RHYTHM ’N’ BLUESIN’ BY THE BAYOU-MAD DOGS, SWEET DADDIES AND PRETTY BABIES.

RHYTHM ’N’ BLUESIN’ BY THE BAYOU-MAD DOGS, SWEET DADDIES AND PRETTY BABIES.

Not many compilation series survive to celebrate their tenth anniversary. Usually, a compilation series runs out of steam after four or five compilations. By then, the compiler has exhausted the supply of new music. However, as with every rule, there is an exception. In this case I give you Ian Saddler’s By The Bayou series.

It was back in August 2012, that Ian Saddler released what was the first in the By The Bayou series, Boppin’ By The Bayou. Critics welcomed this lovingly compiled retrospective of Louisiana’s musical past. Surely a followup would be released?

That proved to be the case. Boppin’ By The Bayou Again was released in January 2013. It picked up where Boppin’ By The Bayou left off. Then a month later, Rhythm ‘N’ Bluesin’ By The Bayou was released in February 2013. This wasn’t the last we would hear from Ian Saddler during 2013.

Three months passed, and the next instalment in the By The Bayou series was released. This was Bluesin’ By The Bayou. Then five months later, Boppin’ By The Bayou-More Dynamite was released in October 2013. This was the fifth instalment in the By The Bayou series. Despite this, there was no drop in quality. That’s not surprising. Louisiana is a musical hotbed, one that for far too long, has been overlooked by compilers. For Ian Saddler, compiler of the By The Bayou series, this was good news. There was plenty of music left for further volumes in the By The Bayou series.

As 2014 dawned, Rhythm ‘N’ Bluesin’ By The Bayou-Rompin’ and Stompin’ was released in January 2014. Another three further volumes in the By The Bayou series were released during 2014. In March 2014, Swamp Pop By The Bayou was released. Three months later, in July 2014, came Bluesin’ By The Bayou-Rough ‘N’ Tough. Then in September 2014 Boppin’ By The Bayou-Made In The Shade was released. Bluesin’ By The Bayou-Rough ‘N’ Tough was the ninth instalment in the By The Bayou series. 2015 would see the By The Bayou series celebrate its tenth anniversary.

We didn’t have long to wait before the tenth instalment in the By The Bayou series was released. On 26th January 2015, Rhythm ‘N’ Bluesin’ By The Bayou-Mad Dogs, Sweet Daddies and Pretty Babies was released. It sees Ian Saddler return to South Louisiana, where he discovered twenty-eight tracks. These are no ordinary tracks though.

The twenty-eight tracks on Rhythm ‘N’ Bluesin’ By The Bayou-Mad Dogs, Sweet Daddies and Pretty Babies come from the vaults of five of South Louisiana’s top producers. This includes tracks recorded at J.D. Miller’s Crowley studio and Eddie Shuler’s Goldband studio. Other tracks were released on, Floyd Soileau’s Rod label, Sam Montel’s Montel label and Golen Richard’s Richland imprint. Most of these tracks were discovered in the musical goldmine that’s the music store originally founded by J.D. Miller.

Indeed, twenty-two of the tracks on Rhythm ‘N’ Bluesin’ By The Bayou-Mad Dogs, Sweet Daddies and Pretty Babies were discovered in the music store founded by J.D. Miller. It’s situated in the same place, in North Parkerson Avenue, Crowley. Nowadays, the shop is run by J.D. Miller’s youngest sun, Mark. He runs what’s best described as a musical emporium. It has everything a musician, or music lover could want. Whether its guitars, picks, plugs or CDs, Mark Miller has it in his shop. That’s not forgetting a recording studio, complete with master tapes galore. 

It’s at Mark Miller’s studio, where Mark, a record producer,  sound engineer and bassist, transferred twenty-two of the tracks on Rhythm ‘N’ Bluesin’ By The Bayou-Mad Dogs, Sweet Daddies and Pretty Babies from the original master tapes. Eight of these tracks have never been released before. Other tracks on Rhythm ‘N’ Bluesin’ By The Bayou-Mad Dogs, Sweet Daddies and Pretty Babies are from veterans of the By The Bayou series.

Among the names on Rhythm ‘N’ Bluesin’ By The Bayou-Mad Dogs, Sweet Daddies and Pretty Babies are Lester Robertson, Leroy Washington, Mad Dog Sheffield, Carol Fran, Clifton Chenier, Katie Webster, Wonder Boy Travis, Guitar Gable, Clarence Garlow or Lazy Lester. New names include Eddie Williams, Frank Simien and Anna Mae Rogers. That’s why Rhythm ‘N’ Bluesin’ By The Bayou-Mad Dogs, Sweet Daddies and Pretty Babies is described as “rompin’, stompin’ music,”  that’s bound to set “feet a-tappin’.” Let’s hope so, as it would be a fitting way for the By The Bayou series to celebrate its tenth anniversary.

What better way to open Rhythm ‘N’ Bluesin’ By The Bayou-Mad Dogs, Sweet Daddies and Pretty Babies than with Little Victor’s Papa Lou and Gran. It’s an explosive, wild eyed rocker. Penned by Victor Phillips, Little Victor and His Orchestra recorded Papa Lou and Gran. for J.D. Miller in 1954. Seven long years later, and Papa Lou and Gran was released on the Morgan City based, Richmond label in 1961. Sadly, commercial success eluded this bug eyed rocker, which is one of just a few tracks Little Victor recorded for J.D. Miller.

Katie Webster was part of Louisiana’s musical royalty. She was famed for her piano playing and vocal ability. So, it’s fitting she appears three times on Rhythm ‘N’ Bluesin’ By The Bayou-Mad Dogs, Sweet Daddies and Pretty Babies. Her first contribution is the sassy Hoo Wee, Sweet Daddy, which she recorded for J.D. Miller. It was then released in 1959, and is a tantalising taste of a musical legend. A year previously, in 1958, Katie Webster and Ashton Conroy collaborated on I Want You To Love Me. Here, Katie lays down her distinctive piano licks, and Ashton delivers a hopeful vocal on another J.D. Miller production, which was released on the Kry label. The third and final track featuring Katie Webster is Hey Mr. Love, where Katie duets with Bobby Jay on a track released in 1988, on the Flyright label. On Hey Mr. Love, Katie delivers a vocal powerhouse, that’s key to the song’s success.

Just like Katie Webster, Lester Robertson features three times. Each of these songs were written by Lester. Two of his contributions, Pretty Woman (Take It Home To Grandma) and Hoo Wee Pretty Baby have never been released before. Hoo Wee Pretty Baby is something of a hidden gem. It sounds as if it was recorded in the late fifties, when rock ’n’ was in its infancy. From the get-go, Lester grabs the song and makes it swing. Lester’s final contribution is  Take It On Home To Grandma. He’s accompanied by The Upsetters on a hook-laden, swinging track released on the Motel label in 1958. Sadly, Lester didn’t enjoy the commercial success his music deserved, and went into religious exile.

Anna Mae Rogers is better known as the pianist in Clarence Garlow’s band. However, during a recording session at J.D. Miller’s studio in 1954, Anna delivered the vocal on I Called You Up Daddy. It was released on the Feature label in 1954, and showcases a talented vocalist and pianist, who could’ve and should’ve reached greater heights.

Mad Dog Sheffield features twice on Rhythm ‘N’ Bluesin’ By The Bayou-Mad Dogs, Sweet Daddies and Pretty Babies. On Mad Dog, a blistering, piano driven track, Mad Dog Sheffield howls and hollers, delivering his own unique vocal masterclass. Penned by Eddie Shuler and Mad Dog, Mad Dog was released as a single in 1956, on the Goldband label. It’s without doubt, one of the highlights of  Rhythm ‘N’ Bluesin’ By The Bayou-Mad Dogs, Sweet Daddies and Pretty Babies. Thirty-one years later, in 1987, Mad Dog released I Got Fever (Wicked Fever) on the Flyright label. Even after all these years, Mad Dog was still a hugely talented vocalist. Sadly, in the intervening years, Mad Dog never got the breaks he deserved.

Two of the real finds on Rhythm ‘N’ Bluesin’ By The Bayou-Mad Dogs, Sweet Daddies and Pretty Babies come courtesy of Carol Fran. She learnt her trade singing in Lafayette nightclubs, before signing  a contract with producer J.D. Miller. Knock Knock and One More Time are both tracks that were recorded, but never released. That’s a great shame, as Carol can breath life, meaning and emotion into a track.

With some of the artists on Rhythm ‘N’ Bluesin’ By The Bayou-Mad Dogs, Sweet Daddies and Pretty Babies, one track doesn’t do the artist justice. That’s the case with Leroy Washington. So, compiler Ian Saddler has included a trio of tracks from the Palermo born, singer, songwriter and guitarist. Sally Lou, which Leroy wrote, has never been released before, and makes a welcome debut on Rhythm ‘N’ Bluesin’ By The Bayou-Mad Dogs, Sweet Daddies and Pretty Babies. Baby Please Come Home, another track Leroy penned, was released in 1981, on Flyright. It features a needy, hopeful vocal. Then on Hello Baby, What You Know, Leroy unleashes some blistering guitar licks, before he and his band ensure the track swings. Released in 1985 on Flyright, Hello Baby, What You Know will have you longing to hear more from Leroy Washington.

Lionel Torrance was the saxophonist in Clifton Chernier’s band. That was a much prized position. After all, Clifton Chernier’s band featured some of the top musicians in Louisiana, including pianist Katie Webster. It was through playing in Clifton Chernier’s band that Lionel came to the attention of J.D. Miller. When J.D. Miller heard Lionel, he signed him on a recording contract. One of the five singles Lionel recorded for J.D. Miller was Rooty Tooty, which was released in 1962, on Zynn. During Rooty Tooty, Lionel unleashes his braying, blistering saxophone. It’s akin to a masterclass, from the Franklin born saxophonist.

Lazy Lester is a veteran of the By The Bayou series. He’s featured on previous volumes. However, his contribution on Rhythm ‘N’ Bluesin’ By The Bayou-Mad Dogs, Sweet Daddies and Pretty Babies is Tell Me Pretty Baby, which, until now, has never been released. Thankfully, Ian Saddler has rectified this. What follows is another of the compilation’s highlights from the Louisiana based harmonica player and vocalist, Lazy Lester.

Clifton Chenier contributes a slice of zydeco to Rhythm ‘N’ Bluesin’ By The Bayou-Mad Dogs, Sweet Daddies and Pretty Babies. This is Hey Ma Ma, where Clifton and his trusty accordion propel this roller coaster of an arrangement along. Hooks certainly haven’t been spared, on a track from the former Grammy Award winner and Blues Hall of Fame inductee.

My final choice from Rhythm ‘N’ Bluesin’ By The Bayou-Mad Dogs, Sweet Daddies and Pretty Babies is Charles Morris’ When It Rains It Pours. This is another of the unreleased tracks. Given the quality of the track, that’s quite incredible. Slow and moody, bluesy and soulful, Charles delivers a soul-baring vocal that oozes hurt and heartache. Quite simply, this is easily, one of my highlights of Rhythm ‘N’ Bluesin’ By The Bayou-Mad Dogs, Sweet Daddies and Pretty Babies.

The recently released Rhythm ‘N’ Bluesin’ By The Bayou-Mad Dogs, Sweet Daddies and Pretty Babies is the perfect way for the By The Bayou series to celebrate its tenth anniversary. Quite  simply, Rhythm ‘N’ Bluesin’ By The Bayou-Mad Dogs, Sweet Daddies and Pretty Babies oozes quality. From the opening bars of Little Victor and His Orchestra’s Papa Lou and Gran, right through to the closing notes of Lester Robertson and The Upsetters’ Take It Home To Grandma, it’s quality all the way. That’s what we’ve come to expect from Ian Saddler’s By The Bayou compilation series.

Each of the nine previous compilations in the By The Bayou series, were lovingly compiled by Ian Saddler. That’s the case with Rhythm ‘N’ Bluesin’ By The Bayou-Mad Dogs, Sweet Daddies and Pretty Babies. Somehow, however, Ian Saddler has managed to compiled a compilation that’s managed to surpass everything that’s gone before. That takes some doing. After all, Ian has set his standards high on each of the nine previous instalments in the By The Bayou series. However, Rhythm ‘N’ Bluesin’ By The Bayou-Mad Dogs, Sweet Daddies and Pretty Babies is Ian Saddler’s finest hour.

No wonder. The twenty-eight tracks on Rhythm ‘N’ Bluesin’ By The Bayou-Mad Dogs, Sweet Daddies and Pretty Babies come from the vaults of  South Louisiana music royalty. This includes tracks recorded at J.D. Miller’s Crowley studio, and Eddie Shuler’s Goldband studio. Other tracks were released on, Floyd Soileau’s Rod label, Sam Montel’s Montel label and Golen Richard’s Richland imprint. There’s contributions from By The Bayou veterans Lester Robertson, Leroy Washington, Mad Dog Sheffield, Carol Fran, Clifton Chenier, Katie Webster, Wonder Boy Travis, Guitar Gable, Clarence Garlow or Lazy Lester. New names include Eddie Williams, Frank Simien and Anna Mae Rogers. Each and every one of these artists play their part in the success of  Rhythm ‘N’ Bluesin’ By The Bayou-Mad Dogs, Sweet Daddies and Pretty Babies. It the finest instalment in Ace Records’ By The Bayou series, so far.

Hopefully, further volumes of the By The Bayou series will follow. After all, in just three short years, Ian Saddler’s By The Bayou compilation series is one of Ace Records’ most popular compilation series. No wonder. The music on the By The Bayou series epitomises everything that’s good about the music of Louisiana. That’s the case in the tenth instalment of this hugely popular series, Rhythm ‘N’ Bluesin’ By The Bayou-Mad Dogs, Sweet Daddies and Pretty Babies. Just like Rhythm ‘N’ Bluesin’ By The Bayou-Mad Dogs, Sweet Daddies and Pretty Babies promises, its “rompin’, stompin’ music,” that’s bound to set “feet a-tappin’.”

RHYTHM ’N’ BLUESIN’ BY THE BAYOU-MAD DOGS, SWEET DADDIES AND PRETTY BABIES.

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