A Real Tube Heater
:: Louis Prima featuring Sam Butera & The Witnesses - Greenback Dollar Bill ::
When I was way little, like 2, I loved my Dad's Louis Prima records. He would play them really loud on his single speaker hi-fi system. The tubes in his Harmon-Kardon receiver would get so hot, he installed a slab of asbestos on the shelf above it to keep whatever was on it from melting or combusting. Dad says I turned a waste paper basket over and pounded on it as Sam Butera and The Witnesses raged. As a direct result, it was decided that I should start taking drum lessons as early as possible, a decision I have mixed feelings about to this day, but I still feel like pounding on a trash can when I listen to something like "When You're Smiling".
"Greenback Dollar Bill" is a song on one of Louis' most loved albums. The lead vocal is handled by his band leader, Sam Butera. Prima does some "talk back" vocals here and there. For reasons I never understood, this song was a big favorite with my family. For many years it was pulled out again and again during family get togethers, pool parties and other excuses for grown ups to drink cocktails and play loud music. As the record played, knowing looks would be exchanged and guffaws would bellow involuntarily from various diaphragms. I know now that I was too young to really get the subject matter, but it never did seem all that funny to me.
Come to find out, the song was originally recorded by Ray Charles, so that goes to show what I know (not much).