FAME Review: Louis Prima Jr. & the Witnesses - Blow
Louis Prima Jr. & the Witnesses - Blow


Louis Prima Jr. & the Witnesses

Warrior Records - WR16532

Available from Amazon.com.

A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
by Mark S. Tucker

Louis Prima…now there was a cat who always blew the doors off. He didn't just come to dinner, the guy gorped up everything in sight in huge bites and gulps, washing it down with a keg of wine, loving every minute and taking everyone along with him. His name is immortal and for damn good reason. Well, his son took the cue from Pops and is continuing the tradition, playing trumpet, singing, and composing upbeat boppy swing music. In fact, Louis Sr. was always up for a good prank and would, when announced by show MCs, more than once send Jr. on-stage—from age 5!—to a hilarious reception from the crowd. Ah, but Louis Jr., who played drums at the time (and later piano), and sister Lena would join in with the festivities, whipping up versions of Your Mama Don't Dance and your Daddy Don't Rock and Roll and other songs. You never had a dull moment at a Prima concert, and that remains the main menu to this day.

The title song kicks off the disc in riotous uproar, a little big band (nine members) roustabout that gets the blood pumping and them feets a-dancin'. Someone in the studio comments "There wasn't nuttin' wrong with that!" at the close, and hoo-boy, that's an understatement. Most of the material is the band's own, written by a core group of four, Prima Jr. included, but a quartet of the cuts in the repertoire are standards and one of them, That's My Home, features a colloboration by father and son by way of modern technology: Prima Sr. sampled on vocals and trumpet while Jr. pipes up and also plays along with him. Way the hell cool and reminiscent, of course, of what Natalie Cole did with her own father's work and memory. The song's another What a Wonderful World ditty that Louis Armstrong immortalized, a down home dose of feel-good.

If'n ya likes The Stray Cats, the Brian Setzer Orchestra, Lord Mouse & The Kalypso Cats, Royal Crown Revue, Squirrel Nut Zippers, and of course all the time-honored swing daddies (Benny Goodman et al, though you'd certainly never find Ryan McKay's wailing guitar among them bad bays—'n, yow!, take a gander at that gold and snow-white Gibson of his…WHAT AN AXE!!), then this is your home ground, with backing/lead vocalist Leslie Spencer bringing blues, stomp, and shout into the affair, and she sure as hell has the lungs for it. Get ready to jump and jive, lords and ladies, and catch I Just Wanna Have Fun. Yee-haw! The horns are perennially acting up, blaring out, and catching the refrains in rave-up, crazy-legged and hipsomaniacal. You, o connoissieurs of cool, are gonna sweat, smile, and swing yer brains out…yet this only Prima Jr.'s second outing, so I suggest you not overdo it, save some for next time around and…wait! What am I saying? That's nuts! Go crazy, make like there's no tomorrow; that's, after all, what all this is about. You ain't in show biz, but, hellfire, break a leg anyway!

Track List:

  • Blow (Palos / McCaughey / Adams / Prima Jr.)
  • Go Let's Go (Prima Jr. / McCaughey / Adams / Palos)
  • New Orleans (McCaughey / Prima Jr. / Adams / Palos)
  • Someday (McCaughey / Prima Jr. / Adams / Palos)
  • THat's My Home (Rene / Rene / Ellison)
  • Fame and Glory (McCaughey / Prima Jr. / Adams / Palos)
  • Might be Crazy (Adams / McCaughey / Prima Jr. / Palos)
  • Goody Two Shoes (GOddard / Pirroni)
  • I JUst Wanna Have Fun (Palos / Prima Jr. / McCuaghey / Adams)
  • Robin Hood (Prima / Miketta / Stanley /Stanley)
  • Those Million Things (James K. Ervin)

Edited by: David N. Pyles

Copyright 2014, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.
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