Album Review of
Louie Louie Louie

Written by Mark Gallo
August 27, 2017 - 12:00am EDT
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Big Bad Voodoo Daddy is one of the most dynamic little big bands in the land. This 11th album is proof positive of that claim. Formed 24 years ago in Southern California they never fail to slay an audience. This tribute to Louie Armstrong, Louie Prima and Louie Jordan, the most important Louies in swing and jazz, the 13 songs here are all classic and given a classic turn by the fellas, all original members. Louie Armstrong was the first of the three to impact American culture and the first we hear from, literally. An old transcript has Pops introduce the song. The band then tears into it with fervor. Trumpeter Glen ‘The Kid’ Marhevka picks up where Louie Armstrong lets off. That’s the story of this record: seven adoring musicians with chops to spare. Louie #1 is also represented by the classic “Basin Street Blues,” played by pianist Joshua Levey, with drumming by Kurt Sodergren, before trumpet and horns break in. “Struttin With Some Barbecue” and “When the Saints Go Marching In” are Armstrong staples also here. Next Up are Louie Prima’s “Oh, Marie,” “Whistle Stop,” Five Months, Two Weeks, Two Days,” and a fantastic take on his signature tune, “Jump, Jive and Wail.” Plenty wailing going on, especially Karl Hunter’s tenor. The final Louie in the trilogy is the most prolific. Louis Jordan owned the late 1940s with the classics represented here. “Is You Is Or Is You Ain’t My Baby,” played very close to the original, and “Jack, You’re Dead,” sees the horns cookin’. “Choo Choo Boogie” is taken percussively down the track, with everybody shining. The sly “Knock Me A Kiss” is given a superb finger-snapping take and the last Jordan in the set, “Ain’t Nobody Here But Us Chickens,”  one of the most recognizable of Louie #3’s tunes, gets piano and horns riled up behind some lively vocals. This is a treat for two reasons: The three Louies and Big Bad Voodoo Daddy wailing in tribute. This one’s a blast.