Hewitt, NJ, June 14, 2011 --(PR.com
)-- Ray Monte studied with legendary greats Sonny Igoe, Henry Adlar and Gary Chester. He is the son of Italian-American singer, Lou Monte, known for his comedic songs, "Dominick the Donkey," and "Pepino, the italian Mouse." Ray has recorded with his father in the 1970's and 80's and also appeared in the popular comedy broadway show, "Mob Hits" in 2003.
Ray carved out his own professional music career as a drummer, performing with Bucky Pizzarelli, Randy Weston, Jim Hall, Lew Sollof and the Conan O'Brien Band. He performed for the Joan Rivers Show, the 2000 Songwriters Hall of Fame Banquet, Pippin, Best Little Whorehouse in Texas and the National Lampoon Show. Ray has played with artists John Bellushi, Stephen Bishop, Jaye P Morgan, Freddy Jackson, Freddy Scott, Lou Monte and Jimmy Roselli.
Ray's father Lou Monte (April 2, 1917–June 12, 1989) born Louis Scaglione, was an Italian-American singer best known for a number of best-selling, Italian-themed novelty records which he recorded for both RCA Records and Reprise Records in the late 1950s and early 1960s. He also recorded on Roulette Records, Jubilee Records, Regalia Records, Musicor Records, Laurie Records, and AFE Records.
Monte developed a following, playing clubs in and around the New Jersey area. When World War II broke out, Monte had to put his career on hold and enlisted in the Army. When he was discharged, he started his club date schedule and caught the attention of radio station WAAT in Newark, New Jersey. Seeing a potential in Monte, they gave him a shot with his own radio show. The show gave him a chance to refine his act and soon caught on big with the listeners. The radio station rewarded him by convincing their TV outlet to give him a try as well.
With this, he was able to make a couple of recordings on local labels. Joe Carlton was an A&R man for RCA Victor Records and heard the Italian minstrel performing in a spaghetti joint south of Secaucus. He liked Monte's singing style with the way he accompanied himself on the guitar. He offered him a contract with RCA Victor which lasted seven years. Joe Carlton would go on to start Carlton Records.
Monte's first big hit came in 1954, with the release of his version of "Darktown Strutters' Ball." In 1962, Monte would release his first million-seller, "Pepino the Italian Mouse," which was awarded a gold disc. Sung in a pastiche of both Calabrese and English, "Pepino the Italian Mouse" tells the humorous tale of a mischievous mouse who lives within the walls of a man's kitchen and who comes out at night to eat cheese, drink wine, frighten Lou's girlfriend when she comes over...and befriends the cat, sent out to catch him.
The "flip side" of the single featured another Italian-American hybrid novelty song called "What Did Washington Say (When He Crossed The Delaware?)." The song presumes that George Washington was cold, tired, hungry and without a change of underwear on his famous trip. He then asks his boatsmen to row faster because "tonight I'm posing for my picture on the dollar bill."
Monte's other famous novelty records include "Dominick the Donkey," a Christmas staple in many Italian-American households and "Pasquale, the Italian Pussycat," the sequel to "Pepino" followed by "Paulucci, the Italian Parrot" and Paul Revere's Horse (Ba-Cha-Ca-Loop). "Lazy Mary," a remake of the traditional Italian song "Luna Mezzo Mare," tells the tale of a conversation between a young woman who wishes to be married, and her mother. The somewhat risque song mixes English and Italian verses. The two use double entendre to compare the occupations with the sexual appetites of the various suitors. It peaked at number 12 on the U.S. Pop Singles chart. "Lazy Mary" is routinely played during the seventh inning stretch at New York Mets games (both at Shea Stadium and now at Citi Field), immediately after "Take Me Out To The Ballgame."
Monte made TV appearances on syndicated programming such as The Mike Douglas Show and the Merv Griffin Show.
Monte resided in Lyndhurst, New Jersey where his fan club was based. He contributed to the founding of the Lou Monte, Jr. leukemia laboratory at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey in memory of his son who died of the disease at age 21.
Monte's 1971 recording "I Have An Angel In Heaven" was highly popular in the late 1980s and early 1990s satellite version of the "Music Of Your Life."
Joey Giovinazzo, owner of Joey's Casa Italiana, will host Ray Monte, son of Lou Monte on Sunday, June 19, 2011. Joey was a musician before he got into the restaurant business at age 20. He played with a number of popular bands of the day including Rob Stoner, the long time leader of Bob Dylan’s band.
When Joey's first restaurant opened in Rockland County, NY Joey was taking care of the entertainment and his brother Ralph was chef. Joey began to develop an interest in cooking and before long was working in Yankee ball player Rick Cerone’s restaurant in Northvale. Not much later Joey won the chef’s award for his creation of Zuppa Di Pesce and chocolate mousse something that he offers at the Hewitt, NJ restaurant. He owned several other successful Rockland County restaurants before he came to Hewitt in the Township of West Milford 16 years ago. Joey says he "fell in love with the town and its people."
Joey continues to include live music as part of the restaurant experience, and is often found performing with his sons Daniel and Joey Junior. When he is not in the kitchen, friends Tom and Sandy Doyle, Les Paul Junior, Rob Stoner, Marty of Jay and the Americans, Eddie Brigati, Peppi Marchello, Bobbi Valli, Lou Pallo, Bucky Pizzarelli and many more perform at Joey’s restaurant.
On Father's Day, Sunday, June 19, 2011, Joey will present Ray Monte. There will be no cover charge. Dinner will be served from 12:00pm to 8:30pm. In the dining room regular and special menus will be available. The live show will be held from 4:00pm to 8:30pm.
For complete details and directions go to www.joeyscasaitaliana.com or call 973-728-4722 for reservations after 12 noon.
Joey’s Casa Italiana
(formerly Le Bistro)
9 Lakeside Avenue
Hewitt (in West Milford), NJ 07421