Thursday, July 28, 2011

Listening to the Book: Chapter 3

Time to listen along with chapter 3 of my book, What a Wonderful World: The Magic of Louis Armstrong's Later Years. This chapter, " "King of the Zulus," begins with a description of Louis's appearance on Bing Crosby's radio show in February 1949. Listen to what they do with "Lazy Bones":




Then it was time for Louis to be named King of the Zulus, at a ceremony that took place at Booker T. Washington auditorium in New Orleans on Febraury 27, 1949. On March 1, radio station WDSU broadcast an eight-minute segment on the event. This is some RARE stuff as you'll get to hear Louis interviewed, the actual coronation ceremony and Louis's immortant wisecrack to Mayor Morrison:




It was also at Booker T. Washington that Louis turned in two of his all-time finest performances (no joke), ones that were responsible for two of my most well-recevied blogs. First up was "Shoe Shine Boy":
Shoe Shine Boy:

The full blog on that version and all versions of the tune can be found here.

Then that was followed by a ferociously hot "Royal Garden Blues" with some jaw-dropping Sid Catlett:
Royal Garden:


A few months later, Louis appeared on the Eddie Condon Floor Show, one of Louis's finest television appearances, in my opinion, and one that also featured a guest appearance by Clarence Armstrong, Louis's adopted son. Here's the audio of the entire show:



And a blog about it with more details: Eddie Condon June 11, 1949

Soon after, Louis started recorded for Decca. I called his version of "I'll Keep the Lovelight Burning" a "minor classic" in the book. Listen along and see if you agree:



Again, for more details on the song itself, here's the link to a blog on the subject I wrote in 2008: I'll Keep The Lovelight Burning blog

Louis's next session with Gordon Jenkins resulted in two classics that I've somehow never blogged about! Here's the original "Blueberry Hill":




And "That Lucky Old Sun":




Louis's next session found him alongside Billie Holiday. Towards the end of "My Sweet Hunk O'Trash," Louis's phrasing of "how come, baby" sounded like "fuck 'em, baby" and columnists went nuts. Here it is unaltered:



And courtesy of YouTube, here it is with a hilarious, clear (and white) voice dubbing in the word "How":


Over to Europe, where I discussed Louis's love of Ray Martino, Here's Louis playing along with Martino's "Luna."



And finally, from that tour of Europe, a fantastic version of "West End Blues," pairing Louis and Earl "Fatha" Hines 21 years after the original:

And a link to my full blog on "West End Blues".

S'all for now good people. Next up, some classic Decca recordings from the early 50s. Thanks for listening and especially for reading!

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