Sunday, 11 September 2011

King Louie

Funny how information sneaks into your consciousness and then, one day, several pieces fall into place, and you know stuff you never knew before ...

When my eldest son was still very little we used to watch "The Jungle Book" on videotape.  And of course everyone remembers the Orangutang "King Louie" singing "I wanna be like you".  I had always assumed that the name "King Louie" was a tribute to Louis Armstrong.  Well of course I was wrong...

Listening to BBC Radio 4 "Saturday Live" program some years ago, the burlesque artist Immodesty Blaize was on the "Inheritance Tracks" segment, choosing music from her youth that had influenced her.  Her choice: Swing Swing Swing (which the BBC attributed to Benny Goodman).  Well of course the unforgettable performance of that piece is by Benny Goodman, with Gene Krupa et al at Carnegie Hall.  But Benny didn't write it ...

Then there was a band called "Fat Man Swings" at the Trowbridge festival in 20?? They played "Buona Sera Senorina".  Every time I go to one of these festivals I am enthused enough about some band to buy a CD, and almost always it gets NO play time back home.  Not this one, it has been a firm favourite ever since, and especially "Buona Sera".

What's the common factor? Louis Prima.  He wrote and performed "I wanna be like you", he wrote "Swing Swing Swing", and "Buona Sera" was a hit for him.

For me all these King Louie factors fell into place a short while ago: what a great performer this man was!  Such fun, such energy, such verve.

Want some others?  Just a Gigolo, Night Train, O Sole Mio.

And that leads us on to Sam Butera .... but that's another story.

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