Welcome to the updated, official site of Lou Monte. Here you can read about Lou and his exciting career in music. Meet one of Lou's sons, Ray Monte, who is an in demand professional drummer. Ray and his brother Ronald, are also owners of RONARAY Records, the production company that brings you these limited edition CDs that can only be found here. Check out links to everything Italiano. Take a trip down memory lane and see some exciting printed advertisements from Lou's past performances and more.

 

 

1. Shaddap You Face
2. Lazy Mary
3. The Sheik of Napoli
4. Darktown Strutters Ball
5. Jerusalem, Jerusalem
6. Babalucci
7. Mrs. Brown’s Donkey
8. Darktown Disco
9. The Sheik Disco
10. In My Own Little Way 
Plus 6 more tracks of outtakes!

This CD is limited so be one of the first to
get
this collectors CD while supplies last

Lou Montes Greatest Hits Part 2
Order Yours Today!
$12.00 includes shipping and handling

Make check or money order payable
to Ray Monte and send to:
Ray Monte
PO Box 10
Ramsey, NJ 07446

A new CD to add to your collection of Lou's hits
PLUS 20 minutes of never heard humorous outtakes on 6 tracks
!


Click here to view a photo gallery of Ray Monte in concert.

For Booking Information
Call Ray directly at 201-818-1629


Read an excerpt from the book

Italian Americans and Their Public and Private Life
Edited by; Frank J. Cavaioli, Angela Danzi, and Salvatore J. LaGumina (1993) pp. 240

Chapter 20:
SOUTHERN ITALIAN-AMERICAN COMEDY: THE CASES OF MATTEO CANNIZZARO, LOU MONTE, LOUIS PRIMA, AND DOM DELUISE
Authors; Salvatore Primeggia, Floyd Vivino, Joseph A. Varacalli

Lou Monte
   Lou Monte, an Italian-American of Calabrian heritage, was born as Louis Scaglione on April 2, 1917 in Manhattan, New York. He played the guitar and started singing as a child beginning his professional career as a singer, comedian, and musician as a young man just prior to World War II. After a stretch in the military, Monte settled in Lyndhurst, New Jersey and his first rea1 break came when he had a radio show in Newark, New Jersey. Eventually, Monte was given a television program on that same popular station, WAAT.

   As June Bundy notes, “although Lou had been singing professionally for fifteen years, it wasn’t until he recorded an Italian-English version of “Darktown Strutter’s Ball” at the end of 1953, that he hit the big time.” After that, his records, both comedic and not, sold in the millions. He appeared regularly at many famous nightclubs and, unlike most Italian-American comedians of the era, he was seen frequently on national T.V. At the pinnacle of his popularity, he was promoted in various press releases as “The Godfather of Italian Humor” and “The King of Italian-American Music.” Lou Monte died in Pompano Beach, Florida in June of 1989.

   The medium of most of Lou Monte’s comedy is song, although his extensive and impressive night club act also contained a good deal of stand- up. Many of his songs were sung, and nightclub acts performed, in English with a liberal interspersing of Italian dialect (of Neapolitan and Calabrian). As one commentator has noted, “He translates American music into Italian and Italian music into English.” As was stated in a past nightclub review, Monte’s “songalog is heavily laden with pizza pieces, including Italo verses of his American numbers with emphasis generally on comedy tunes.” Monte’s appeal to the Italian-American audience can be understood in both emotiona1 and socia1 terms. Emotionally, his humor provided some Italian Americans with a sense of comfort, of one-upmanship, or the sense of being a part of an inside joke, and, socially, of having a slice of their world recognized by others. His appeal to other ethnic groups was based upon their perception that his humor related to their own experiences in associating to American society.

   An important theme in Monte's Italian-American humor is his tendency to Italian-Americanize American history and life. Such a technique served this marginal ethnic group by making it feel a part of America’s early historical development. It also served to heighten a sense of in-group solidarity by the ludicrous layering of Italianicity on things supposedly rock-solid Anglo-Saxon. In one song, he asks the question, "What did Washington say when crossing the Delaware?” The answer: “Fa un’fridd! (It’s cold!).” This bit is a take-off on a joke which was popular in the Italian- American community, although Monte sanitized the coarser punch line.” In this way, he played to the Italian-American audience, knowing its members would enjoy and relate to the reference.” In another example, according to Monte, the name of Paul Revere’s horse was Baccigallup. The hit song, “Please Mr. Columbus” offers yet another of Monte’s unique historical interpretations.

   Lou Monte became famous for his so-called novelty songs such as “Dominick The Donkey,” “Pepino U Soriciello” (The Italian Mouse), “Italian Cowboy Song,” “Italian Jingle Bells,” and ”Lazy Mary” (C’Era Luna, Mezza Mare).” Like most Italian-American comedians, Monte’s humor dealt with the common themes of marriage, courtship, sexual relationships, and food. In his food song, “My Rosina – The Menu Song,” the lyrics include: “She is so good looking when she is cooking, what a beautiful sight among the pots and pans.” In collaboration with Ray Allen, Monte wrote, “Who Stole My Provolone?” (sung to the tune of “Hang Down Your Head Tom Dooley”) a song parody, making use of the double entendre.

   Lou Monte’s strongest appea1 was to a broad spectrum ranging from working class to professional middle-class Italian Americans. Although Monte’s audience was varied, for the most part it precluded the Italian immigrant, for whom the humor was too Americanized and the very modern, assimilated Italian-American for whom the humor was too greenhornish.

   Lou Monte effectively utilized a wide spectrum of vehicles and technologies in his show business career. He performed his nightclub act in such major locations as Chicago, Las Vegas, and New York City. In addition to his first significant radio show on station WAAT of Newark, New Jersey, Monte also performed on popular radio programs as a guest star.

   Unlike most Italian-American comedians of his time, Lou Monte received much national television exposure on such programs as the Perry Como Show and The Ernie Kovacs Show. Monte’s records sold in the millions. As a matter of fact, Reprise records had its first smash hit with Monte’s “Peppino The Italian Mouse” recording. Monte also made appearances at prominent feasts and festivals and had a role in the comedy hit film, “Robin and the Seven Hoods” (1964).

   Lou Monte’s participation in the Italian-American comedic circuit diminished by the1950s, as his career hit stride. In our revolutionary schema, Monte stands, roughly, half-way between the immigrant comedic experience and the modernized entertainment world with its national television, cable T.V., home videos, national marketing strategies, and perhaps, international forms of communication.

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