Louis Armstrong is the Greatest

I turn on the CD player, which has a hundred slots, and it randomly selected Louis Armstrong. The first song was, interestingly, “Do You Know What it Means to Miss New Orleans.”

Maybe I’m sentimental this evening, but the music from New Orleans’ pride and joy makes me a little verklempt this evening. It’s just so pure and genuine and expressive and wonderful. There’s nothing quite like it. I’d easily vote him greatest American artist. Maybe greatest American, period.

An athiestic way of praying for New Orleans – just listening to the best music America has produced and reflecting on what a great loss it is to see the town go under.

That’s really all I got.

I’ve got a dozen CDs with Armstrong on them.
First class, as a band leader & as a singer.

I’ve got a whole CD on his duets with Bing Crosby alone.

And a 3 CD collection of his music from the 40’s.

I think my first exposure to Louis Armstrong was in the movie High Society. Using Armstrong and his band as the “Greek chorus” in that movie was just brilliant, and I still love the music. Since I got into his music indirectly, I think that’s what impresses me so much: it’s not just that he was such an accomplished musician, but he knew how to use music to communicate. His appearances in movies and TV shows weren’t just background music, they were him talking through his music – he was always a presence.

Your post got me to buy “Do You Know What it Means…” And the next couple of songs on the shuffle were “When You’re Smiling” and “What a Wonderful World.” So you could look on that as an omen, too – the culture of the city isn’t lost, and the city itself can be rebuilt. There’s just too much there to lose completely. (Plus, I’ve never been and I have to see it before I die).

The script was pretty bad, but when you get that cast and a Cole Porter soundtrack, you really don’t need one. :slight_smile:

  1. Louis Armstrong and Earl Hines (on celeste!) recording Basin Street Blues. Doesn’t get any better than that, y’all.

The best Armstrong is still his Hot Five and Hot Seven recordings. It’s hard to beat Potato Head Blues, West End Blues, Hotter Than That, Knee Drops. . .

He’s good, but even Louis himself admitted he was no Bix Beiderbecke . . .

I lost respect for him when I discovered he used EPO on Mack The Knife.


Not to say this Armstrong didn’t use any “performance enhancing” substances himself.

Huh? wasn’t the script basically The Philadelphia Story?

The movie was based on The Philadephia Story. I’ve never seen it, but I’m told it’s much funnier than High Society.

Yeah yeah yeah, I’ve heard it all before. Bix was harmonically more sophisticated, Bunny Berigan a better bandleader, Roy Eldridge could hit clearer high Fs…

…but only Pops was Pops. That voice mumbling tenderly around a lyric, that fat happy home-cooked horn seasoned with a chewy vibrato, that innate glowing warmth and humor and joy…who else had all that? No one. Seldom does genius show such a friendly face.

It is. The script for Philly Story was effectively the same as the play, with a few minor rewrites (eliminating one character and tweaking the plot slightly in consequence), but the High Society script took the plot of the original and wrote a script around Cole Porter’s musical numbers.

(I was wondering whether you or C K Dexter Haven would be the one to answer that question…)


The above is obviously the gimpy sort of non-smiley reserved for Hollywood icons and terrible scripts. Once more, with eptitude!: