The most famous version of “Louie Louie” is performed by the Kingsmen and was immortalized in “National Lampon’s Animal House”. However, the song has a long history predating that recording, and it was something of a garage rock and dub standard.
Of all the many iterations of “Louie Louie”, the one recorded by Seattle garage rock legends, The Sonics, stands out as the absolute best. It can be found on the band’s second album, Boom.
Despite existing in the ’60s The Sonics managed to record a blistering collection of songs that made The Kinks sound like The Partridge Family. Virtually everything they recorded is worth a listen, but their take on “Louie Louie” is a personal favorite.
This amazingly loud, wonderfully distorted take on the song is a prescient glimpse of punk and hard-rock set to a familiar tune.
I recently heard “Ghost Story” by Charming Disaster during the weather segment of the wonderfully weird podcast, “Welcome to Nightvale”, and I immediately loved it.
“Ghost Story” is an extremely unconventional love song with enjoyable, although much more traditional twee instrumentation and vocals.
A man and a woman sing plaintively and familiarly about love over twanging string instruments and stomp-clap drumming. The wrinkle in the the oft-used arrangement is that the love of the song’s focus is between a woman and her recently deceased husband’s spirit.
The woman’s husband is dead and rotting in the ground, but she’s found peace with he’s doting ghost she never knew with his corporal form, and it makes for a bizarre, sweet love song.
The Gun Club were from California, as was Credence Clear Water Revival. The Gun Club mined Bayou culture for their sound, as did CCR. The Gun Club sang about murder, sex, drugs, violence and feelings of abject depravity, unlike CCR.
While many of the influential Los Angeles punk band’s songs mention swamps or voodoo and shamanistic tendencies, the second track on The Gun Club’s second album, Miami is their most obvious appropriation of Southern culture.
“Like Calling Up Thunder” features a guitar lick very similar to the opening notes of “Dixie” and contains the refrain, “Look away, look away, look away and leave me alone.”
There doesn’t seem to be much of a reason for evoking the anthem of the Confederacy, but it’s influence is obviously present, and it does add an appropriately ancient, decrepit air to a song about summoning lighting, communicating with spirits and killing.
“Like Calling Up Thunder” is a typically excellent, unhinged song by The Gun Club.