Saturday, July 28, 2012

#7: Louis Prima - The Wildest! (1956)

This is the reason why I should be introducing myself to new music. This album is over 55 years old and it rocks. I don't feel like I'm listening to a history lesson, I'm genuinely entertained throughout this album. The hardest part was choosing three tracks to single out. From the warmness of the horns, to the pointed words of Keely Smith, from the beautiful tones of the stand up bass, to the cool, laid back drums, Louis Prima proves why he's the King of Swing.

Just A Gigolo / I Ain't Got Nobody
What an amazing song. It has since been covered by several artists most notably David Lee Roth. Thankfully, Roth didn't change the song all that much because it still holds up today quite well. The vocals on 'I Ain't Got Nobody' are particularly breathtaking. The crescendos are only overshadowed by just how unique and distinct Louis Prima's voice is.

Oh Marie
The train just keeps rolling throughout the album as Oh Marie comes on. The quick 4/4 demands a jumpy pace from the rhythm section while Prima's vocals keeps it going smoothly. The back and forth between the vocals and the sax is worth the price of the album with Prima even teasing the saxophonist at one point. Then Prima steps back and let's the horns do what they do best, sweeping lines from opposing sections overwhelm the listener and there's nothing to do but sit back and smile.

Jump, Jive, An' Wail
Of course, this was covered by Brian Setzer of the Stray Cats fame. While there are other tracks that probably should be highlighted over this song since most listeners have heard this recording - it's just so good. The only real difference between Prima's and Setzer's versions (aside from a newer recording) is the solos are different after the first break. It's just hard for me to believe this is 56 years old, Prima's voice just jumps out at you in such a jovial way with the horns just go nuts in the background. There's really not much better.

Remember Back to the Future? When they go into the hall for the Enchantment Under the Sea dance and that AMAZING horn part is playing? That's the song Night Train - I've always wondered. It's on this album and it's pretty swell. There's not one bad track on the album, this could very well be his greatest hits and I wouldn't know any better. This will most definitely be on my list of the 100 greatest albums of all time, I really, truly enjoyed it. There's only one question I've had with myself throughout listening to this album. Why haven't I listened to Louis Prima before today?

This album was chosen from the book '1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die' 4/1001

Tomorrow's album: Jack Johnson's In Between Dreams (2005)

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