Gooba gooba gooba gooba

Huey "Piano" Smith checked out last week. A New Orleans entertainment icon, he was 89 years old. The New York Times obit is here.

Huey will always hold a special place in the music sector of my heart. You see, his classic record "Don't You Just Know It," on the Ace label and featuring his group the Clowns, was one of the first dozen or two records I ever owned. The 45 sat in my famous little-kid record box, a kind gift from my teenage cousins upstairs. You know how the teenagers are, their favorite songs come and go pretty quickly. Little did any of us know that the records they were passing down to me were songs that would hold up for many decades.

Smith was probably better known for another hit, "The Rockin' Pneumonia and the Boogie Woogie Flu," and he probably should have gotten all the glory for "Sea Cruise," which he also wrote. But it all came out of one pot of delectable sound gumbo. Between the primitive technology of the recording studios of the late '50s, and the even more primitive technology of my little-kid record player, I never could make out what the singers were saying. But it didn't matter. Your feet just got moving when those records came on.

Smith never made any real money as an entertainer, but if there's a reward that comes after this world, I'd bet he's getting it now. Play on, man.


  1. 'Sea Cruise' My older brother had that. Thanks for the memory.

    1. The version that finally went out was sung by a guy named Frankie Ford. But the instruments were played by Smith and his combo, and it was Smith’s song.

    2. Yes, they overdubbed Ford, but you can still get the original with Huey's vocals in iTunes. If you want to know more about what it was like back in those golden days in NO go to WBRH (Baton Rouge) radio's web site and you can hear a long interview Huey gave a few years ago on "Rob's Rhythm Review." Rob just replayed it Saturday morning and it is really delicious.


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