Sunday, May 09, 2010

Music Library: Loudon Wainwright III, Louis Armstrong, Louis Jordan, Louis Prima

Loudon Wainwright III - "Dead Skunk," "The Acid Song," and "Motel Blues."  I've written before about how much I wish I liked Wainwright more than I do.  On paper it looks like I'd be a big fan of his.  In reality, though, he sorta grates on me.

Louis Armstrong - The Complete Hot Five and Hot Seven Recordings (1925-1929), Blow Satchmo Blow (1926-1938), Stardust (1931-1932), "Summertime," The Gold Collection (1954-1965), and Disney Songs The Satchmo Way (1966).  Oh, how I want to joke about how this icon of American popular music is a relative obscurity.  The laughs we would share!  But alas, rather than doing this I will instead talk a bit about the music herein.  Boring!  And yet there is nothing boring about most of this music.  The Hot Five and Hot Seven box set is so worth the money.  In fact anything the man made in the 20s and 30s is worth the money.   I don't have any of his recordings from the 40s for some reason.  "Summertime" is his string-laden duet with Ella Fitzgerald and it hits me to the soul.  The Gold Collection is also syrupy, but to far more varying effect.  And the Disney collection is unlistenably bad.

Not Louis Armstrong - "Oops I Did It Again."  Here's the parody hit that went around the web some years back.  See, the joke is that Louis Armstrong is a giant of jazz and here someone who sounds a little like him is performing a version of Britney Spears' "Oops I Did It Again."  Hilarity!  I mean, sure, Armstrong performed a lot of popular songs from different periods, and presumably would have been happy to record a song like this.  But he didn't!  And Britney Spears is a girl making girl music, which just adds to the hilarity.  Next thing you know, these guys will have a version of someone equally unlikely performing this song.  Maybe even Richard Thompson!

Louis Jordan - "Beans And Cornbread."  Some might think this is the greatest song of all time.  They might be right.  I had a full album of Louis Jordan songs, too, but it somehow got corrupted.  Boo.

Louis Prima - Collector's Series (1956-1962) and The Wildest! (1956).  Prima was indeed the wildest.  If there were only a handy metaphor for how the music of New Orleans often stews together an spicy combination of jazz, rock and roll, swing, Cajun music, and okra with a roux base!  But that would be silly because New Orleans isn't known for its cuisine.  So this Prima cat (and if any human being ever deserved to be dubbed "cat," it is this one) is hilarious and fun and wild and even touching.  Raw humanity poured into music, like one pours a delicious okra-and-seafood stew over rice.  Writing this made me strangely hungry.


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