklin, Doris Day, Tom Jones, Dick Dale and Elvis Presley.

Morgan Neville‘s 2013 Oscar-winning documentary “20 Feet from Stardom,” shared some of the stories of Dreamers-Blossoms

I’m grateful Richard Berry invited me to what turned out to be the final performance of Richard Berry and the Dreamers. Here’s a snippet from that performance that took place on February 24, 1996 in Long Beach,California…

There’s two great CD compilations of the Dreamers-Blossoms that I can recommend:

The Dreamers – They Sing Like Angels from Ace is an excellent compilation that focuses on their recordings on Flair/Modern, Flip and Class. The CD includes a 12 page booklet with extensive liner notes by Opal Nations. It also features the original LOUIE LOUIE, featuring the best transfer you’ll ever hear of this recording, as Ace did superb mastering from the original Flip tapes that they own.

The brand new CD from JasmineThe Dreamers To the Blossoms – Evolution of a Girl Group is the first compilation that collects both of these groups, as well as some of the assorted sessions with Duane Eddy, Ed Townshend, and Phil Spector. While not as encyclopedic as the Ace CD 12 page liner notes, the fold-out liner notes by Roger Dopson are also superb with some information that’s unique to this collection.

With this particular CD, I discovered “Little Louie” – a recording by the Blossoms that was released as a 45 single by Capitol Records in 1958.

Perhaps this track is reminiscent of another song named LOUIE, like maybe that other one that came out in 1957?

Hmmm…. you tell me…


The Blossoms – Little Louie on Capitol CL14856

This is also a good chunk of vinyl to own.

While there’s NO liner notes or even photos of the Dreamers with this album, the music is quite wonderful, and the Fazio painting is well worth framing!

… also available on 8-track…. if you can find it! (I got mine)

For more information on this band, I would encourage you to seek out additional articles by Opal Nations, Jay Warner, Steve Propes, Galen Gart, and Electric Earl, as well as the book by Darlene Love.

(check the links below)

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Reference links:

Electric Earl (Doo Wop Society of Southern California) – The Dreamers & The Blossoms

The Opal Nations website – a great resource for roots music history, including a wonderful article on the Dreamers and a cool illustration of Richard Berry. (A fun webpage to get lost in)

American Singing Groups – Jay Warner

L.A. R&B Vocal Groups, 1945-1965 – Steve Propes & Galen Gart

My Name is Love – Darlene Love

The Dreamers – They Sing Like Angels

The Dreamers To the Blossoms – Evolution of a Girl Group

LOUIE REPORT – Gloria Jones’ 80th Birthday

LOUIE REPORT – RIP: The Last of Richard Berry’s Pharaohs

The Subtle Sounds of LOUIE

Some of the most inspired variations of LOUIE LOUIE aren’t even called LOUIE LOUIE.