by Louis PrimaLouis Prima


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Bear Family's extensive Rocks series generally serves the purpose of concentrating a lot of a specific rocker's most energetic performances onto one CD, or isolating the most rock-oriented sides of an artist most known for a different style of music (such as Marty Robbins). The rationale behind the 30 sides picked for this Louis Prima volume isn't as clear. As Billy Vera even admits near the end of his fine liner notes, "I'm not trying to say that Louis, [his singer] Keely [Smith], and [his saxophonist] Sam [Butera] had any appeal for 50s teens. They did not, but what they were playing was, in every other sense, rock'n'roll, or at least its prototype." True, the material was all cut at the height of the early rock & roll explosion between 1956 and 1958, and drew from some of the same influences that early rock did (jump blues and swing jazz being the most prevalent). But it's not rock & roll, or even too rock-influenced, with a few exceptions, like the Smith-penned "Rock-A-Doodle-Doo." That doesn't mean it isn't plenty boisterous, though it's a lot more like hearing the hottest lounge band in town than real rockers, especially when Butera lets loose with his down'n'dirtiest sax riffs (as he does on "Hey Boy, Hey Girl"). Of course a great deal of the music recorded by Prima shared these characteristics, not just these 30 tracks, and this hardly showcases all of the things he did that rocked in spirit if not in form. If album titles and genre classifications aren't the kind of things that vex you, enjoy the nearly 82 minutes (yes, it does fit more than 81 minutes onto one disc) of Prima mixing swing jazz, sentimental Italian schmaltz, jump blues, and nightclub comedy into his idiosyncratic and immediately identifiable sound, including such highlights of his repertoire as "Jump, Jive an' Wail," "Oh, Marie," "Just a Gigolo/I Ain't Got Nobody," and "I'll Be Glad When You're Dead You Rascal You." It isn't necessarily a best-of or even the best of his more raucous material, but it's certainly the longest such compilation anywhere in those ballparks, with good annotation.

Product Details

Release Date: 11/02/2012
Label: Bear Family Germany
UPC: 4000127173188
catalogNumber: 2717318
Rank: 105064

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Louis Prima   Primary Artist,Trumpet,Leader,Vocals
Pete Candoli   Trumpet
Keely Smith   Vocals
Sam Butera   Leader,Saxophone,Tenor Saxophone,Vocals
Jack Marshall   Guitar
Felix Slatkin   Violin
Paul Nero   Violin
Cy Bernard   Cello
Roland Bundock   Bass
Frank Carlson   Drums
Joe Comfort   Bass
Walter Edelstein   Violin
Paul Ferrara   Drums
Eddie Kusby   Trombone
Harvey Lang   Drums
Tony Liuzza   Bass
Nelson Riddle   Leader
George Roberts   Trombone
Mischa Russell   Violin
Wilbur Schwartz   Saxophone
Dick Shanahan   Drums
Paul Shure   Violin
David Sterkin   Viola
Alvin Stoller   Drums
Paul Tanner   Trombone
Gerald Vinci   Violin
Alex Beller   Violin
Eleanor Slatkin   Cello
Victor Bay   Violin
Robert J. Carter   Piano
Stanley Harris   Viola
Jerold Kasper   Saxophone
Alex Murray   Violin
Tom Pederson   Trombone
William Pittman   Guitar
Amado Rodriques   Bass
Hammond Russum   Saxophone
Clarence "Shorty" Sherlock   Trumpet
Bill Miller   Piano
Robert Bain   Guitar
Milton W. Raskin   Piano
Bob "Bobby" Roberts   Guitar
James Priddy   Trombone
James Blount   Trombone
Willie McCumber   Piano
Charles Gentry   Saxophone
Robert D. "Bob" Morris   Drums
Katherine Julye   Harp
Lou Scineaux   Trombone

Technical Credits

Louis Prima   Composer
Sam Butera   Composer
Terry Noland   Composer
Johnny Burke   Composer
Peter DeRose   Composer
Voyle Gilmore   Producer
Roger Graham   Composer
Walter Kent   Composer
Bernie Lowe   Composer
Carl Sigman   Composer
Billy Vera   Liner Notes
Clarence Williams   Composer
Spencer Williams   Composer
John Davenport   Composer
Kelly Owens   Composer
Jimmy Breedlove   Composer
Eddie Cooley   Composer
R.A. Andreas   Illustrations
Arthur Johnston   Composer
Stefan Kohne   Reissue Producer
Prima   Composer
Don Donaldson   Composer
Jerry Joyce   Composer
Richard A. Whiting   Composer
Doris Fisher   Composer
Hal Mann   Composer
Ray Stanley   Composer
Sam Theard   Composer
Nat Burton   Composer
Paolo Citarella   Composer
Buddy Fields   Composer
Charles Warfield   Composer
Jerry Winn   Composer
Rose Marie McCoy   Composer
Andreas Merck   Photo Scanning
Debbie Morris   Composer
Eduardo di Capua   Composer
Allen Roberts   Composer
Oscar McLollie   Composer
Este   Photo Restoration
Sam Lerner   Composer

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