Hail Hail, Little Bill!

Little Bill Engelhart

Before the Kingsmen ever recorded LOUIE LOUIE, there were two other musicians that recorded their own versions of the immortal song by Richard Berry. One of them was by Rockin’ Robin Roberts, who was backed by the Wailers, and released on the Etiquette label in 1961.

The other musician that recorded LOUIE LOUIE in 1961 was Bill Engelhart, who released his version under the name of Little Bill with the Adventurers and the Shalimars on the Topaz label. His original band, The Bluenotes actually featured both Rockin’ Robin Roberts and Buck Ormsby, who went on to the join the Wailers.

Bill’s one of the guys you truly label a “genuine legend” up in the Pacific Northwest. He had a major hit with “I Love An Angel” in 1959, and he’s been playing gigs ever since. He’s lived a very interesting life, and has written some columns for Blues To Do, a local blues newspaper that evolved into a couple of very entertaining books about his trials and tribulations.

Yesterday, I checked out his website to see what he was up to, and found out that someone produced a really nice little documentary about his life. Producer-Director Rich McAdams created an excellent 30 minute documentary for the Seattle Community College TV network that you can view for FREE via Bill’s website.

Bill’s a great guy, and I’m glad I’ve got his story for my upcoming MEANING OF LOUIE documentary. He described a particularly funny moment when he got into a lot of trouble with the Tacoma police for playing a very long version of LOUIE LOUIE back in the early days.

If you find yourself up in the Seattle area, I would highly recommend that you go see Little Bill perform, as he’s definitely worth the extra effort. Check out his website for details on where’s playing, and I guarantee you will not be disappointed.

Long may you run, Little Bill!

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For those of you having troubles watching the streaming video at the SCCTV.net website, here’s a little tip. If you’re using Firefox as your browser, go to the website, and allow the video clip to fully load. When the status bar is fully loaded, right-click the mouse on the video (or control-click if you’re using a one-button Mac), and you should be able to save this video as a Quicktime file. You can use this trick for a lot of other webpages that use streaming video.


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