|“Strike Up The Band,” the new album by Professor Louie & The Crowmatix on Woodstock Records, has nine of ten biographical and creative original songs written by Professor Louie, Miss Marie and one co-write with John Platania. This legacy all-star roots band continues to grow and these talented musicians, singers and songwriters wrote these songs that reflect a unique vision of relationships and thoughts about this tumultuous world and the times we live in. The ninth song, ‘End Of The Show,’ (unknown writer) is a tune originally recorded by Richard Manuel of Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame group, The Band, which was never released. Louie came across this song on a poorly recorded cassette when he was working as producer for a box set by The Band.
The Crowmatix: Professor Louie (The Band) Miss Marie (Rick Danko) Gary Burke (Bob Dylan, Joe Jackson) John Platania (Van Morrison) Frank Campbell (Levon Helm) The Woodstock Horns with arrangements by Gary Burke on three songs gives “Strike Up The Band” a special twist. Bob Ludwig, mastering genius of all time, makes the recordings come to life.
PL&C wrote songs for “Strike Up The Band” to be upbeat and uplifting. The album gets off to a blistering start with the strong opening acapella vocal by Professor Louie on ‘A Thousand Ways To Freedom.’ Next is the driving groove of ‘Work It Out’ with The Woodstock Horns, arranged by drummer Gary Burke, and then the bluesy vocal stylings of Miss Marie on the tune ‘Fall Back On Me.’ The crew rolls down to the bayou on the ‘Golden Eagle,’ a mythical Mardi Gras railroad to heaven.
Hear the magic riffs of guitarist extraordinaire John Platania throughout and on his collaborative writing for the song ‘Good To Be Grateful.’ On ‘Chain Shot Cannonball,’ Gary Burke one of the greatest drummers of all time and Frank Campbell on bass make the songs rock. Tracks & vocals were recorded live in the studio capturing the true nature of this legacy band. The driving roots rocker ‘Livin’ In This Country,’ pays tribute to the ideals of a united America, punctuated with a ‘Can’t Turn You Loose’ tag ending. The gospel flavored ‘Tick Tock,’ tells the tale of a lovestruck man running out of time to win over his sweetheart.
Platania drops in ice pick lead guitar over Louie’s greasy Hammond B3 on another blues of heartbreak ‘Chain Shot Cannon Ball.’ Louie digs deep for the emotional ballad ‘End Of The Show,’ bolstered by an expansive arrangement of the lover’s lament. Miss Marie and Louie co-wrote the album’s final hymn ‘Flaming Ray,’ and join together on the angelic chorus of the devotional benediction as a final prayer for peace.
With their remarkable 16th release “Strike Up The Band,” the prolific songwriters and indefatigable musicians Professor Louie & The Crowmatix once again show the world why they are truly Roots Music Royalty.
Rick J Bowen
Professor Louie has emerged in the music industry as the torch bearer of the true spirit of American Roots music. Seasoned live performer, prolific recording artist and versatile multi-instrumentalist (Hammond B3 organ, piano/keyboards, accordion, vocals), Professor Louie also wears the hat of award-winning recording producer and engineer, capturing the talents of some of the world’s most highly acclaimed musicians, most notably, The Band.
Born in Peekskill, NY, Louie honed his musical chops in the NYC area. Plying his trade in the mid-1960s, he toured the country with folk, R&B, and blues bands, and performed on the Gospel circuit as organist for The Mighty Gospel Giants of Brooklyn. Through the 1970’s and 80’s Louie was an opener for Bruce Springsteen’s early group Steel Mill, Roy Buchanan, New Riders of The Purple Sage, Sly & The Family Stone, War and Gary US Bonds. The Professor was a fixture on the live circuit where he played shows with The New York Dolls, Eric Emerson, Link Wray, Andy Warhol at the infamous Popcorn Pub (later renamed The Coventry) in Long Island City and The Sunshine Inn in Asbury Park.
By the 1980’s, Hurwitz was sought out for his studio prowess, having worked with many of the top names in the industry including George Piros, Atlantic Records’ mastering engineer, Tom Dowd, John Simon & Eddie Kramer.
In 1985, Louie became a part of The Band’s legacy: co-producing, engineering, and performing on their three final albums, Jericho, High on the Hog, and Jubilation. He became a collaborating touring member of The Band from 1985 to 1999 until Rick Danko’s passing. It was during this time that Rick Danko christened Hurwitz “Professor Louie” in respect to his being their musical arranger and the glue that kept everything together. The moniker also followed The Band’s naming traditions: Helm’s middle name is Levon, Hudson’s is Garth, and Hurwitz’ is Louis. “It was really a great honor,” Louie says, “and many music industry people, especially those on the business end, knew me as Professor Louie, so I kept it.”
In addition to his work with The Band, Professor Louie has played with, engineered, or produced an incredible roster of artists spanning a wide array of genres including Graham Parker, Commander Cody, Dave Brubeck, The New Riders of the Purple Sage, solo projects of Rick Danko, Levon Helm, Garth Hudson. Jesse McReynolds, Blondie, Jose Feliciano, Livingston Taylor, The Fugs, Artie Traum, Guy Davis, John Sebastian, Oumar Konate, Jay Black & The Americans, Buckwheat Zydeco, Mercury Rev, Rory Block, Bill Keith, Jean Redpath to name a few.
More information about the band members is @ www.professorlouie.com/bio.html.