LOUISIANA SATURDAY NIGHT REVISITED.

LOUISIANA SATURDAY NIGHT REVISITED.

Often, I rail against the greed and avarice of major record companies. They seem to forget that there’s a recession and employ every type of ninja mind trick to sell what they coldly call “product.” It seems, nothing is sacred. Even true classic albums. Van Morrison’s Moondance, Sly and The Family Stone’s There’s A Riot Goin’ On and Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours are now referred to as product and units. They’ve been reduced to another way of making music lovers part with large sums of money. The way they do that, is with the luxury, multi-format, remastered rerelease. We’re tempted by alternate takes and bonus tracks. Maybe even a live version of a previously unreleased song. By then, we’re putty in the hands of the marketeers. That’s despite the fact that we’ve several versions of the same album. It doesn’t matter. Just like an addict, we must have the latest edition of Dark Side Of The Moon, Sgt. Peppers or Are You Experienced. Then there’s compilations.

Don’t get me started about compilations. Nowadays, there’s compilations for every occasion. Not only are there compilations of Christmas music, but music for St. Valentines Day and Mothers Day. Then there’s music for driving and the latest and most surreal, music for truckers. That’s apt, given every week a truckload of compilations are released. A small number of these compilations are successful. This means a followup. All to often, they’re rushed out, purely to cash in on the release of volume one. This then becomes an annual occurrence. Before we know it, we’re at volume ten. By then, the quality has diminished, and the memory of the original compilation has been tarnished. I’ve seen this time and time again. Thankfully, not all record companies have the same approach

No. A good example is Ace Records. They’ve waited an amazing twenty-three years to release the followup Another Saturday Night, which was released back in 1990. Released to critical acclaim and an appreciative audience, Another Saturday Night was one of the compilations of 1990. Everyone expected a followup to be released in 1991. That wasn’t the case. 1992 then 1993 came and went. As the years went by, it looked like there wouldn’t be a followup to Another Saturday Night. So much time passed, a new millennia dawned. Into the second decade of the new millennia, hopes of a followup to Another Saturday Night were long gone. Then just a week ago, Ace Records released Louisiana Saturday Night Revisited a twenty-four track compilation which I’ll tell you about.

Louisiana Saturday Night Revisited is an eclectic compilation of the music that’ll provide the soundtrack to a night in what’s been dubbed America’s “party capital,” Louisiana. What a night it would be. We hear from some of the biggest names in today’s Louisiana music scene. Among them are Travis Matte and The Kingpins, Ken Marvel, Jivin’ Gene, Warren Storm and Cypress, Michael Hurtt and His Haunted Hearts, Steve Grisaffe and Jamie Bergeron & The Kickin’ Cajuns. Swamp pop, Cajun, zydecajun or rockabilly, it’s all on Louisiana Saturday Night Revisited, which I’ll pick the highlights of.

The first of the eight artists on Louisiana Saturday Night Revisited is Travis Matte And The Kingpins. They contribute four tracks, including a cover of two Chuck Berry songs Maybellene and Rock And Roll Music. Their other contributions are the irresistibly, toe-tapping Crawfish Boogie and the driving Yuh Baby Look So Fine.  Good as Maybellene which opens the compilation is, Rock And Roll Music is even better. It’s totally transformed and played in the zydecajun style. This means a fusion of Cajun music and zydeco rhythms. Coming a close second is Crawfish Boogie, which Travis Matte penned. One listen to these four tracks, and you’ll realize why Travis Matte And The Kingpins are one of Louisiana’s hottest bands.

Straight away, when you hear Ken Marvel’s Whatcha Doin’ you realize this is more than a little special. A glorious slice of swamp pop, it was written by Ken and released in 2008. So was Ain’t Gonna Take It. The two tracks provide a showcase for multitalented, multi-instrumentalist. Guitar, piano, organ and bass Ken can play them all. Then there’s his vocal. It’s lived in, feisty and charismatic. As for which is the best track, it’s a close run thing. Ain’t Gonna Take It sneaks it, just.

Jivin’ Gene, or to give him is full name, Gene Bourgeois, is a veteran of the Louisiana music scene. Gene contributes four tracks to Louisiana Saturday Night Revisited. He wrote I’d Like To Hear It From You, Ain’t No Way and Love Medicine. His other contribution was You’re Jealous, which Gene and Huey Meaux cowrote. These tracks featured on his 2009 album It’s Never Too Late. It was released six decades after he released his hit single Breaking Up Is Hard To Do. One of the founding fathers of swamp pop, it’s quality all the way. His vocal is full of emotion on the needy I’d Like To Hear It From You and heartbreaking You’re Jealous. Both have a glorious vintage sound thanks to the grizzled horns. They’re a reminder of the music of the fifties. Ain’t No Way features some blistering guitar playing and Love Medicine is punctuated by blazing horns. Choosing the best track isn’t easy, but I’d Like To Hear It From You is my favorite track from Jivin’ Gene. So good are these four tracks, that I’ll be looking out for a copy of It’s Never Too Late.

Warren Storm and Cypress are responsible for one of the most heartbreakingly beautiful songs on Louisiana Saturday Night Revisited. That’s Something On Your Mind, one of three songs they contribute. The other two are uptempo Fannie Mae and Irene, another track oozing emotion and hurt. Given how good these three tracks are, we should be grateful the group reformed in 2004, after twenty years apart.

Cypress aren’t just Warren Storm’s regular backing band. No. They were founded by Warren Storm and Willie Tee, who they accompany on Chicken On The Run. This proves a potent partnership. Willie’s lived-in vocal and blistering saxophone are at the heart of the song’s success.

James Bergeron and The Kickin’ Cajuns are one of the most sought after bands on the Louisiana music scene. So it’s no surprise that they contribute a quartet of tracks. What’s surprising is are only part-time musicians. During the day, James drives an ambulance. At night, he’s transformed into a star of Cajun music. Proof of this are You’re Driving Me Crazy, R.C.A, Whole Lotta Woman and 10 To A 2 all feature on their sophomore album, The New CD. Again, it’s quality all the way. Of the four tracks, You’re Driving Me Crazy and Whole Lotta Woman standout. An explosion of energy, emotion and enthusiasm, they’re sure to get any party started.

Briefly, Michael Hurtt and His Haunted Hearts’ Come Back To Louisiana is reminiscent of Johnny Cash. It’s the guitars and Michael’s drawling delivery that leads to this comparison. He’s a charismatic vocalist whose delivery is a mixture of irony, emotion and humor. Behind him, his band fuse country, rockabilly and western swing. Come Back To Louisiana, which is the title-track to his 2006 album, is one of four tracks Michael Hurtt and His Haunted Hearts. It’s also the best. The storming Hey Little Tornado comes a close second, while She Won’t Turn Over For Me and Me is also full of irony, emotion and humor. As for Mean Moon, it’s tinged with bravado, and shows yet another side to the band.

Steve Grisaffe one of the most sought after bass players, is the last contributor to Louisiana Saturday Night Revisited. He contributes two tracks A Little Bit Of You and Tammy Lou. They’re two very different songs. A Little Bit Of You is a much more uptempo track which Steve delivers with a swing. It features some delicious boogie woogie piano and sizzling guitar playing. Truly, it’s one of the highlights of the compilation. Tammy Lou is a tender, ballad with a bluesy backdrop. Midway through the track, Steve’s half-spoken, Elvis-esque vocal oozes emotion and sadness. 

Featuring twenty-four tracks, Louisiana Saturday Night Revisited has been well worth the twenty-three year wait. Compiler Ian Saddler has made sure of that. As the old saying goes, everyone is a winner. That’s no exaggeration. There’s strictly no musical mistakes, just quality music all the way on Louisiana Saturday Night Revisited. A musical journey through Louisiana music circa 2013, you’ll hear everything from swamp pop, Cajun, zydecajun or rockabilly. Many of the artists you hear, will be new to you. I’m sure it won’t be the last you’ll want hear of them.

I certainly want to hear more from Ken Marvel, Jivin’ Gene, Warren Storm and Cypress, James Bergeron and The Kickin’ Cajuns and Steve Grisaffe. They’re talented artists whose music deserves a much wider audience. I’ll be looking into the music these artists have released, with a view to reviewing it. Sadly, tracking down the albums I’ve mentioned in my review isn’t easy. Like a good crate-digger, I’ll have a good go. In the meantime, hopefully, Ace Records, who released Louisiana Saturday Night Revisited, will consider a followup? Let’s just hope the followup to Louisiana Saturday Night Revisited won’t be another twenty-three years in the making. Standout Tracks: Ken Marvel Ain’t Gonna Take It, Jivin’ Gene I’d Like To Hear It From You, Warren Storm and Cypress Something On Your Mind and Steve Grisaffe A Little Bit Of You.

LOUISIANA SATURDAY NIGHT REVISITED.

Louisiana Saturday Night Revisited

Louisiana Saturday Night Revisited

Louisiana Saturday Night Revisited

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