Brother Louie by Stories (Kama Sutra, 1973)

The unlikely tale of interracial romance found its way to #1 in 1973 with this version by New York band, Stories. The original version by Hot Chocolate found its way into the UK Top 10 earlier that year. Needing a career jumpstart, Stories recorded their version after their 2nd LP stalled on the charts. When it became a hit, Kama Sutra re-released About Us with the hit single or as some would say, adopted a new brother.

Where Hot Chocolate’s version was spooky and ominous, Stories’ version was greasy, awkward and tense. Kinda like the scene in Boogie Nights where Dirk is trying to buy some coke and the dealer’s Asian ‘friend’ is walking around throwing those pop-pops on the ground. Maybe it was a combo of Ian Lloyd’s strained/raspy singing [an ode to Rod Stewart?] and the dry cutting string section which played counterpart to short guitar licks. You feel like you were in that living room with Louie, his new girlfriend and Louie’s parents just as a fight was going to break out. Don’t know where Louie’s folks were from [a white guy bringing home a black chic in 1973 wasn’t as radical as it would have been in 1963], but I’m guessing they weren’t that liberal. They could have been from Massachusetts as well as they could have been from Mississippi. Good for Louie that he stands his ground and sticks up for his woman.

Needless to say this song always spooked me out as a kid. And I loved it.

Side note: Louis CK had Ian Lloyd record a new version of this song for his TV show, Louie. It’s perfect. If you have FX, watch it!