'What a Wonderful World' found Louis in the uncharacteristic position of being backed by a 16-piece string orchestra. Louis' gravely voice contrasts magnificently against such a lush backing and the performance has become one of his most loved recordings. The subtle lyrics were intended to convey the message of how wonderful the world could be if it was free of violence, but for many this got lost in the translation. Ultimately, Louis rerecorded the song a few years later with a talking preamble to make sure listeners understood what he was about.
Backed again by a suitably understated string section, 'Hello Brother' is certainly the equal of 'What a Wonderful World' in terms of its warmth, lyrics and easy listening appeal. A beautifully produced and melodic ballad, the theme is that most people regardless of their race and nationality want pretty much the same thing - a loving partner, a chance to give their kids a better life, a decent job and a place in the sun. The recording would have made an excellent single follow-up to 'What a Wonderful World' and it is a shame that the opportunity was missed.
The tracks 'Cabaret' (1968: UK No.1), 'Hellzapoppin'' and 'Give Me Your Kisses' feature Louis at his finger snapping ragtime rollicking best. Backed by a 30's sounding jazz band, Louis growls through these energetic classics with the energy of a man half his age whilst showing off his trumpet playing abilities.
We can also find Louis exploring ballads that one would ordinarily expect to be performed by crooners of the likes of Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin or the early Tony Bennett. The relevant titles are 'Fantastic, That's You', 'Dream a Little Dream of Me', 'I Guess I'll Take the Papers and Go Home' and 'The Sunshine of Love'. They are all well produced affairs and Louis' deep buzz saw vocalising works surprisingly well. They also have the advantage of Louis on trumpet.