Satch’s Tracks: Jerry Lewis’s “Bend Somethin’ at the Bar (Besides Your Elbows)” and “I Love Girls”

And now for something completely ridiculous.

Louis Armstrong spent most of his time at home listening to music and when his tape recorder was running, he sometimes captured his own spontaneous reaction to the music he was dubbing. We shared a few such reactions in our original post about Armstrong’s record collection.

It’s one thing to have the genius that was Louis Armstrong cheer on Enrico Caruso or Roy Eldridge and Dizzy Gillespie….but Jerry Lewis?

That’s exactly what happened on this tape from 1952 when Louis dubbed Lewis’s Capitol single of “Lay Somethin’ on the Bar (Besides Your Elbows)” and “I Love Girls.” He introduces the record by referring to the team of Lewis and then-partner Dean Martin as two “funny summitches.” He worked with both of them on an episode of Tallulah Bankhead’s The Big Show in December 1950, as shown in the photo above. (From left to right: Jerry Lewis, Dean Martin, Bob Hope, Meredith Willson, Louis Armstrong, Frankie Laine, Tallulah Bankhead and Deborah Kerr.)

Here’s Louis’s intro:

Click here to create a free account and listen to the rest of this tape on our Digital Collections site
LAHM 1987.3.223

The rest of the record plays without any input from Armstrong, who chuckles when it’s over and moves on to something else. But then he comes back to it for the flip side, Lewis’s “I Love Girls,” which is the main event. Once again, here’s Louis’s introduction (that “Who in the hell doesn’t?” always cracks me up!):

Click here to create a free account and listen to the rest of this tape on our Digital Collections site
LAHM 1987.3.223

Louis then plays the rest of the record but it’s his reaction to it that is totally worth the price of admission. Yes, folks, this is the most influential musician of the 20th century absolutely losing his mind at a Jerry Lewis novelty record:

Click here to create a free account and listen to the rest of this tape on our Digital Collections site
LAHM 1987.3.223

It’s not Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address but it sure is a lot of fun. If you’d like to listen to the full, unedited Lewis recordings (Nelson Riddle arrangements performed by Dick Stabile’s Orchestra) here are the Spotify links (and if you’d like to hear a hilarious outtake of “I Love Girls,” click here!):

Published by Ricky Riccardi

I am Director of Research Collections for the Louis Armstrong House Museum.

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