Thursday, January 8, 2009

Namesake (anniversary)

It's two years now since we began broadcasting here from Fluville.

I usually mark this day with some Elvis, since I started this on his birthday (Happy Birthday Elvis), but instead, today we'll pay tribute to an infectious little number (pun intended) by our patron saint Huey 'Piano' Smith. I've gathered up a few versions of "Rockin' Pneumonia and The Boogie Woogie Flu," for your listening pleasure.

First, the original in its original 78 RPM issue. It rocks, but you know that already. Next, The Clowns' drag-queen lead singer Bobby Marchan's funk remake from ten years later where the Boogie Woogie Flu gets updated to the Boogaloo Flu. Then, a version of BWF part 2 from a budgety compilation by a pre-Frankenstein Edgar Winter, probably from the mid-sixties, and probably with brother Johnny, although I don't know anything about the origin of this recording - if any of you scholars out there do, feel free fill in the gaps. English blued-eyed soul singer Chris Farlowe sings the shit out of this one - invoking both Tom Jones and James Brown - on an Andrew Loog Oldham produced extravaganva from 1966. Larry Williams condenses parts one and two into a pretty faithful copy made the same year as the original, and Mac Rebennack gives it some of his own mojo in a solo piano rendition. The Grateful Dead, take a plodding, half speed approach, in a performance from their last tour with biker/founding member Pigpen, who died the next year of the Rockin Pneumonia and the Liver Failure Blues at the ripe age of 27. Then, there's Fess' version, which is a bit like when Roger McGuinn covered Tom Petty, considering that the piano style of Huey Smith originates from that of Professor Longhair. It's great, and if you don't own Rock n' Roll Gumbo, you are seriously missing one of the great records of all time. And finally, Johnny Rivers' top ten version from 1972. I've always had a soft spot for this one, because it's the first one I heard, and it came out around the same time that I discovered the radio. I listened to it on KSLQ and KADI in St. Louis.

So, two years into this thing, and I'm not quite sure where it's going. It's been nice having my friends contribute here this past year, and you can expect to see more of that. Honestly, this is a lot of work and if it weren't for all the nice comments and emails I receive, I probably would have quit this a long time ago. But as the song says, "I would be runnin' but my feets too slow."


"Rockin' Pneumonia & the Boogie Woogie Flu Pt 1" mp3
by Huey 'Piano' Smith and the Clowns, 1957.
available on Having a Good Time

"Rockin' Pneumonia & the Boogie Woogie Flu Pt 2" mp3
by Huey 'Piano' Smith and the Clowns, 1957.
available on Having a Good Time

"Rockin' Pneumonia" mp3
by Bobby Marchan, 1967.
out of print

"Rockin' Pneumonia" mp3
by Edgar Winter, date unknown.
available on Harlem Nocturne

"Rockin' Pneumonia" mp3
by Chris Farlowe, 1966.
available on 14 Things to Think About

"Rockin' Pneumonia" mp3
by Larry Williams, 1957.
available on Specialty Profiles

"Rockin' Pneumonia & the Boogie Woogie Flu" mp3
by Dr. John, 1981.
available on Dr. John Plays Mac Rebennack Vol. 2

"Rockin' Pneumonia & the Boogie Woogie Flu" mp3
by The Grateful Dead, 1972.
available on Steppin' Out with the Grateful Dead: England '72

"Rockin' Pneumonia" mp3
by Professor Longhair, 1974.
available on Rock 'n Roll Gumbo

"Rockin' Pneumonia & the Boogie Woogie Flu" mp3
by Johnny Rivers, 1972.
available on L.A. Reggae


UPDATE: 1.10.09

I just received this from Robert in Reno today. Thanks!

"Rockin' Pneumonia & the Boogie Woogie Flu" mp3
by Jerry Lee Lewis, 1965.
available on The Locust Years & Return To The Promised Land


...and two more from JM and Gerald. Thanks fellas.

"Rockin' Pneumonia & the Boogie Woogie Flu"
by PJ Proby, 1965.
available on I Am P.J. Proby

"Rockin' Pneumonia & the Boogie Woogie Flu" mp3
by The Flamin' Goovies, 1970.
available on Flamingo

UPDATE: 1-11-09

another PJ, another planet.

"Rockin' Pneumonia & The Boogie Woogie Flu" mp3
by PJ and The Galaxies, 1964.
available on American Surf Treasures Vol 1

UPDATE: 1-17-09

I got this from pianist Pete Wingfield yesterday.

" a fellow long-time sufferer of said Degenerate Record Collector's Disease, I considered myself duty-bound to add to your historical collection of Boogie Woogie Flu breakouts . This particular little-known instance was actually recorded by my own band Jellybread for the Blue Horizon label here in the UK in 1970. No epidemic resulted."

"Rockin' Pnuemonia & The Boogie Woogie Flu"
by Jellybread, 1970.
available on Complete Blue Horizon Sessions

and from Bruce, uptown...

"Rockin' Pnuemonia & The Boogie Woogie Flu"
by Shocking Blue, 1968.
available on Beat With Us
out of print


top photograph:
by Lee Friedlander, New York City, 1982.
from Letters From The People
D.A.P./ Distributed Art Publishing, Inc. © 1993.


Anonymous said...

Happy Blogoversary, here's to many more!

Alex said...

Awesome! Thanks for posting all these.

Anonymous said...

Great selections as usual.

Weird Jerry Lee version, no piano.

Happy 2nd.

Wardens World said...

Congrats, and keep the tunes coming. One of the go-to sites on the Internets...

JSG said...

Harpsichord! Foul!

mike said...

Why has no one ever attempted to cover 'High Blood Pressure' ? Or
HAVE they ?

Ted Barron said...

The Shadows of Knight did it, so did Dr. John. There must be other versions.

ep said...

congratulations, Ted. this is a great blog. thanks for sharing your thoughts and music. i look forward to keeping up with the Flu in the new year.


Anonymous said...

it may be sacrilege...but I have a version of Aerosmith doing this song, too!

Ted Barron said...

Thanks, but no thanks. I like some of Aerosmith's early records, but not that one.

Thatcher Keats said...

Glad to se the Dead there, but the link jams. I have seen the giant flower blossom inside the concrete monstrosity and felt the heartbeat of the poured floor.

Charlie said...

Thanks for posting the original version--I have been trying to find it for YEARS. Most people have never heard it, and think the one from the Tom Crews movie is the original. No way! In the mid-1950's, I listened to Randy's Record Shop that was broadcast on a clear channel Nashville radio station every night and "Rockin' Pneumonia" was the theme song. That piano riff in the beginning and at the end of every verse is one of a kind. Of all the knockoffs you played, only a couple of then came close to reproducing it. THANKS AGAIN!

TexasRoger said...

Fanatastic site! I've listened to all of them, and I still like Johnny Rivers' version the best by far. Was very disappointed in JLL's attempt to cover this tune.

Anonymous said...

Didnt Loggins and Messina do this one in the late 70s?