Friday, May 05, 2006

4. Louis Prima - The Wildest! (1956)

Track Listing

1. Just A Gigolo/I Ain't Got Nobody
2. (Nothing's Too Good) For My Baby
3. The Lip
4. Body And Soul
5. Oh Marie
6. Basin Street Blues/When It's Sleepy Time Down South
7. Jump, Jive An' Wail
8. Buona Sera
9. Night Train
10. I'll Be Glad When You're Dead You Rascal You


I am almost ashamed of this review, I thought twice about it, should I give it a 4 or 5 for pretenciousness' sake... and then I decided, no... and here's why:

Ok, is it classy? No. Is it smart? No. Is it great quality? Not really. Does it make your ass shake all the way through it? Oh yeah. Louis Prima does the ultimate Italo-Jazz album with this Wildest!, we all know the Just a Gigolo, Buona Sera or Jump, Jive an' Wail, and the rest of the album is pretty much in the same vein, happy, dancy unpretentious tackiness.

Of all the albums reviewed until now its the one that made me feel happier and gave me more pleasure listening to. It's not nearly as good in terms of technical or lyrical writing as the Louvin Brothers or even Sinatra, however it just has this infectious quality to it that makes it eminently listenable. And today was a sunny day in Manchester, which probably predisposes me to give this piece of unmitigated kitsch a high grade.

And in its kitschiness lies both its greatest qualities and its biggest problems. Louis Prima is a great performer, but in our minds also the kind of thing that would be played in Junior Soprano's 80th Birthday(there's a collection entiltled Mob Hits which contains almost all songs in The Wildest!). But if like me you enjoy the stinking brie slice of cheese that this album is, you will take a lot of laughs from his duets with Keely Smith while also appreciating his almost-Louis-Armstrong-but-not-quite trumpet solos.

Oh crap, just listen to it. And, oh, Napster didn't have this album too, so I had to waste one of the wishes from my genie. Hope you're happy.

Buy it at Amazon: UK or US

Track Highlights

1. Just A Gigolo/I Ain't Got Nobody
2. (Nothing's Too Good) For My Baby
3. Jump, Jive An' Wail
4. Buona Sera

Final Grade



Louis Prima was King Louie in Disney's Jungle Book "I wanna be like you you you, dum de dum"

Night Train was not later made into a Eurotrance Anthem in the mid 90's


Geoffrey Hogswash said...

Louis Prima IS the King of the Swingers. I wanna walk like him, talk like him...

What a rambunctious, ecstactic, unpretentious album this is. It's pure swing. Louis's trumpet playing might be only so-so but his song delivery is second to none. If this album doesn't bring a smile to your face and a wiggle to your hips, you must be made of stone.

Credit also must be given to Keely Smith. Her wonderful mellow voice is a perfect deadpan foil to Prima's jokey stage act. And to Sam Butera whose jazz band makes the album what it is - they get a few solo numbers here.

To continue the Louvin's morbid lyrics theme... 'I'll be glad when you're dead, you rascal you' is a lovely cheery number about wanting someone to die.

I was lucky enough to listen to Prima's expanded Wildest and this has three extra tracks that are just as good as the rest. This guy would have been a phenomenal live performer. I guess this is the closest we can get to it.

Pure joy.

Francisco Silva said...

Jack: Yeah, this was reall a lot of fun to listen to :)

I miss it.

Anonymous said...

Louis Prima is a guy who did his own thing and that's what you have to appreciate about him. Sure, many of his songs start out with the exact same bass and rhythm section, but he is the king of those songs. They are fun for fun's sake only.

Plus, you really can't say anything bad about a guy who voiced a cartoon orangutan.

-- M1001

Francisco Silva said...


Yr4ah, he really owns his songs. There are no better versions anywhere.

Anonymous said...

Keely Smith was really HOT and SEXY at those days! Her voice as well as her pretty face and her buttercup haircut.

Anonymous said...

i wonder why Louis' mouth is wide open in the cover art. Probably he waiting for us bring spoon full of red beans which are the riceyest to put into his mouth.


Louis will go "Yum Yum"!


ArtRockFAN said...

i love the voice of the girl in Louise Brooks bob!

Anonymous said...

I loved this album and had to buy it. If you don't end up with a grin from ear to ear and bopping round the lounge by the end of it then you must be dead already!