#932 (1/18/20)

SPOTLIGHT ON LOUIS PRIMA - PART TWO (1946 - 1947)

"I'll Be With You In Apple Blossom Time"
Louis Prima And His Orchestra
Vocal by Lilyann Carol And Jack Powers
on Majestic 1050 B
released in 1946

"My Valentine"
Louis Prima And His Orchestra
Vocal by Jack Powers And Ensemble
on Majestic 1058 A
released in 1946

"A Flea And A Fly In A Flue"
Louis Prima And His Orchestra
Vocal by Louis Prima And Tune-Timers
on Majestic 1076 B
released in 1946

"Maria Mia"
Louis Prima And His Orchestra
Vocal by Jack Powers And Ensemble
on Majestic 1157 B
released in 1947

(Includes Audio For Eleven Songs)



Louis Prima, born in New Orleans of Italian heritage, was a band leader, trumpet player, singer, composer, arranger, and record label owner.

Above: Jack Powers, who was Louis Prima's featured male vocalist in the mid-1940s.

Above: Lilyann Carol, one of Louis Prima's featured female vocalists in the mid-1940s. Newspaper articles and blurbs, as well as this photo, have spelled her name either "Lilyann" or "Lily Ann". She signed her name "Lilyann" here, so that's what will be used on this webpage.

Above: Kay Allen (Cathy Allen), another of Louis Prima's featured female vocalists in the mid-1940s.

Above: Betty Blaine, yet another of Louis Prima's featured female vocalists in the mid-1940s.

Above: Louis Prima And Lilyann Carol on the cover of the March 11, 1946 Down Beat magazine.

Above: TIMES, June 2, 1946: MOST BEAUTIFUL KNEES
That's what Harry Conover, New York beauty expert, calls 'em. The knees belong to Lilyann Carol, vocalist, with Louis Prima's orchestra.


Above: SIOUX CITY JOURNAL, May 31, 1946: MORNING WORKOUT
Band leader Louis Prima (right), astride Blue Eye, looks over Republican, one of his string of race horses ready for a workout at a New York track.



Above: THE BILLBOARD, October 5, 1946.


LOUIS PRIMA'S FEMALE VOCALISTS....


Above Left: INDIANAPOLIS NEWS, November 13, 1946: COMING TO CIRCLE STAGE
JUDY LYNN is the featured vocalist with Louis Prima's orchestra which opens a week's engagement on the Circle stage Thursday. Mr. Prima, veteran of small musical groups as well as stage and film work, has risen to success and is the head of a larger and more entertaining orchestra that has featured dance music as well as showmanship.

(NOTE: Judy Lynn will be the featured artist for "Louis Prima - Part Three" Record of the Week. She is NOT the country and western singer Judy Lynn.)

Above Middle Left: PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, February 7, 1947: NIGHT CLUB ENTERTAINER FEATURED IN REVUE
BETTY BLAINE is night club star at Little Rathskeller (Philadelphia).

Above Middle Right: PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, August 10, 1947: PRIMA AT STEEL PIER
....Louis Prima, gravel-throated trumpeter, and his aggregation open a week's stay in the Marine Ballroom today. CATHY ALLEN is featured.

Above Far Right: BOSTON GLOBE, January 28, 1945. (LILYANN CAROL)


EXTRA AUDIO #1 (Windows Media Player) CATHY ALLEN (aka KAY ALLEN):
[Audio restoration by Dave Saviet.]

Above: Cathy (Kay) Allen.

FROM THE BANDCHIRPS WEBSITE:
Vocalist Kay Allen, later known as Cathy Allen, sang for Red Norvo’s orchestra in early 1942. By September of that year, she was with Lou Breese, remaining as part of his group when he pared down to ten pieces and settled in as the house band at the Chez Paree night club in Chicago. She stayed with Breese until at least late 1943. By 1944, though, she was singing for Carlos Molina’s Latin orchestra, leaving the group in February.

Allen joined Jerry Wald’s band in early 1944, remaining with the clarinet player through early 1946 and recording several songs with the group, including her signature tune from that period, “Candy”. While with the orchestra, she fell in love with fellow singer Dick Merrick, and the two married in late 1946. Allen by that time had left Wald, making a quick exit and entrance in Claude Thornhill’s new group in April 1946 before becoming singer for Randy Brooks.

Around the time of her marriage, Allen changed her professional name to Cathy. A Hollywood contract was supposedly secured just before she and Merrick tied the knot, but nothing ever came of it. She continued singing with Brooks until April 1947, when she joined Louis Prima, staying and recording with the bandleader until the birth of her first child in September 1949.

After leaving Prima, Allen settled in Philadelphia with her husband, where she began to sing in local nightclubs and appear on local television, having a regular spot on WPTZ’s The Girl Next Door. She and Merrick recorded together on the Admiral label in 1950.

In 1952, Allen became singer for Charlie Ventura at his Open House club in nearby Lindenwald, New Jersey. In April 1954, she was working as a DJ on WPEN, singing as well as spinning records on her own Sunday night program. In 1962, she and Merrick settled in Florida.

Above: RCA Victor 20-2400-B label. The side was released in 1947.

At Left: Clipping from HARTFORD COURANT dated September 9, 1947.

LISTEN (Windows Media Player): [Audio restoration by Dave Saviet.]
"Forsaking All Others" - Louis Prima And His Orchestra (Vocal by Cathy Allen, Louis Prima and Chorus) - RCA Victor 20-2400-B - 1947.



Above Left: CINCINNATI ENQUIRER, July 19, 1946: WITH JERRY WALD
Kay Allen is featured with Jerry Wald's orchestra, which plays for dancing at Moonlite Gardens, Coney Island, tonight only and will be at LeSourdsville Lake on Sunday night only.

Above Middle: BUCYRUS TELEGRAPH FORUM, June 7, 1947: OPENS POINT
Louis Prima and his orchestra with Cathy Allen, vocalist, will open the "name band" parade at Cedar Point Saturday, June 14. Louis' ubiquitous trumpet and raspy voice, familiar trademarks in the band business, still facade a brand of music that is particularly Prima; but during recent months his arrangements have swung "right" to the more restrained. Comprising three rhythm, five reed, and seven brass, his well-balanced orchestra is styled to please dancers and listeners both. Billed as "The Man who Plays Pretty for the People," Prima's colorful batoneering signals a lively show with tunes running the gamut.

Above Right: HARTFORD COURANT, August 22, 1946. Randy Brooks/Kay Allen clipping.




Above: DETROIT FREE PRESS, June 4, 1946:
Bandleader Louis Prima, the man who plays pretty for the people, drops in from the Downtown Theatre with his vocalists Lilyann Carol and Jack Powers for late luncheon at the London Chop House.




Above: AKRON BEACON JOURNAL, June 26, 1947 Clipping.
(NOTE: Jack Powers and Cathy Allen were Louis Prima's featured vocalists. Jimmy Vincent was his star drummer.)


EXTRA AUDIO #2 (Windows Media Player) FOY WILLING:
[Audio restoration by Dave Saviet.]

Above: Foy Willing.           Below Left: Foy Willing And The Riders Of The Purple Sage.


Above: Majestic 5003 A and Majestic 6000 A labels. Both records were recorded in June 1946 and released later that year.

LISTEN (Windows Media Player): [Audio restoration by Dave Saviet.]
1. "Voit Cowboy" - Louis Prima And His Orchestra With Foy Willing And The Riders Of The Purple Sage - Majestic 5003 A - 1946.
2. "Mary Lou" - Louis Prima And His Orchestra With Foy Willing And The Riders Of The Purple Sage - Majestic 5003 B - 1946.
3. "Cool Water" - Foy Willing And The Riders Of The Purple Sage - Majestic 6000 A - 1946.
4. "Darling, What More Can I Do" - Foy Willing And The Riders Of The Purple Sage - Majestic 6002 B - 1946.

ALL FOUR SIDES played in sequence.





Above Left: MORNING CALL, April 10, 1942. Betty Blaine Clipping.
(NOTE: Helen Fox would record with Jimmy Coe and his band on the States label in 1953.)

Above Middle: HARRISBURG TELEGRAPH, August 7, 1942. Betty Blaine Clipping.

Above Right: STANDARD SENTINEL, December 25, 1946. Clipping.




Above Left: PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, February 3, 1947. Betty Blaine Clipping.

Above Middle: STAR GAZETTE, June 2, 1947. Clipping.

Above Right: SOUTH BEND TRIBUNE, December 18, 1947. Clipping.




Above Left: CHICAGO TRIBUNE, September 29, 1946: PRIMA'S SINGER
Jack Powers is the handsome singing find of Louis Prima's orchestra, now playing in the College Inn of the Hotel Sherman.

Above Middle: DAILY NEWS, May 7, 1947. Clipping.

Above Right: ASBURY PARK PRESS, August 2, 1947: CONVENTION HALL MAESTRO BORN IN CRADLE OF JAZZ
(See the full story under "Articles And Blurbs" below.)


ARTICLES AND BLURBS....

THE BILLBOARD, March 16, 1946: LOUIS PRIMA—REVIEWED AT "400" CLUB, NEW YORK
Trumpets: Don Rose, Frank Nicolas, Jerry Greco, Lucian Delgurdici.

Trombones: Steve Mace, Ralph Goldstein, Marvin Gellert, Alan Langstaff.

Saxes: Mike Cotton, Hal Rosenman, Mortin Weisberg, Eugene Sufana, Elbridge Westerfield.

Rhythm: Vinnie Owens, Frank Frederico, Al Gurton, Tony Ciarlo.

Vocalists: Louis Prima, Lilyann Carol, Jack Powers.

Right up there on disk poles ever since "Robin Hood", "Angelina", and "Bell-Bottom Trousers" were cut with a fine Italian hand, Louis the Preem devastated the "400". Waving that trumpet around in one hand, sweating up a storm of vitality-growled vocals, digging the terps with glad-hand and skin-me-dad charm, Prima is worth every buck he brings into the spot, and the pile of bills towers high.

What makes the band good is the maestro, for without him all the dynamite has no percussion cap. Not that present ork is anything like the Hickory House days of the Preem—it's rather sound and workmanlike, musically—but he sparks the whole effort, drives the tunes and the band with them, and rates all the mitts he is accorded.... With a band, and this one is a lot better than most of the aggregations tailored behind a leader's sales personality, the man is—how do they say it in the music biz? — sensational.

BOSTON GLOBE, May 13, 1946: LOUIS PRIMA
....Prima, Who is of Italian-American descent and has the swarthy good looks of a southern Italian, took violin lessons as a child, even if his poverty-stricken parents had to work doubly hard to give their three children musical advantages. His mother, Angelina Prima, sold vegetables at a stand in order that Louis should have the musical education she herself had longed for. His father, a truck driver, felt that the music lessons his children took would somehow give them a better life than he had.

When Louis, who was still a "long hair" at the age of 14, found that the many jazz bands and dance orchestras of Lower Basin Street, New Orleans, had no place for a violinist but welcomed a "hot trumpet", Prima wisely changed his instrument.

Today his mother no longer sells vegetables from a stand, as the result of his decision, but devotes herself to her favorite hobby, amateur theatricals. She is a great hit in school and church amateur minstrel shows in New Orleans. What She likes best is when "Angelina" is played. That is "her song". It was rearranged and rewritten, as well as introduced by her son in honor of his mother. Angelina Prima is proud of her son. The Elder Prima still drives a truck—he doesn't wish to give up his job just because his younger son, Louis, is a musical success....

As for Louis Prima, he still looks longingly back at his violinist days. He has an enormous collection of records—and there isn't a jazz record among them. He goes in for the best of Beethoven and Bach. I like some of Sibelius", he admits. "And Dvorak, who did the New World Symphony"....

On the recreational side, Prima goes in for horses. He has a stable of nine, and as he is known as "The Man Who Plays Pretty", all his horses are named Pretty. There's Sing Pretty, Run Pretty, Dance Pretty, King Pretty, and even Play Pretty. This last is his favorite and the best racer in his stable....

NEWS PALLADIUM, October 8, 1946: LOUIS PRIMA AT CRYSTAL PALACE NEXT SATURDAY
Scheduled to appear at the Crystal Palace on October 12th, is the nationally outstanding bandleader, Louis Prima, and his orchestra. The band has recently made appearances in theaters of New York, Chicago, Cleveland, and Baltimore, and has broadcast on such programs as the Coca-Cola Spotlight Bands, Million Dollar band, and Dance Remotes.

Louis Prima, vocalist, trumpeter, and composer, has written such hits as "Sing, Sing, Sing" and "It's The Rhythm In Me" and popularized such numbers as "I'll Walk Alone" and "Chinatown". He has become familiar to movie-goers in "You Can't Have Everything and "Rose of Washington Square".

Featured with the torrid trumpeter will be Miss Judy Lynn, vocalist, Jack Powers, vocalist, Frank Frederico, comedy singer, Jimmy Vincent, drummer, and the Tune-Timers, vocal quartette.

(NOTE: Judy Lynn will be the featured artist for "Louis Prima - Part Three" Record of the Week. She is NOT the country and western singer Judy Lynn.)

LISTEN (Using Windows Media Player): "Chinatown, My Chinatown" - Louis Prima-Dave Rose-Norman Gast - Bluebird B-5758-B - 1933.
(NOTE: Label says "Violin, piano and trumpet with vocal refrain". Prima: trumpet and vocal, Rose: piano, Gast: violin.)

PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, April 9, 1947: LOUIS PRIMA AT CLICK
Clowning, horn-tooting Louis Prima (from 'way down yonder in New Orleans) is the fourth maestro in a row to offer a local singer at Click. This time it's Cathy Allen, a wee, blue-eyed mite from the neighborhood of 18th and Morris streets. She's only five feet tall. "I'm a little one", she says. What does she like to sing? "Well, I prefer sad stuff", she says, "Sad ballads. I love anything that's sad. I like to sing those 'man' songs, like 'The Man I Love' - I love that".

The man she loves is the male voice with Randy Brooks' band. She married the guy in December. Apparently, we looked unimpressed by the great Romance. "Don't you want his name?" Cathy asked, a bit wistfully. All right, for Cathy—it's Dick Merrick.

ASBURY PARK PRESS, July 30, 1947: LOUIS PRIMA BAND APPEARS TONIGHT
Louis Prima (and his orchestra), who will appear at Convention Hall, here, tonight through August 5, has built himself a reputation as one of the foremost "in person" band favorites in the land by his style of rhythm, his singing of novelty numbers, and the all-around entertainment given by his organization. He is an established favorite with dancers because of his distinctive rhythm that combines modern swing and southern jazz in a fashion that makes for easy dancing as well as interesting listening.

The "Trumpet Man" has been featured in many of the large and famous hotels and is a popular stage attraction. His voice and personality are nationally known through his records and radio network broadcasts.

Louis Prima, it has been learned, is to receive a citation from the National Academy of Vocal Arts for the most original voice of his time. Known for his introducing novelty numbers, he also has composed a number of hits, including "Robin Hood" and "Please Don't Squeeze Da Bananas" [sic].

LISTEN (Using Windows Media Player): "Please No Squeeza Da Banana" - Louis Prima And His Orchestra (Vocal by Louis Prima And Chorus) - Majestic 7135 - 1945.

ASBURY PARK PRESS, August 2, 1947: CONVENTION HALL MAESTRO BORN IN CRADLE OF JAZZ
Not in a theatrical trunk, but in the cradle of jazz was Louis Prima born nearly 35 years ago. The New Orleans of the first quarter of the century was the spawning ground of such Jazzmen as King Oliver, Jack Teagarten, Louis Armstrong, and many others, both Negro and white. They played in cafes, dance halls, in the streets, and on the docks. And wherever they wandered, young Louis Prima trailed them.

"On Sundays", Mr. Prima reminisced last night backstage at the Convention Hall, "the bands would advertise by riding through the streets on wagons, playing as they went along. We used to run after the wagons, and then hang around wherever they played at night".

He was a violinist at that time, leading his own high school orchestra and studying music. As he grew older, however, his hands became too large for nimble violin work, and he turned to the trumpet. He took lessons, worked with some of the local bands, and then organized his own five-piece outfit that "played all kinds of jazz". Eager to leave the South, he and his band finally entrained for New York after Guy Lombardo had persuaded the two skeptical Elder Primas that young Louis had a promising future. In 1935 he opened at the "Famous Door", then the only cafe on 52nd Street. "We started 52nd Street", Mr. Prima asserts proudly. Night clubs featuring jazz music soon appeared on both sides of the old "Door". Until today, the locality is known to musicians only as "The Street".

"We did everything with that little band", he explained. "Radio shows like the Kraft Music Hall and Rudy Vallee, movies such as 'Manhattan Merry-Go-Round' were all part of the job". Expansion of the band in 1939, however, became more of a headache than a boon to the group. The simple addition of more men made the outfit unwieldy, so Mr. Prima took the original band back to New Orleans and reorganized.

— Robin Hood Saved The Band —

"Then we did our struggling", he says. In 1940, 41, and 42, "We did everything possible... We were in bad straits for a while". "Robin Hood" saved the day. In a Cincinnati hotel room, the harried, almost insolvent Mr. Prima jokingly told his arrangers that if he ever had any big money, he would like to give away some to the poor". "You wanna be like Robin Hood?" they answered. "I had never heard of Robin Hood", the band leader explained last night, "so they told me all about him, and we started working on the song. We finished a couple of weeks later in Salt Lake City, and played it there for the first time. The recording really saved us."

He followed up with "Angelina", of which he wrote "part of the music and most of the lyrics". It was composed for his mother, whose name is Angelina. He said last night that he wrote the jazz classic "Sing, Sing, Sing", as well as "Brooklyn Boogie", and "The White Cliffs of Dover" [sic*].

(*NOTE: "The White Cliffs of Dover" was composed by Nat Burton and Walter Kent, not Louis Prima.)

Then, as today, Louis Prima the musician is also Louis Prima the showman. "I think people expect more than just straight music, more of a variety", is how he explains his endless clowning in which the band participates". I hire the boys first of all for musicianship, tho", he asserted. He fools constantly, although little of the resulting vaudeville show is prepared. His clowning is mostly ad-lib, but the famous Prima specialty numbers require hours of rehearsal.

"It's a funny thing about my voice", he said last night. "When I was young, I used to have a good singing voice. The doctor told my mother that I could be a successful singer, but that he'd better take out my tonsils and adenoids immediately so I wouldn't have trouble later on". "That's what happened", he explained in his peculiar falsetto. "And I don't get laryngitis. A bandleaders life is all mixed up", he asserted, "You never eat regularly and sleep at funny hours. Would I switch for an office job? Not any more", he answered a little wistfully. "It's something in you—you can't get away from it".

"For 10 years I've been hearing jazz is going out", he retorted to a question. "It'll never go out—it's our music, it originated here. I don't think there'll be any period when the public won't want Jazz". He explained the alleged diminishing popularity of jazz by explaining that "Some of the boys overdid it—they played it too much. All sweet's no good, all hot's no good".

Backstage Mr. Prima is very quiet, in fact, almost subdued. Swarms of friends and admirers constantly running in and out scarcely ruffle him. He combats fatigue with plenty of exercise, and by teatotaling.


Above Left: Label image of Majestic 1050 B recorded in March 1946 and released later that year.

Above Right: Label image of Majestic 1058 A recorded in April 1946 and released later that year.

The Billboard "Record Possiblities" (8/3/46):

LOUIS PRIMA — Majestic 1058....My Valentine with vocals by Jack Powers and Ensemble.
Prima does this in a straight commercial vein, with heavy emphasis on the smooth songselling capabilities of Jack Powers and a quartet. It's ear-pleasing music, which could easily catch on for a click.

The Billboard Review (8/3/46):

LOUIS PRIMA — Majestic 1058....My Valentine/Brooklyn Boogie
Louis Prima goes on a tried and true commercial kick, and it's plenty good. With just a lick of his trumpeting on the endings, he spins a real smoothie in Vic Knight's "My Valentine," a tuneful ballad that packs plenty of contagion. For it all, it's the romantic singing of Jack Powers, with a vocal quartet assisting the singer for a second stanza. Musical backgrounds are entirely rhythmic and in good taste, giving the ballad a most toothsome send-off. Mated is a reissue of the riotous eight-to-the-bar "Brooklyn Boogie" instrumental. Real hit potential in "My Valentine" for the music boxes.

Above Left: Label image of Majestic 1076 B recorded in August 1946 and released later that year. Per the Night Club Review in The Billboard dated 9/21/46, The Tune-Timers were "three girl singers and a boy".

Above Right: Label image of Majestic 1157 B recorded in September 1946 and released in 1947.

NOTE: Most discographical information provided at this website is from Ferdie Gonzalez' Disco-File.


Listen to this week's selections featuring Louis Prima on Majestic from 1946-1947 using Windows Media Player:
[Audio restoration by Dave Saviet.]

          1. I'll Be With You In Apple Blossom Time - Louis Prima And His Orchestra (Vocal by Lilyann Carol And Jack Powers) - Majestic 1050 B - 1946
          2. My Valentine - Louis Prima And His Orchestra (Vocal by Jack Powers And Ensemble) - Majestic 1058 A - 1946
          3. A Flea And A Fly In A Flue - Louis Prima And His Orchestra (Vocal by Louis Prima And Tune-Timers) - Majestic 1076 B - 1946
          4. Maria Mia - Louis Prima And His Orchestra (Vocal by Jack Powers And Ensemble) - Majestic 1157 B - 1946
 
          ALL FOUR FEATURED SONGS
          played in sequence.
 
          ALL ELEVEN SONGS ON THIS PAGE
          played in sequence


          [To download audio files, right-click on song title link and then click "Save link (target) as..."]







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