Al Hirt- At The Mardi Gras

Well, it is that time of year again.  Mardi Gras or Fat Tuesday is next week, the 13th, to be exact.  The preceding carnival kicks in to high gear this weekend, most notably in Rio and New Orleans.  So what better way to celebrate than with this album, which I bought for $1.80.  Also, since I have posted many Al Hirt records, that will save me some time on extrapolation.

This record, released by RCA, was a reissue from an earlier 1962 release.  I am not sure when the reissue was done .  It was recorded live at Dan’s Pier 600 in the Big Easy, which was owned by his business manager.  According to Wikipedia, Hirt played there nightly during the mid- 50’s to early 60’s.

Pretty standard dixieland jazz album.  Some pretty good numbers here.  Not much else to say about Hirt that I have not posted on this blog before.  Songs like “Basin Street Blues”, “Perdido”, and “Yellow Dog Blues” give a pretty good picture of Hirt’s set at the time.

For samples, I went with the opening number, “Bourbon Street Parade” as well as “Diga Diga Doo”.

Neat little record.  Satisfactory.  Have a good Mardi Gras!!

Louis Prima- A Tribute to Louis Prima

This record was $2.00 with discount.  Why not?  Louis Prima was a stud, in many ways.  Still trying to finish out to month and year.  With it technically still being November while I am writing this, I should point out that despite being in the American League, we are still proud of our local baseball team, the Houston Astros for winning the World Series.  Although I am still not happy about them moving out of the National League, there is not a better group of guys in sports than our Astros.  They held the parade a few weeks ago downtown. The rumor I heard in my apartment elevator was that 700,000 people were in attendance.  Either way, it made it tough for me getting home from work with all roads by my apartment jammed.

As noted above, Louis Prima was a stud.  Born in New Orleans in 1911, Prima mixed his Italian roots with New Orleans’ jazz to form something new and original.  His own musical styles also evolved over time, starting with a New Orleans-style jazz band in the 1920’s, a swing combo in the 1930’s, a big band in the 40’s, a jump blues band in the 50’s, and finally a Las Vegas lounge act in the 60’s. Unlike other artists such as Frank Sinatra, Prima openly embraced the new rock and roll which was rising in the 1950’s.  Prima was also married five times, inlcuding a stint to singer Keely Smith, with whom Prima had a successful act.  Prima died of complications from a cerebral hemorrhage in 1978.  He was 67.

This record was a collection of some of his biggest hits, both solo and with Smith, including, “Just A Gigalo”, “Sing, Sing, Sing” and :Felicia No Capricia”.  Pretty good album.,  Really jumping.

For a sample, I had various options but decided to go with the “Bourbon Street Blues” as well as “Hey Boy, Hey Girl” which features the talents of Keely Smith.

Top rated album.

Pete Fountain and Al Hirt- The New Orleans Scene

I got this at Vinyl Edge in the Heights for $3. I would have bought it for either so having both artists make it a no brainer.  Plus I really bought it for the song that I am going to post.

I have had both Pete Fountain and Al Hirt on this site numerous times, but this is the first time I had them together.  Both men had deep ties to the New Orleans’ jazz scene.  Both men had their own night clubs in the French Quarter, I believe.  Both men also stole members from each others bands as well.  Despite these events, the two remained friendly in competition for the most part.

This record from Coral in 1962 and features four songs from both Fountain and Hirt in a traditional 7 piece dixieland jazz format.  The other four tunes are just Fountain,, backed by a typical West Coast rhythm section.  A fellow blog site dedicated to Fountain describes this album in more detail.  I have been leaning on other’s blogs quite frequently this month.

Blog entry on the record.

For a sample, I decided to highlight something from the two artists and I wanted to use “It’s A Long Way From Tipperary” , being one of my favorite tunes.  The song , made popular in WWI, is sung from an Irishman’s perspective, being in England for training and away from home.

Satisfactory Record

Bourbon Street All-Star Dixielanders- Jam Session on Bourbon street

This was $1.  Probably got it because it was cheap.  It is hard to state with a degree of accuracy why I purchased something two years ago.  Going to need to buy a new mouse if I am ever to return to a semi lengthy post. Anyway, here is this, from a group calling themselves the Bourbon Street All-Star Dixielanders.  This is apparently the third volume in the Dixieland Festival series with at least a fourth volume following it.

Here is this record on the Vik label.  Recorded at the Parisian Room in New Orleans on June 12 1956, this record features some dixieland jazz standard performed by a who’s who of dixie land jazz at the time.


The lineup, in order of solos are group leader George Girard on trumpet, Harry Shields on clarinet, Jack Delaney on trombone, Lester Bouchon on tenor sax, Tony Almerico on 2nd trumpet, Pete Fountain on 2nd clarinet, and Santo Pecora on 2nd trombone.  Roy Zimmerman handled the piano.  Phil Darois handled the bass.  Frank Federico took guitar duties which are scant on this record.  Finally, the drums are covered by Roger Johnston and Paul Edwards.  The announcer at the Parisian Room, Pinky Vidacovich handled MC duties.

Other than that, what more can I say?  I am simply putting a paragraph here for some symmetry.

Here for a sample is “With You Anywhere You Are”.

Decent record, especially for the price.  I mean, it sounds like you would expect.  Satisfactory

Pete Fountain- At The Bateau Lounge

DSCN5159 (1020x1024)Pete Fountain is dead.  He died Saturday of heart failure.  He was 86 years old.


Obit link from CNN

Obit Link from New York Times

Obit Link from NBC

Fountain’s health had been in decline as of late.  His last public performance was in 2013.  From there, he had been in retirement.  New Orleans knows how to do funerals and I expect the city to pull out all the stops for their native son of jazz. If you want a further bio of Fountain, check out this post I did of him earlier.

Link to earlier post.

This album was recorded live at Dan’s Bateau Lounge on Bourbon and Toulouse (that is in New Orleans if you can’t figure it out).  It features Merle Koch on piano, Don Bagley on bass, and Jack Sperling on drums.  It was released by Coral Records in 1960 and I believe it was recorded in 1959, when he returned home to New Orleans after his stint on the Lawrence Welk Show.DSCN5161 (1024x988)

Although all the musicians have their bright spots on this record, Fountain’s clarinet is the king here.  This album showcases Fountain’s true talents.  The songs are all pretty good .  The late 50’s and early 60’s were really the high point of Fountain’s output and this is one piece of a good string of records from a five month span.  It should be noted that Fountain was also recording with different groups during this period from the quintet on this album to big bands to all in between.

For samples, I went with  “Creole Gumbo” (written by Fountain) and “Londonderry Air”.  I wanted to use “Mack the Knife” but it skipped.pete-fountain-french-quarter-festival-600x355

RIP Pete Fountain.  You and Al Hirt can go back to stealing musicians from each other in the afterlife.