Friday, March 20, 2009

St. Patrick’s Day Parade in New Orleans

St. Patrick’s Day Parade in New Orleans
One of our blog members gave this great report and pictures. Thanks!

Tonight the Half-Fast Walking Club participated in the annual St. Patrick’s Day parade sponsored by the Downtown Irish Club of New Orleans. The parade began in the Bywater section of New Orleans then meandered through the streets of the French Quarter ending on Bourbon Street to a raucously fired up virtually impenetrable crowd rivaling throngs found during Mardi Gras. Pete has never participated in this parade. This year he surprised us. Pete met us on the 1200 block of Decatur Street in the Quarter, and he had his family. During all the commotion, Pete and his wife Beverly were gracious enough to pose for a picture.

St. Patrick's Day Parade, Pete Fountain, 1234 Decatur St. French Quarter

St. Patrick's Day Parade, Beverly & Pete Fountain, 1234 Decatur St. French Quarter

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Pete Fountain on the Lawrence Welk Show - Bootleg

Pete Fountain on the Lawrence Welk Show
5 CD Box Set March 1957 through March 1959

Liner Notes:
5 CD Box Set released 2009
Pete Fountain on the Lawrence Welk Show
Rare and Unreleased Records
March 1957 through March 1959

A rare find. over 170 recordings from Pete's time playing on the Lawrence Welk show. Carefully transferred from the original tapes and remastered, the sound quality is outstanding. Almost every recording Pete did on the Welk show, plus outtakes, airchecks, soundboard checks and dialog are included. As a bonus, some additional tracks from The Ed Sullivan Show, The Steve Allen Show, The Johnny Carson Show, The Bell Telephone Hour and the Kraft Music Hall are included.

Click on the below covers to see the track listing on each disc.

Let's Get Acquainted - Brunswick Records

Let's Get Acquainted - The Lennon Sisters
featuring Pete Fountain

1958 - Brunswick Records BL 54031

Selections Include:

Side One
1. Let's Get Acquainted
2. Little White Lies
3. Young And In Love
With Orchestra Directed By Tiny Little
4. Teenage Waltz
With Orchestra Directed By Tiny Little
S. Pocahontas
6. White Silver Sands
With Pete Fountain And His Dixieland Boys

Side Two
1. When I'm With You
Featured In The Motion Picture "Poor Little Rich Girl"
2. One Day A Little Girl
With Pete Fountain And His Dixieland Boys
3. Walk With Me
4. If I Don't Love You
5. Shake Me I Rattle (Squeeze Me I Cry)
6. Goodnight God

Liner Notes:

The Lennon Sisters - Vocal Quartet With Instrumental Accompaniment

Let's get acquainted with the Lennon Sisters - Dianne, Peggy, Kathy & Janet - those four talented youngsters who sing their way into the hearts of millions of television viewers each week, via Lawrence Welk's network shows.

Representing half of Bill and Isobel Lennon's family of eight children there was always much to do around their Venice, California home. Singing together was the way the girls made their dishwashing chores lighter and their family duties more like fun than work. Humming lullabies and play-party songs together was a family affair in which the sisters took delight.

Perhaps some of their natural talent comes to them through their Dad. Bill Lennon had been a featured vocalist with the Paul Whiteman and Freddie Martin Bands in the early forties and for a time had a quartet with his brothers, Pat, Bob and Ted. As a protege of the famous tenor, Tito Shipa, he appeared in Hollywood Bowl concerts.

The girls first performed for friends and relatives and then went "on stage" at church benefits and civic functions. Fifteen-year-old Dianne's St. Monica's schoolmate, Larry Welk, Jr. "discovered" the sisters and got his famous dad to listen to them. Welk Sr. was so impressed with their charm and musical ability that he immediately signed them for a special ABC-TV Christmas show that was in preparation for the 1955 holidays. As soon as the nation's viewers saw them, Welk's judgement and Larry Jr's foresight were justified.

Billboard, the trade magazine of the music industry, published results of a disc jockey popularity poll shortly there-after and the Lennon Sisters were within the top ten most promising vocal groups. Noting this, Coral & Brunswick Records began making plans for offering more of their fine work on wax. Hence, several single releases, among them hits like "Tonight You Belong To Me" and "White Silver Sands" and now their first long playing album.

Despite tempting lucrative offers for outside engagements, the girls have remained loyal to their primary duties at home and with their schooling, limiting their professional work to recording and appearing as members of the Welk shows.

With no formal musical training, the girls do their arrangements seated at the kitchen table with a pitch-pipe as their only instrument. Mom helps them with the harmony and Dad coaches on phrasing and expression. Mom also designs and makes all their costumes.

Maestro Welk sums up their charm in the following statement: "They look sweet, sing sweet and have a certain intangible spiritual quality. It gets across to the audience."

Listen to these selections ...we're sure you will agree.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Mardi Gras 2009 Report

Our very own blog member is in the picture taken at Commander’s Palace with Pete. His report of Mardi Gras is as follows:

Mardi Gras went well with tremendous weather (low 70s, not a cloud in the sky, and low humidity). This year Pete Fountain's Half-Fast Walking Club walk paraded as Toy Soldiers. Pete hardly played at all, a run or 2 for the local TV cameras. Tim Laughlin carried the yeoman’s portion of the parade.

Additional Mardi Gras from local press:

Clarinetist Pete Fountain will kick off festivities on Fat Tuesday, leading more than 200 members of his Half-Fast Walking Club through the city streets. Fountain said this is the largest group in his club's 49-year history.

"There's a lot of us this year, from all over the country," he said. "It's always a lot of fun."

Though celebrities have joined Fountain in the past, among them jazz singer Frankie Laine and actor John Goodman, Fountain said this year no big names will be marching. But, "each one of my guys is a celebrity," he said with a chuckle.

Pete Fountain: Birth Of The Blues (George Klein's Talent Party 1964)

George Klein's Talent Party 1964

This is the earliest known video footage of George Klein, host of the WHBQ-TV Memphis show "Talent Party". This clip is an excerpt from an interview George did with famous jazz clarinet player Pete Fountain. Plus, you get to hear Pete "lip sync" (clarinet sync?) eight bars of the song, Birth Of The Blues he'd recently recorded.

NOTE: Memphis Memories would like to thank Harvey and Chet for finding this rare classic on a VHS tape at a flea market and making it available so it can be shared with everyone.