Music Routes Blog

SMLP #2: Louis Armstrong To Cheap Trick

13 September 2009

My lady-friend is more than just a little bit into Polynesian pop culture and the street name in our new address is awfully close to that of a Pacific Island. So our friend Michele K-Tel made a mix of Hawaiian music for our housewarming, which happened to be on Saturday. We'll be using "On A Coconut Island" sung by Louis Armstrong as our jumping off point.

My $1 LP purchase for the listening party this weekend: Cheap Trick At Budokan.

So, let's look at the route from "On A Coconut Island" To At Budokan in six steps.

"On A Coconut Island" pairs Louis Armstrong with Lionel Hampton and a quartet of musicians (Sam Koki, George Archer, Harry Baty, and Joe Nawahi) billed as The Polynesians. In Louis Armstrong: An American Genius, James Lincoln Collier describes the Hawaiian guitar on this track as producing a "whine" that is "extremely irritating". That description is utter nonsense.

As with last week's listening party route, this one involves a duet with Frank Sinatra. Louis Armstrong and Frank Sinatra performed "Birth Of The Blues" together on television. This performance was later released on the Sinatra collection Classic Duets.

Late in life, Sinatra released a collection of duets called Duets. He and Bono sang "I've Got You Under My Skin".


Bono and U2 recorded "When Love Comes To Town" with B.B. King for U2's Rattle and Hum. B.B. King in turn recorded an album of collaborations for his 80th birthday that featured Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top on "Tired Of Your Jive".

Gibbons is on, of all things, "Dead End Streets" by Revolting Cocks, the side project of Al Jourgensen of Ministry. The song features Jello Biafra of The Dead Kennedys on vocals. Gibbons takes the first slide guitar solo.

The second slide guitar solo is taken by Rick Nielsen of Cheap Trick which, of course, brings us to At Budokan.