Recorded in New York, circa June 1946. No personnel details. Released in August 1946.
Alternative download method - click on the link to download both sides plus label scans:
Thanks to El Enmascarado for these rips from a 78 rpm shellac disc. The disc was slightly warped, which prevented it from lying flat in the masked one's scanner, hence the blurred label scans. Despite worn grooves our blog benefactor has succeeded in getting good quality sound from both sides.
As for the music - " a jazz/cowboy" crossover is how El Enmascarado describes it. It's an unlikely collaboration between New Orleans born Italian-American hepcat Louis Prima and a western band whose usual milieu was Roy Rogers movies. And there's added "vout" - the jive term popularised by Slim Gaillard (of whom we shall speak in an upcoming post), another popular "hep" figure who was enjoying a wave of popularity at the time of this recording.
There's an obvious influence of the Ella Mae Morse / Freddie Slack hit "Cow Cow Boogie" on "Vout Cowboy" plus Louis Prima's own scat singing ("vootedy bootedy bootie macscootie") set against the plains harmony of the Riders Of The Purple Sage. An unusual amalgam, yet it works. "Mary Lou" starts off with strictly squaresville harmonies from The Riders then builds to a roaring climax as the horns of the Prima band blast in. Another unlikely yet likeable combination.
"Louis Prima does a switch on the sweet-and-hot formula by spinning out a contrast of hillbilly and swing. For the outdoor aura, brings in a fine vocal troupe in Foy Willing and the Riders of the Purple Sage. And with a cow-cow-boogie type of chant in "Vout Cowboy," Prima gets an opportunity to inject some scat singing along with the Westerners as they tell the story of a "hillbilly killer diller."
"Completing the Prima imprint is a tasty dish of his gutbucket Gabriel horning, The contrast is not so sharply defined for the "Mary Lou" evergreen that has the Riders singing it sweetly as the Prima horns blow hot. "Vout Cowboy" should make for a real coin clicker."
In 1944 he started recording with big band backing and in the next few years issued a string of great records on Hit, Majestic, Savoy and V Disc such as "Robin Hood," "Angelina," "Just a Gigolo," "Who Threw The Whiskey In The Well," (backed with the terrific "You Gotta See Baby Tonight") " "Brooklyn Boogie," and "Hey! Ba-Ba-Re-Bop."
At the end of the 40s he had recruited Keely Smith as a vocalist and was recording for Mercury. His most memorable disc at that time was issued on the Robin Hood label - a recording of his own composition "Oh! Babe."
A later generation know him better for his mid to late 1950s recordings on Capitol with Keely Smith and the great Sam Butera on tenor sax. These records were made at a time when Prima's career had received a major boost when he started playing the Vegas lounges with Keely Smith and Sam Butera and the Witnesses. The audience of wise guys, high rollers, suckers and schmucks lapped up his reprises of old material such as "Angelina," "Oh Marie" and the medley of "Just a Gigolo" and "I Ain't Got Nobody."
To an even later generation (mine!) he was King Louis in the 1960s Disney cartoon of "The Jungle Book." An even younger generation enjoyed his music when his Capitol recordings with Sam Butera received heavy play during the 1990s swing revival. The "Just a Gigolo" / "I Ain't Got Nobody" medley, "Five Months, Two Weeks, Two Days" and "Jump, Jive And Wail" enlivened many a swing dance and the last named tune featured in a GAP commercial known as "Khaki Swing." But by then Louis was past caring as he had passed away in 1978.
Foy Willing (real name Willingham) was a Texas born singer, songwriter bandleader and actor. He founded The Riders Of The Purple Sage in 1942 (Patti Page was an early member) and they quickly gained a niche as a Western band which appeared in many 'B' western movies from the early 1940s to the early 1950s. They replaced The Sons Of The Pioneers when the latter split with Roy Rogers in 1948.
The kind of material they played included "Cool Water," "Blue Shadows On The Trail," "Ridin' Down That Old Texas Trail" and "Wind." You get the idea. They had Country top ten hits in the 1940s with "Texas Blues," "Have I Told You Lately That I Love You," and "Detour." The group broke up in 1952 but occasionally reunited to record and perform. Foy Willing died in July 1978, just over a month before the death of Louis Prima.