BOPPIN’ BY THE BAYOU-ROCK ME MAMA!

BOPPIN’ BY THE BAYOU-ROCK ME MAMA! 

Asked to name America’s musical centres of excellence, and most people will come up with Chicago, Detroit, Los Angeles, Memphis, Nashville, New York and Philadelphia. Each of these cities are responsible for some of the best, and most important music of the past fifty years. To this list I would add the states of Ohio and Louisiana. Especially Louisiana.

While the music of Chicago, Detroit, Los Angeles, Memphis, Nashville, New York and Philadelphia has been celebrated and documented by compilers, the music of Ohio and Louisiana has sadly, been overlooked. Granted, there’s been compilations of the music of New Orleans. Sadly, very few compilers or record labels dig any deeper. However, one man, and one record label set about rectifying this.

That man was Ian Saddler, the compiler of the By The Bayou series. Along with Ace Records, Ian Saddler has been flying the flag for the music of Louisiana since August 2012. That’s when Ace Records released Boppin’ By The Bayou, Ian Sadler’s lovingly compiled retrospective of Louisiana’s musical past. Since then, Ian Saddler has continued to fly the flag for Louisiana’s illustrious musical past.

By January 2015, the tenth instalment in the By The Bayou series was released, Rhythm ‘N’ Bluesin’ By The Bayou-Mad Dogs, Sweet Daddies and Pretty Babies. Six months later, and Ian Saddler returns with the eleventh volume in the The Bayou series, Boppin’ By The Bayou-Rock Me Mama! This eagerly awaited compilation was recently released by Ace Records, and is a meaty reminder of Louisiana’s illustrious musical past.

There’s a total of twenty-eight tracks on Boppin’ By The Bayou-Rock Me Mama! Familiar faces and new names sit side-by-side. This includes Jeff Daniels, Warren Storm, Joe Carl, Tony Perreau, Al Ferrier, Bennie Fruge, Billy Blank, Rocket Morgan, Johnny Jano and Collay and The Satellites. These tracks are from the vaults of J.D. Miller, Eddie Shuler and Floyd Soileau, who have provided a myriad of musical delights on previous volumes in the By The Bayou series. However, Ian Saddler has dug even deeper for Boppin’ By The Bayou-Rock Me Mama! He’s dipped into Hack Kennedy’s Big Howdy and Big B labels. This is a first, and welcome first at that. Both labels are home to some great music, some of which has found its way onto Boppin’ By The Bayou-Rock Me Mama!, which I’ll pick the highlights of.

Jeff Daniels’ Switch Blade Sam opens Boppin’ By The Bayou-Rock Me Mama! This is the first of two tracks from Jeff. Switch Blade Sam was released on Hack Kennedy’s Big Howdy label in 1959. It’s an glorious slice of rockabilly, where Jeff pays homage to The Killer. His other contribution is Uh-Huh-Huh, the B-Side to Table For Two, Jeff’s 1959 single. It was released on the Big B label, and was penned by  Jeff Daniels under his real name Luke McDaniel. Although Uh-Huh-Huh has a much more understated sound, it’s still truly irresistible. 

Warren Storm is one of the familiar faces on Boppin’ By The Bayou-Rock Me Mama! He’s featured many time on the By The Bayou series. In the late fifties, Warren was signed to J.D. Miller’s label. During one session, J.D. Miller had Warren cut several versions of a song he had written, Mama Mama Mama (Look What Your Little Boy’s Done). It was later released on Ernie Young’s Nashville based, Nasco Records. However, the other versions lay in J.D. Miller’s vaults. That’s until Ian Saddler uncovered this accusing and rocking version of Mama Mama Mama (Look What Your Little Boy’s Done).

In 1959, Danny Winkle recorded two sides for Hack Kennedy’s Big B label. Bad Luck, which Danny had written was chosen as the single. It was released later in 1959, with Danny Winkle becoming Danny. Sadly, the single sunk without track, despite Danny’s despairing blues tinged vocal. Following the commercial failure of Bad Luck, Danny never released another single. That was music’s loss, as he was a talented singer, who was able to bring a song to life.

Johnny Jano is another of the artists who feature twice on Boppin’ By The Bayou-Rock Me Mama! He was discovered by J.D. Miller, who had high hopes for Johnny Jano. Ironically, it was J.D. Miller’s great rival, Eddie Schuler that Johnny enjoyed most success. However, Johnny’s two contributions date back to his days with J.D. Miller, who penned the two tracks. Havin A Whole Lotta Fun and Stop, Look And Listen show that Johnny Jano had the potential to be one of the stars of the rockabilly era.

A track Ken Lindsey recorded for J.D. Miller lent its title to the eleventh instalment in the By The Bayou series. That’s Rock Me Mama, which is a real hidden gem. It was written by Otis Hicks and J.D. Miller, then recorded at J.D. Miller’s studio. Sadly, it was never released until 1983, when it made its way onto a compilation. Thirty-two years later, and Rock Me Mama makes a welcome return, and is a reminder of one of the forgotten men of rockabilly, Ken Lindsey. 

Al Ferrier features twice on Boppin’ By The Bayou-Rock Me Mama! That’s fitting, as Al Ferrier passed away on 6th January 2015, aged seventy-nine. When Al was just twenty-eight, he released You Win Again as a single. This was a song that Al had written. It was released on the Zynn label, and is a reminder of one of rockabilly’s great names. Twenty years after the release of She Left Me, Love Me Baby (Kiss Me Baby) featured on Let’s Go Boppin Tonight, which was released on Flyright Records in 1983, Incredibly, Let’s Go Boppin Tonight was Al’s debut album. By then, Al Ferrier was a favourite of rockabilly fans on both sides of the Atlantic. They all mourned Al’s passing earlier this year. He leaves behind a rich musical legacy including You Win Again and She Left Me, Love Me Baby (Kiss Me Baby).

Music was in Bennie Fruge’s blood. His father owned the Fruge  Piano Company. While many thought he would follow in his father’s footsteps, Bernie had other ideas. He wanted to become a musician. His breakthrough came, when he got a job playing piano at J.D. Miller’s studio. Soon, he was playing on any session where a pianist was needed. However, Bernie wanted to pursue a solo career. Eventually, J.D. Miller allowed Bennie to cut Bayou and She’s Mine, She’s Yours, which feature on Boppin’ By The Bayou Rock Me Mama! These demos allow the listener to hear Bennie’s potential as he embarked upon what was an all too brief recording career. Sadly, most of the time, Bennie spent as a session musician, with his playing gracing many of J.D. Miller’s recordings.  

Nathan Abshire and The Pine Grove Boys only released a quartet of singles on the Kajun label. Their debut was Popcorn Blues, which Nathan penned. It was released in 1960, twenty-five years after Nathan’s recording debut in 1935. Sadly, not long after this, the accordion fell out fashion in Cajun music. For Nathan this was a disaster. Twenty-five years later, and Nathan who sung in French, was fronting his own band. He proudly plays his accordion on this rocky slice of zydeco.

Most people won’t be familiar with Claylel Rodney Morgan. Mention Rocket Morgan, and that’s a name that will be familiar to veterans of the By The Bayou series. He’s making his fifth appearance. Rocket was signed to the Zynn label, and released You´re Humbuggin´ Me in 1958. Take Your Choice is a track that’s never been released before. It’s a a quite beautiful piano lead ballad, that’s the perfect showcase for Rocket Morgan’s heartfelt vocal.

Johnnie Allan could’ve been a contender. There is no doubt about that. His recording career began in 1960, when Johnnie released Angel Love as a single on Mercury. This lead to Johnnie Allan recording an album, South To Louisiana. One of the tracks that didn’t feature on South To Louisiana was the irresistibly rocky I’ll Be Waiting. Belatedly, I’ll Be Waiting finds the audience it deserves. Sadly, Johnnie’s music didn’t find the audience it deserves.

By 1975, Johnnie was still making music. Johnnie had never made the big breakthrough many thought. Then in 1975, Johnnie covered Chuck Berry’s Promised Land. British DJ Charlie Gillett championed the track. While it was popular in Britain, international stardom didn’t beckon for Johnnie Allan. He didn’t replicate the success of Chuck Berry. However, Johnnie recorded many a quality cut, including I’ll Be Waiting, which is the perfect introduction to man whose not just a singer and songwriter, but an author, publisher and producer. 

My final choice from Boppin’ By The Bayou Rock-Me Mama! is Collay and The Satellites’ Little Girl Next Door, which closes the eleventh volume in the By The Bayou series. Allan Callais formed Collay and The Satellites when he was just sixteen. Soon, Collay and The Satellites were attracting the attention of those within the music industry. They cut Last Chance and Little Girl Next Door at Cosimo Matassa’s studio. It was then released by the Sho-Biz label in 1959. On its release, Last Chance became a favourite of DJs and record buyers. Last Chance gave Collay and The Satellites a huge hit. Sadly, they were never able to replicate Last Chance, whose blistering B-Side Little Girl Next Door shows just what Collay and The Satellites were capable of. Little Girl Next Door oozes quality, and is too good to be a B-Side. It’s also the perfect way to close Boppin’ By The Bayou-Rock Me Mama!, and whets your appetite for the next volume.  

Usually, 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. The exception to this rule is Ian Saddler’s By The Bayou series. 

Boppin’ By The Bayou-Rock Me Mama!, which was recently released by Ace Records, is the eleventh instalment in the By The Bayou series. Still, there’s no sign of the By The Bayou running out of steam. Far from it. That’s down to compiler Ian Saddler. His dogged determination, and in-depth knowledge of the Louisiana music scene means Ian knows where all the best music was recorded.

Previous volumes of the By The Bayou series have seen Ian Saddler dig deep in the vaults of J.D. Miller, Eddie Shuler and Floyd Soileau. They’ve provided a myriad of musical delights. However, on Boppin’ By The Bayou-Rock Me Mama!, Ian Saddler decided to dig even deeper. So, He’s dipped into the vaults of Hack Kennedy’s Big Howdy and Big B labels. Both labels have yielded some musical gold. That’s the case with all the labels that feature on Boppin’ By The Bayou-Rock Me Mama!

In total, there’s twenty-eight tracks on Boppin’ By The Bayou-Rock Me Mama! There’s contributions from familiar faces and new names. They sit side-by-side on Boppin’ By The Bayou Rock Me Mama!. This includes Jeff Daniels, Warren Storm, Joe Carl, Tony Perreau, Al Ferrier, Bennie Fruge, Billy Blank, Rocket Morgan, Johnny Jano and Collay and The Satellites, who close Boppin’ By The Bayou-Rock Me Mama!, and leave you wanting more.

Hopefully, Ian Saddler is currently working on the twelfth volume of the By The Bayou series. If it’s anywhere near as good as Boppin’ By The Bayou-Rock Me Mama!, then it too, will be a must have compilation. No wonder.

It’s no exaggeration to say that Boppin’ By The Bayou-Rock Me Mama! oozes quality. That’s the case from the opening bars of Jeff Daniels’ Switch Blade Sam, to the closing notes of Collay and The Satellites’ Little Girl Next Door. For twenty-eight tracks and sixty-five minutes, Boppin’ By The Bayou-Rock Me Mama! transports you to Louisiana, where you enjoy the soundtrack the soundtrack to eighteenth state’s illustrious musical past By The Bayou. 

BOPPIN’ BY THE BAYOU-ROCK ME MAMA!

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