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.
Ritchie Valens was only 17 when he died in 1959 in the same plane crash that claimed the lives of Buddy Holly and the Big Bopper, and he had only been working in a recording studio for about seven months when the tragedy occurred; thus, his musical legacy rests on about an album-and-a-half of completed studio material, a poorly recorded high school concert, and a handful of demos and rehearsal tapes. This set combines Ritchie Valens, Valens' first album for Bob Keane's Del-Fi label (essentially the only truly finished work Valens recorded), with his second, Ritchie, which was cobbled together from demos, rehearsal sessions, and other odds and ends, and ended up with an internal coherence that is pretty remarkable given the circumstances. The set then adds in eight additional tracks, mostly solo demos and live tracks, to present a pretty complete look at Valens' woefully short career. Virtually everything is here.