RHYTHM ’N’ BLUESIN’ BY THE BAYOU-ROMPIN’ AND STOMPIN’

RHYTHM ’N’ BLUESIN’ BY THE BAYOU-ROMPIN’ AND STOMPIN’

Last year was a busy year for Ian Saddler. He compiled a trio of compilations of blues, R&B and zydeco for Ace Records. The first of these was Bluesin’ By The Bayou, a compilation of “low down, dirty and greasy blues from Louisiana.” With some Zydeco thrown in for good measure, this was a heady brew. Next up was Louisiana Saturday Night Revisited. This was the long-awaited followup to Another Saturday Night which was relaxed way back in 1990. It was worth the twenty-three year wait. Ian’s final compilation of 2013 for Ace Records was Boppin’ By The Bayou-More Dynamite. It was a welcome addition to the By The Bayou series. The same can be said of Ian Saddler’s first compilation of 2014, Rhythm ’N’ Bluesin’ By The Bayou-Rompin’ and Stompin.’ 

Rhythm ’N’ Bluesin’ By The Bayou-Rompin’ and Stompin’ was recently released by Ace Records. It features twenty-eight tracks, including nineteen tracks that have never been released before. The twenty-eight tracks were produced by some of the most important producers in Louisiana’s musical history. This includes J.D. Miller and Eddie Shuler. Their productions featured Boppin’ By The Bayou-More Dynamite.  Other tracks on Rhythm ’N’ Bluesin’ By The Bayou-Rompin’ and Stompin’ were produced by Sam Montel, Floyd Soileau and Carl Graffagnino. These producers are responsible for more “low down, dirty, greasy blues” R&B and zydeco “from Louisiana” which I’ll pick the highlights of.

Tabby Thomas has two tracks on Rhythm ’N’ Bluesin’ By The Bayou-Rompin’ and Stompin.’ Neither Teenagers nor Teenage Queen have been released before. The cover of Teenagers is a real find. It’s the best of the two tracks. It was penned by Robert Guidry and produced by J.D. Miller. Originally recorded by Bobby Charles, Tabby transforms Teenagers into a blistering slice of stomping, horn driven R&B. Teenage Queen is another slice of driving R&B. It was recorded between 1954 and 1965, when Tabby worked with J.D. They proved a successful partnership

From the opening bars of Jay Nelson’s Silly Filly Oh Baby you’re hooked. The track was written by Jay and Eddie Shuler who produced the track. Drawing inspiration from Little Richards, Jay kicks loose and vamps his way through the track. With a driving rhythm section, chiming guitar and piano for company,  his band match him every step of the way on this glorious slice of R&B.

Originally from Houston, when Wonder Boy Travis arrived J.D. Miller’s studio as a member of Clifton Chernier’s band. Then when Clifton was taking a break he asked Wonder Boy to record a vocal. This was the break he was looking for. The next thing he knew, he was embarking on a a recording career. One of his singles She’s Got Eyes Like A Cat. The version on Rhythm ’N’ Bluesin’ By The Bayou-Rompin’ and Stompin,’ is an alternate version. It brings a new twist to a familiar track. His other contribution is She Went Thataway. It has a much more bluesy sound, but also has a zydeco influence. These two tracks unreleased demonstrate Wonder Boy Travis’ versatility and undoubted talent. 

Lester Robertson was from the New Orleans area. He took over the reins of Little Richard’s band The Upsetters. Little Richards had decided to become a minister.  Lester was looking for a backing band. He realised that here was a crack band of musicians without a leader. This was what he’d been looking for. They accompanied him on the two singles he released. One of them was My Girl Across Town. It was released on Montel Record Co. It’s a fusion of R&B and rock ’n’ roll. So too, is Lester’s other contribution, Schooldays Schooldays. I actually prefer this track. Incredibly, this hook-laden, hidden gem has never been released before. So, Ian Saddler deserves our thanks for unearthing it.

Lonesome Sundown was born Cornelius Green, and grew up just outside Baton Rouge, the capital of Louisiana. His career lasted over thirty years. This included releasing four solo albums between 1969 and 1988. His 1976 sophomore album was Bought Me A Ticket. It was produced by J.D. Miller. It featured California Blues and What You Wanna Do It For. They’re the perfect introduction to one Louisiana blues music’s best kept secrets.

Sometimes, you come across a track and having heard it, you want to hear more from them. That was the case with Johnny Sonnier. Sad Lover is a truly heartbreaking R&B track. It toys with your emotion. Slow, moody and beautiful it’s a trip back to another musical era. Produced by J.D. Miller, this track was found by compiler Ian Saddler in J.D. Miller’s vaults. What a find it was. Ian it seems, has hit the jackpot.

Leroy Washington may have lived a short life, but it was an eventful one. He recorded blues and R&B cuts for labels like Excello, Rocko and Zynn. His best known single was Wild Cherry. There’s more to Leroy than one track. Much more. Learn To Treat Me Better and You Can’t Trust Nobody are proof of this. The highlight of the two tracks is the despairing You Can’t Trust Nobody. It’s a piano driven blues where Leroy lays bare his soul. A guitar answers his call as Leroy realises at last: “You Can’t Trust Nobody.”

After embarking upon a solo career in 1952, James Sugar Boy Crawford and His Canecutters enjoyed a successful career. He released singles for labels like Chess, Checker and Imperial.  His biggest hit was Round and Round, which he released on Montel Record Co. in early 1960. It’s an infectiously catchy R&B track that showcases James vocal skills. Sadly, his career ended when he was attacked by what Dr. John described as “rednecks” when he was playing a gig on the Louisiana and Mississippi border. So, Round and Round is a poignant reminder of Sugar Boy’s biggest hit.

Little Victor’s You Done Me Wrong is another of the unreleased tracks. Again, you wonder why it’s lain unreleased for nearly fifty years. Produced by J.D. Miller, it has a late night, bluesy sound. No wonder. Little Victor unleashes a soul-baring vocal. His vocal sounds as if he’s lived, loved and just about survived to tell the tale.

There’s only one artist on Rhythm and Bluesin’ By The Bayou-Rompin’ and Stompin’ whose worked with J.D. Miller and Eddie Shuler. That’s Classie Ballou, who contributes two tracks. They’re Oh Mama (Cajun Blues) and Lucille. Neither track has been released. The best of the two tracks is Lucille. Classie breathes new life, energy and emotion into the lyrics. Accompanied by cascading horns, handclaps and meandering guitars, Classie delivers a needy, vocal powerhouse. This transforms a familiar track.

My final choice from is Rhythm and Bluesin’ By The Bayou-Rompin’ and Stompin’ Ivory Jackson’s I’m A Country Boy. Ivory was a drummer who worked with vocalist Hop Wilson. Here, Hop unleashes a raw, grizzled vocal. He doesn’t hold back. Neither does the band. They go toe to toe on a  track that’s the perfect way to close this latest instalment in the By The Bayou series. 

Rhythm ’N’ Bluesin’ By The Bayou-Rompin’ and Stompin’ picks up where Boppin’ By The Bayou-More Dynamite left off. This means more “low down, dirty and greasy blues from Louisiana.” There’s also rockabilly, country, rock ‘n’ roll, zydeco and swamp pop. Just like the five previous instalments in this series, Rhythm ’N’ Bluesin’ By The Bayou-Rompin’ and Stompin’ is the perfect introduction to Louisiana’s music.

Just like previous volumes, Rhythm ’N’ Bluesin’ By The Bayou-Rompin’ and Stompin’ reinforces that Louisiana has a rich and eclectic musical history. Rhythm ’N’ Bluesin’ By The Bayou-Rompin’ and Stompin’ compilation reinforces this. It features twenty-eight tracks, including nineteen that have never been released before. That’s a great shame, as the music oozes quality. Listening to Rhythm ’N’ Bluesin’ By The Bayou-Rompin’ and Stompin’ is a compelling, enthralling, eclectic and mesmeric musical journey. That’s thanks to Ian Saddler’s crate-digging skills. 

Ian’s dug deep into the vaults of five of Louisiana best known producer’s vaults. These are J.D. Miller, Eddie Shuler, Sam Montel, Floyd Soileau and Carl Graffagnino. He must have been spoiled for choice. For a music fan, this is the equivalent to a fat boy in a sweet shop. Somehow, Ian has setter on twenty-eight tracks. They’re mixture of familiar faces, rarities and hidden gems, it’s a journey back to another musical era, where the music of Louisiana comes to life. 

Sadly, nineteen tracks have never seen the light of day before. That’s a great shame. Music deserves to be heard, not lie unloved in a record company’s vaults. Instead, it should be where people can enjoy. That’s where compiler Ian Saddler and Ace Records come in. They’re responsible for Rhythm ’N’ Bluesin’ By The Bayou-Rompin’ and Stompin’ the latest in the critically acclaimed  By The Bayou compilation series.

Rhythm ’N’ Bluesin’ By The Bayou-Rompin’ and Stompin’ is just like its predecessors. They’re the perfect introduction to the music of Louisiana during the late-fifties and early sixties. They conjur up images of Louisiana, during another musical era. This means music that’s emotive, evocative and atmospheric. It paints pictures of what life was like in Louisiana, back then. Now you don’t need to go to Louisiana to hear this music. No. All you need to do, is head to your local record shop where you’ll find a copy of Rhythm ’N’ Bluesin’ By The Bayou-Rompin’ and Stompin’ waiting for you. Standout Tracks: Jay Nelson Silly Filly Oh Baby, Lonesome Sundown California Blues, James “Sugar Boy” Crawford and His Canecutters Round And Round and Classie Ballou Lucille.

RHYTHM ’N’ BLUESIN’ BY THE BAYOU-ROMPIN’ AND STOMPIN’

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