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Lou Carter - Aqueduct Alley

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Published on Sep 1, 2010

Lou Carter's Spectacular of the Streets, Aqueduct Alley, here for the first time on YouTube!

Side One of Golden Crest LP CR 3044, "Louie Writes Again."

Pianist and arranger Lou Carter's first album, "Louie's Love Songs," featuring his alter ego Louie the Singing Cabbie, offered a parody of 1950s cocktail music as it might have been if composed and performed by a New York working-class regular guy.

In 1958, he followed "Love Songs" with the more-ambitious "Louie Writes Again," its entire first side comprising the "musical comedy" "Aqueduct Alley." The set piece consists of six short "scenes," plus a 32-second overture and a 41-second finale:

Overture
Scene 1: The Alley
Scene 2: Ballet -- Dance of the Garbage Cans
Scene 3: She Went Away
Scene 4: I Don't Talk Very Good
Scene 5: Rosie
Scene 6: Willie the Clown
Finale

Given Carter's penchant for light-hearted caricature, it's easy to dismiss this as a lampoon of Tony Martin's expansively-arranged but patronizing "Tenement Symphony," but it's a lampoon where Carter adds heart and humor without being demeaning.

Side Two of "Louie Writes Again" rehashes the formula of "Louie's Love Songs," though perhaps with just a little less charm.

Journeyman jazz pianist and arranger Lou Carter worked with Jimmy Dorsey and played in the Soft Winds trio with Herb Ellis and John Frigo before finding his niche as "Louie the Singing Cabbie" in the late 1950s. "Louie's Love Songs," released in 1957, presented artful arrangements of strings, jazz guitar, woodwinds and brass backing novelty cocktail numbers with unlikely titles like "Whattsa Matta Wit Me," "Only a Room in the Cellar" and "April in Peoria." The success of "Love Songs" led to regular appearances on both Perry Como and Julius La Rosa's television programs.

Both albums are long out of print, and it's hard to find information on them, but a 2006 post about Lou Carter on WFMU's Beware of the Blog includes a number of interesting reader comments:

http://blog.wfmu.org/freeform/2006/06...

Hey, it isn't Sinatra's "Watertown," but at least it isn't the "Tenement Symphony." Enjoy.

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