1/18/14

MEATBALL HEROES PT. 2---MEET LOU MONTE


Lou Monte was a true homegrown New Jersey-bred Italian-American post-war super-meatball. But rather than getting lumped in the pile of proliferating paisans--Jimmy Roselli, Tony Bennett, Buddy Greco and Vic Damone were all competing for the runner-up to Dean Martin's throne--Monte opted for going the novelty route, creating shamelessly pandering and quite amusing Italian-American comedy numbers, steeped in stereotype and self-deprecation. But as IA's rarely take themselves as seriously as other ethnic groups (unless, of course, you cross some invisible boundary and find yourself inexplicably turned against with a viciousness reminiscent of Joe Pesci in "Goodfellas"--I'm allowed to point this out as an IA of long-standing who's worked both sides of the resentment aisle)--they chose to embrace Monte as a true son of the tribe, carrying on a proud tradition of commedia Italiana. And if you don't like it, don't let the door hit you in the ass on your way outta the social club. Sonavabitch...

 Like Roselli, Monte remained largely a local attraction in spite of some big charting tunes. For me, titles like "Who Stole My Provalone?" and "Pepino the Italian Mouse" evoke sense-memories of tightly furnished New Jersey/Westchester living rooms on Sunday afternoons. The smell of Chesterfield cigarettes mixes with the Cutty Sark, the meatball, sausage and braecole steaming away in the kitchen, the sauce bubbling on the stove, the baseball game on the TV and the kids screaming in the yard in the back. Meanwhile, in the next town over, the good husband's gumar awaits...







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1 comment:

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