Above: Louis Prima’s music career spanned four decades.

Louis Prima: The Wildest!

I know Lois Armstrong, Mel Tormé, Dizzy Gillespie — somehow I missed hearing about Louis Prima.

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A friend of mine has been listening to albums off of this list and posting about them on Facebook, which inspires me to do the same thing here. I’ll be posting listening notes.

The first one I chose was Louis Prima’s “The Wildest” from 1956. It’s hard to believe I never heard this album. A few standout tracks – I’ve linked them here from YouTube but the audio quality will be a lot better if you can find it on Apple Music, Spotify, or Google Play.

  • Just a Gigolo / I Ain’t Got Nobody: David Lee Roth basically recreated this performance in the mid 80s. I like this one better because the backing band is about twenty times more awesome.
  • The Lip: Prima and his (fourth) wife Keely Smith. Smith had a great career in her own right.
  • Banana Split for my Baby: I am desperate to learn how to play this song on my ukulele.

I didn’t think I knew Prima, but his voice sounded awfully familiar. At first I chalked it up to him sounding like a blend between Louis Armstrong and Frank Sinatra, but no, that wasn’t it. He sounds familiar because Louis Prima was King Louis in Disney’s The Jungle Book.

This has rapidly become one of my favorite albums; definitely check it out.

Contents © their respective publication dates or 2019. This John Williams did not write the theme to Star Wars. “Elfin John” was originally a Tim Conway character.