Louis Prima & His Orchestra

1945

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AllMusic Review by

Here's another piquant chunk of the Louis Prima legacy, focusing on the records he made with his big band in the spring and autumn of 1945 for the Majestic and V-Disc labels. The opening track, a feisty and rowdy "Brooklyn Boogie," is peppered with Prima's patented interjections and trumpet blasts, ultimately building to a raucous fever spike of excitement. The next six selections feature coy vocals by Lily Ann Carol, a capable singer who did her best work with catchy numbers like "Sentimental Journey" and "On the Atchison, Topeka and the Santa Fe" but could also savor the sultry topography of a tune like "I Don't Want to Be Loved." Prima takes over as singer on his famous "Felicia No Capicia," one of many novelties that banked ruthlessly upon his ethnicity, and "You Gotta See Baby Tonight," a partial hijacking of Con Conrad's vaudeville-era opus "You've Got to See Mama Ev'ry Night." Of course, Prima found Lucky Millinder's fundamentally stupid sing-and-clap-along "Who Threw the Whiskey in the Well?" routine irresistible and had to try it on. Still, some songs are just plain dumb and this version is as foolish as anyone else's. Six titles resulted from this compilation's only session with an exact date on it: on May 17, 1945, Louis Prima, Lily Ann Carol, and an extra large band whipped up a series of animated recordings for the Armed Forces V-Disc label. Both Prima and Carol introduce most of the tunes, speaking warmly to "the boys" overseas. At the beginning of "Please No Squeeza da Banana," Prima promises the troops ravioli and chicken cacciatore if they'll hurry on home from the war. Fans of this song will appreciate being able to hear the V-Disc version, as well as a four-and-a-half-minute rendition of "Just a Gigolo" that opens with an extended trumpet solo, switches into "I Ain't Got Nobody," and rocks on out. This arrangement, of course, would serve him well over the years, particularly when he cooked up a duet version with Keely Smith, a nearly apoplectic performance that is still his best-known recording. There are a couple of remake titles from the Majestic session of a few days earlier and four tracks recorded for Majestic during the autumn of 1945. "Waitin' for the Train to Come In" swings with dignity, while Buster Harding's "Hi Ho Trailus Bootwhip" comes across as flashy but not so fast or furious as Roy Eldridge's incendiary version recorded in May of 1946. This sixth installment in the complete recordings of Louis Prima closes with "As Mr. Mason Said to Mr. Dixon," a topical novelty tune that comes off surprisingly well when sung and played by Louis Prima.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1
feat: Louis Prima
2:54
2
feat: Louis Prima
3:00
3
feat: Louis Prima
2:07
4
feat: Louis Prima
3:00
5
feat: Louis Prima
2:34
6
feat: Louis Prima
2:43
7
feat: Louis Prima
3:09
8
feat: Louis Prima
3:02
9
feat: Louis Prima
3:13
10 2:40
11
feat: Louis Prima
3:01
12
feat: Louis Prima
4:11
13
feat: Louis Prima
3:18
14
feat: Louis Prima
2:20
15
feat: Louis Prima
4:26
16
feat: Louis Prima
3:05
17
feat: Louis Prima
2:24
18
feat: Louis Prima
2:42
19
feat: Louis Prima
2:58
20
feat: Louis Prima
3:14
21
feat: Louis Prima
3:09
blue highlight denotes track pick