Louis Prima's band leader and saxophonist Sam Butera died Wednesday morning, June 3rd at 6 a.m. at his home in Las Vegas, he was 81 years old. He was born in New Orleans on Aug. 17, 1927 and led Prima's backing band the Witnesses from 1954 until 1975 when Prima went into the coma that would eventually kill him. He was on all of the best Louis Prima & Keely Smith Capitol LP's: The Wildest (here), The Call Of The Wildest, The Wildest Comes Home, The Wildest Show In Tahoe (here), etc.) I caught him at the Tropicana in Vegas as recently as 1997 and he was still great. He made lots of good solo records including Easy Rockin' (Capitol), Bim Bam (Capitol), Little Liza Jane (Prima 1) She's A Kookamonger (Dot) as well as singing lead on many songs on Prima's LP's like his killer reading of Richard Berry's The Next Time (from The Call of The Wildest it can be heard here along with the best of Louis Prima's Capitol sides). He also made several solo LP's for Capitol including The Big Horn (here). He had retired from performing in 2004, so I was already missing him. With Sam's death comes the end of an era, that of the great rock'n'roll Vegas lounge acts which included the Treniers, Freddie Bell & the Bell Boys, Bill Ward & the Dominos, and of course Lous Prima with Sam Butera & the Witnesses.
DAVID CARRADINE DEATH: AUTO-EROTIC ASPHYXIATION? Check out today's Smoking Gun. Sounds like a better explanation than suicide, after all, why would he have wrapped the rope around his genitals?
James "The Hound" Marshall is a former WFMU deejay (1985-97), music writer and bar owner (Lakeside Lounge NYC, Circle Bar, New Orleans). He has contributed articles to dozens of mags and newspapers including the Village Voice, NY Times, LA Weekly, Spin, Penthouse Forum, New York Rocker, Newark Star-Ledger, East Village Eye, High Times (columnist for ten years), Kicks, and worse.
He also wrote liner notes to CD re-issues by Larry Williams and Johnny Guitar Watson, Ray Price, Eric Ambel, Challenge Records,The Okeh R&B Box, and others as well as compiling three volumes of the early rock'n'roll compilations Jook Block Busters (Valmor). At age 17 he edited two issues of the punk fanzine New Order (1977) He was born in Paterson, N.J. and raised mostly in Broward County, Florida, moving to New York City at age 18 in 1977 and has resided there ever since except for 1998-2002 when he split his time between New York and New Orleans. He has been acclaimed in print in the New York Times, Village Voice, Time Out New York, New York Magazine,The Manhattan Catalogue, and other publications you wouldn't be caught dead reading.