Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Huey "Piano" Smith: Rockin' Pneumonia and the Boogie Woogie Flu

The rocklicking piano of Huey “Piano” Smith is the subject of our Tasty Licks Tuesday selection with his 1957 hit “Rockin’ Pneumonia & the Boogie Woogie Flu.” Since I am suffering from a bout of lobar pneumonia this week, I thought it was a fitting selection that relates to my plight.

This top five R&B hit was cowritten by Smith and his producer Johnny Vincent. Although a huge R&B hit, it only made it to the #53 spot on the Hot 100. Although it is one of Smith’s best known recordings and a million seller, it was not his biggest hit. That was “Don’t Just Know It” that was released in 1958.

Johnny Rivers’ Later Version

In 1972, Johnny Rivers recorded a version that shows the influence of Huey Smith and the music of New Orleans. It was Rivers’ fifth most popular single and charted at #6.

Larry Knechtel, who was a session musician and member of Bread, rocks out on the Huey Smith inspired piano licks on this rendition.

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