It was always going to be a dangerous mission. Trevor Churchill’s brainchild, THE GOLDEN AGE OF AMERICAN POP, had been in development for some time and the prototype was about to be launched into the fray with a bundle of seemingly undifferentiated repertoire. The potential embarrassment factor was high with risk of heavy flak on the way and snipers on the ground in the landing zone. Trevor was calling for volunteers. There was a lot of nervous shuffling among the ranks. Some of the lads took to studying their toecaps, while others took an inordinate interest in the state of their cuticles, or tried to look inconspicuous by melting into the background.
The buckle-polishers and skirt-swirlers are back! Presenting 28 rare goodies from Louisiana and South East Texas. The variant of rock’n’roll that emanated from the Gulf Coast of South Louisiana and South East Texas in the 1950s-60s is as evocative of the area as chicken gumbo, crawfish étouffée and red beans and rice. The youthful Cajuns of the period threw themselves into r’n’r like teenagers across the globe, but had additional influences, not just the hillbilly and blues that created rockabilly, but the ethnic music of their parents and, most telling, the R&B sounds carried over the airwaves from New Orleans.
Hardly have we savoured the full taste of “Rhythm ’n’ Bluesin’ By The Bayou” than here comes another bucketful of steaming South Louisiana gumbo and this time it’s “Bluesin’ By The Bayou” – a spicy mix of guitars, harmonicas, and even the occasional accordion, accompanying those tales of despair or machismo that are the recipe for the blues. All the tracks stem from the studios of J.D. Miller in Crowley and Eddie Shuler in Lake Charles. These two men were wonders at spotting talent and getting the best out of the performers, as illustrated on the 28 tracks on this CD.
In the mid-50s, as rock’n’roll swept across the USA, the Cajun youth of South Louisiana and South East Texas absorbed the R&B sounds emanating from New Orleans. This was reflected in their music, making it so distinctive. They thrilled to the sound of Fats Domino, Smiley Lewis and Huey Smith and performed their songs with the bands they formed, while the area’s new breed of songwriters – Bobby Charles, Jimmy Donley, Jivin’ Gene, etc – assimilated the Crescent City style in their work. Swamp pop was born, although the genre had yet to be named.
The ninth release in the “…By The Bayou” series brings you some hot rockers from South Louisiana and Southeast Texas, an area where Cajun culture has had a strong influence over its music – and never more so than in the heyday of real rock’n’roll, the 1950s. Rock’n’roll was a hybrid of C&W and R&B right across the USA, but in Cajun country the influences were more specific; the country music was from Texas, the R&B from New Orleans, and into this mix went rockabilly from Memphis via Shreveport and Cajun music. In this exciting compilation you will find all of those influences to varying degrees.
The second “Bluesin’” volume in the “By The Bayou” series concentrates on musicians from South Louisiana and South East Texas discovered and recorded by J.D. Miller and Eddie Shuler. These two giants of the post-war recording scene were supreme talent-spotters. They knew the sounds that appealed to the local record-buying public, their target audience. What they couldn’t have known, or even guessed at in their wildest fantasies, was that the appeal of their recordings would last so long and encompass the globe.
Letting the good times roll again, with this second visit to the dynamic South Louisiana R&B scene there is no waver in the quality of music. We’ve added the work of another Louisiana record man, Sam Montel from Baton Rouge, to the vast stockpile of material in the vaults of J.D. Miller, Eddie Shuler, Floyd Soileau and Jake Graffagnino. Sam (originally Montalbano) got into the music business when his childhood friend Jimmy Clanton hit the charts. Sam became his road manager and the whole scene got into his blood. He decided to start his own record label when only 18 years old. His first release, Lester Robertson’s ‘My Girl Across Town’, is included here, as is a previously unissued outing from Robertson.
The forgotten sound of South Louisiana. Setting out on the “By The Bayou” journey, I didn’t envisage reaching CD 12. The project started as a vehicle for white Louisiana rockers, but exploration of the tape vaults of J.D. Miller and the catalogues of Eddie Shuler’s Goldband, Floyd Soileau’s Jin, Sam Montelbano’s Montel and Joe Ruffino’s Ric and Ron labels revealed more than enough great vocal group material to fill a dedicated CD. So here is a collection of chanting rockers and sweet harmonies, rather overlooked as ingredients which go into the rich gumbo of South Louisiana music of the 50s.