Huey "Piano" Smith and the Rocking Pneumonia Blues

By Dahl, Bill | ARSC Journal, Fall 2014 | Go to article overview

Huey "Piano" Smith and the Rocking Pneumonia Blues


Dahl, Bill, ARSC Journal


Huey "Piano" Smith and the Rocking Pneumonia Blues. By John Wirt. Baton Rouge, LA: Louisiana State University Press, 2014. 294pp (softcover). Notes, Bibliography, Photos, Index. ISBN 978-0-8071-5295-9

Of all the ivories legends to call New Orleans home during the postwar heyday of R&B--Professor Longhair, Archibald, Fats Domino, Allen Toussaint, Mac Rebbenack, James Booker, and plenty more--only one dared to decorate his name with the word "Piano." Huey Smith had every right to. As one of the Crescent City's first-call session aces, Smith's rolling, rippling 88s graced some of the biggest hits to emerge from Cosimo Matassa's recording studio. What's more, Smith and his zany vocal group, the Clowns, were hit makers in their own right for Johnny Vincent's Ace Records, scoring in 1957 with "Rocking Pneumonia and the Boogie Woogie Flu" and again the next year with the humorous "Don't You Just Know It." Huey mostly preferred to let his fingers do the talking, hiring the effusive Bobby Marchan and other vocalists to front his group while he pounded the keys and sang backgrounds.

John Wirt's fascinating and meticulously researched Smith biography covers the piano man from his beginnings in Uptown New Orleans through his early days of backing Wildman Eddie "Guitar Slim" Jones and then guitarist Earl King while developing an immediately identifiable keyboard attack of his own. Smith's profile zoomed skyward after signing with Ace as a leader; the book is worth its weight in gold for clearing up who sang lead on "Rocking Pneumonia" (turns out it was "Scarface" John Williams, not Marchan), and precisely who the Clowns were at that crucial moment.

The turning point in Huey's career seems to have come when Vincent grabbed the Smith-penned rocker "Sea Cruise," which the pianist had sung with lone distaff Clown Gerri Hall, and replaced their duet vocal on the backing track with a more animated one by young white singer Frankie Ford, Ace looking to launch Ford as a teen idol. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Huey "Piano" Smith and the Rocking Pneumonia Blues
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.