Top 10 LOUIEs of the Year – Best of 2008

It’s late Wednesday afternoon, and I’m still swimming through a lot of stuff I really thought I would have finished weeks ago. I have projects I really hoped to wrap up by now, but it just wasn’t meant to be.

To make things even more complicated, I discovered this particular blog was victim to a software weakness that allowed it be exploited by some evil-minded people that have nothing better to do with their lives than screw around with others. I had to go through the process of re-installing the software, and theme-layout, which took considerably longer than I wished. The old theme was no supported by original designer, so I had to find another theme that I liked. Ugh…. if it’s not one thing… it’s another…

That being said, I want to get on with the business of acknowledging what I thought were the most memorable new versions of LOUIE LOUIE created, or at least discovered in 2008. Here’s what I came up, with a little help from some friends.

Of course, this is just one man’s opinion…

1. Smashing Pumpkins in in Columbus, Ohio – Most Bootlegged LOUIE LOUIE of 2008

Smashing Pumpkins on Halloween seemed like such a natural combination to me. I was pleasantly surprised to see the wealth of audience-based recordings that documented their rendition of LOUIE LOUIE at their Halloween show in Columbus.

2. Cafe Blues Band- Best Non-English LOUIE LOUIE of the Year

Cafe Blues Band from Russia

From Russia, the Cafe Blues Band has provided one of the finest Russian-speaking versions of LOUIE LOUIE I’d ever heard. Veronika Nikiforova provided what I believed was the first female vocals that use the Iggy-style interpretation of the Richard Berry classic. Go read my original blog on this band, as this was also the band to ever receive the LOUIE of the WEEK award.

3. Pat Moriarity & Blasted BoyZ – Best LOUIE LOUIE Ever Recorded by a Cartoonist/Animator

Pat Moriarity & Blasted BoyZ

This may not have necessarily been one of my favorite musical recordings, but I love the story attached to it. I’ve always been fond of the illustrations by comic book artist Pat Moriarity, who’s been in attached to some very interesting projects. Click on my August posting, where you can read more about this talented artist, or just go to his MySpace page where you can hear his rendition of the song.

It’s quite entertaining.

4. Bergen County Firefighters Pipe Band – Best St. Paddy’s Day LOUIE LOUIE with Bagpipes

I do love hearing bagpipes! One of my all-time favorite LOUIES is called “Bagpipe LOUIE” performed by Ron Wilson and the Surfaris, which as far as I know, is not commercially available. Lynn Easton, the former leader of the Kingsmen, once told me that he really enjoys performing in a Scottish clan in Portland, Oregon, which of course, involves all lots of bagpipes.

I’ve heard lots of jokes involving bagpipes, but I don’t care. I love the sound of ’em!

This particular version is by Bergen County Firefighters Pipe Band on Saint Patrick’s Day in 2008 at a show in Savannah, Georgia.

5. Flipper in Oakand – Best Half-assed Version of LOUIE LOUIE featuring a Guy with Teen Spirit

Ha ha… this was silly. Krist Novoselic, formerly of Nirvana, now a member of Flipper, was noodling away on the bass guitar right after the P.A. was shut down at an event that happened in July at the Oakland Museum. This was a microscopic version of the song, barely even worth acknowledging… but I did it anyways….

6. Evil Leeech – Best LOUIE LOUIE Ever Performed in a Chicken Suit

.. because some things don’t need too much explaining

7. The Sonics in Seattle – Most Anticipated LOUIE LOUIE by Garage Rock Icons that Hadn’t Played Their Hometown in 36 Years

36 Years is a long time for musical reunion. Before the recent reunions, the last time The Sonics ever performed was at the Paramount Theater in Seattle in 1972. Since that last performance, a lot of things have happened in the musical universe, including the “invention” of punk rock, grunge rock, metal rock, and all sorts of different musical sub-categories that I’m sure The Sonics would have even lumped into, had they shared the proper timelines. The Sonics were formed in 1960, broke up in 1967, and drifted into obscurity, inspiring a cult-like following by many fans that weren’t alive when they did their final performance.

Last year, members of the Sonics were offered some generous terms to do two reunion concerts at the CaveStomp show in New York. After being warmly embraced by sell-out crowds, the Sonics proceeded to do other shows in London, Barcellona, and lot of other venues in Europe were they were greeted by even more fans that they didn’t know existed.

For those living in the Seattle-Tacoma area, it was all so very frustrating that the Sonics hadn’t done a performance in their hometown area.

Finally, on Halloween 2008, the waiting was over. The boys from Tacoma had finally returned to play for their friends and family in the Pacific Northwest.

For their encore, they performed the flipside of their 1965 single of “Cinderella.” They performed the song that became the theme song of the Pacific Northwest .

The Sonics did LOUIE LOUIE.

8. Little Bill & the BlueNotes in Tacoma – Best New LOUIE LOUIE by one of the First Guys To Ever Record Richard Berry’s Song

On the same weekend I was in Seattle to see the Sonics, I decided to pay a visit to see Little Bill & the Bluenotes perform at a little restaurant in Tacoma. As I explained in my posting when I gave Bill a “LOUIE of the Week” award, Bill has a significant personal history with LOUIE LOUIE as one of the very first musicians to ever record this song after Richard Berry’s initial 1955 release.

As always, every time I meet up with Bill Engelhart, it’s always a pleasure, as he’s such a charming human being. As I happened to have a little video camera with me that night, I asked Bill if he wouldn’t mind doing a little version on stage, for old time’s sake. Bill was happy to oblige. After I posted this video to YouTube, I was informed that Bill hardly plays that song in public these days, so this was really a nice treat.

My friend Ron Fowler of Jeff & the R.F.’s, who joined me that night, shared his thoughts on Little Bill:

Little Bill is the nicest music biz legend I’ve ever met – humble, appreciative, and talented! This wins my personal award as Louie of the Year!

9. Jack Ely & the Courtmen in Las Vegas – Best New LOUIE LOUIE Sung by the Most Famous Voice That Most People Don’t Even Know

I’ve spent a lot time on this blog writing about Jack Ely, but I know he’s an unfamiliar name in the music industry, even thou his voice provided some of the most distinctive vocals in the history of rock and roll with a record that sold millions of copies. As the original vocalist for the Kingsmen in 1963, he provided a unique approach to singing that launched a career for his old bandmates, and inspired countless garage bands all over the world, who probably thought to themselves… “if this guy can sell millions of records, why not me?”

Jack is retired from the music industry, choosing instead to take care of horses in a remote part of Oregon. Every now then, he gets an offer to play with some old friends. This year, he had a chance to play with some old buddies from the Courtmen (the band Jack created after leaving the Kingsmen) at a little bar in Las Vegas. Because it sounded like fun, Jack Ely agreed to this special performance.

When I asked my fellow LOUIE enthusiasts in thee LOUIE PARTY which versions should be considered “LOUIE LOUIE of the YEAR,” my friend Andy Martello, who shot some great video of Jack’s recent Las Vegas performance, responded with these comments:

As for Louies of the year I have to claim obvious bias and go with any of the Louies from the Courtmen show. That’s where I met Jack and the band. That’s where I met Paula (Berry) and shared a dance and a drink. That’s where I got my 45’s signed. So that night was very special to me.
Of course, I can say that my current “favorite” Louie video can also be found on YouTube. perhaps there should be a “Best Louie Video Featuring Bad MSPaint Artwork” category.

10. Ribzy in Oakland – Last Great Punk Rock LOUIE LOUIE of 2008

Last night, I was at a little rock and roll club in Oakland, seeing my friends Ribzy perform on a bill with Toiling Midgets, and The Dandelion War. For what it’s worth, Ribzy was one of the local bands that recorded a version of LOUIE for the infamous KFJC marathon that got me started in this whole LOUIE project all those years ago.

After they did an excellent head-bashing, adrenaline-powered, super-amped show to a modest Tuesday night crowd, they got off-stage. I yelled out LOUIE LOUIE, and do know what they did?

Yup.. they got back on stage and performed LOUIE LOUIE! Just what the doctor ordered…

Thank you, Ribzy…. You have provided the world with the Last Great Punk Rock LOUIE LOUIE of 2008!

Big thanks to EVERYONE that shared information with me, offered their version for me to hear, treated me to something I didn’t have, or just simply provided some nice compliments.

It all appreciated, and I am very grateful for your support.

May 2009 be an exceptional year for all my friends!

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