Lou Carter

Louie's Love Songs

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Tommy Dorsey's longtime pianist and arranger Lou Carter created the character of Louie the Singing Cab Driver for crooner Perry Como's eponymous television show, and Louie's Love Songs is a strangely affecting collection of sweet-natured novelty numbers with a palpable ache for days gone by. Carter doesn't sing these songs so much as inhabit them -- backed by swooning string arrangements, his thick Bronx accent details the people, places, and traditions of the Old World, and damned if the old bastard doesn't bring a lump to your throat. Listening to the record decades after its initial appearance, one can't help but feel nostalgic for what is essentially nostalgia itself -- both the life for which Carter yearns and the emotions he articulates seem ridiculously uncomplicated, the products of a better yet utterly alien time never to return.