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Breaking It Up
Louis Prima, Keely Smith
Breaking It Up
Genres: Blues, Jazz, Pop, Broadway & Vocalists
  •  Track Listings (15) - Disc #1

The bulk of Louis Prima's finest, Vegas-era output for Capitol has yet to be reissued on CD, but this record--a true oddity in his discography--has somehow found its way onto the digital format. Catapulted to Columbia Reco...  more »


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CD Details

All Artists: Louis Prima, Keely Smith
Title: Breaking It Up
Members Wishing: 0
Total Copies: 0
Label: Sbme Special Mkts.
Release Date: 2/1/2008
Genres: Blues, Jazz, Pop, Broadway & Vocalists
Styles: Traditional Blues, Jump Blues, Swing Jazz, Traditional Jazz & Ragtime, Vocal Jazz, Dixieland, Oldies, Vocal Pop, Traditional Vocal Pop
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPCs: 074646525920, 886972387628, 5099706525929

Synopsis essential recording
The bulk of Louis Prima's finest, Vegas-era output for Capitol has yet to be reissued on CD, but this record--a true oddity in his discography--has somehow found its way onto the digital format. Catapulted to Columbia Records on the success of his self-released single of "Oh Babe"--eventually covered by Wynonie Harris, Kay Starr, and Lionel Hampton, among others--Prima recorded a handful of novelty sides under the production helm of Mitch Miller in the early '50s. This 1958 LP collects these tunes and showcases Prima's poppier, pre-swing sensibility. Heavy on the kitsch and light on the R&B and jazz, this is Prima at his most polished (thanks, no doubt, to Miller at the controls). It's hard not to enjoy "The Bigger the Figure" (Prima's ode to the overweight that's a play on The Barber of Seville) or the frolicking "Barnacle Bill the Sailor," comedic tunes with lightning-fast punch lines and plenty of semi-innocent sexual innuendoes. It's a must for Prima and Keely Smith fans--just don't expect the "Jump, Jive, an' Wail" of his later efforts. --Jason Verlinde

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CD Reviews

An enjoyable set by Louis & Keely...
a | 05/22/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This set was masterminded by evil-genious Mitch Miller(who unfortionately produced middle of the road muzak for artists as diverse as Rosemary Clooney and Tony Bennett). He could take a great artist like Louis Prima and make him sing terrible songs backed by an all white "not swingin'" choir. However Louis Prima & Keely Smith got by(just as Rosemary Clooney did on many a session)even with Miller's middle of the road arrangements. Louis Prima is so influenced by Louis Armstrong(he's like an Italian Satchmo) that jazz collectors like myself can't help but buy his records, and Keely Smith(though not as comprehensive as Ella Fitzgerald) has a highly appealing sweet and always swinging voice. This CD re-issue of the original LP "Breakin' It Up" has informative liner notes by jazz critic Will Friedwald author of "Jazz Singing." Although some of the Mitch Miller-ish arrangements may be a tad dated Louis & Keely shine through, and come out winners in this overall enjoyable set, although one wishes Mitch Miller had stuck to playing the obo, rather then have chosen to cheapen american pop music during the 50's. Still this set comes recommended. Also try the more swingin' sets on Capital "The Wildest" and "Call Of The Wildest." Both re-issued on CD."
Authentic, and catchy!
Daniel Burke | 12/28/1998
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I got into this retro\new swing-esque stuff via the Squirrel Nut Zippers,who are awesome,followed by Royal Crown Revue and Brian Setzer, but Loius Prima is the real thang, baby. I had never really heard of the guy before getting this CD as a gift, but I was hooked by the authenticity, the sound, and Louis' husky-sounding playful swingin' from the start! Keely Smith is a wonderful complement, with her clear sounding voice. Not only is their sound authentic and catchy, you can hear the vernacular of the time, even the way they mis-pronounce Tofu as "Toofoo", heh, and Louis' Creole\Brooklyn Italian singing voice is great! If you love the bands I do, you'll love this album. A good one to add to your authentically 'retro' section. ;)Dan The Burke"
Ya Gotta' Love A Man With A Sense Of Humador
Daniel Burke | 03/10/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)

"A great remaster of some well produced early 50's studio dates. And it's plain to hear Louis is having a great time holding court in Mitch Miller's studio. Although Keely Smith isn't on but half the CD, the sound quality is superbulous, and it does capture a time when their chemistry together would have been inspiration at the Salt Flats. The tune 'One Mint Julep' is worth the price of admission alone. And I dug the fact this tune was recorded four days before I was born, somethings ya just gotta' love. Hip. Hip."