RHYTHM ’N’ BLUESIN’ BY THE BAYOU-NIGHTS OF SIN, DIRTY DEALS AND LOVE SICK SOULS.

RHYTHM ’N’ BLUESIN’ BY THE BAYOU-NIGHTS OF SIN, DIRTY DEALS AND LOVE SICK SOULS.

The state of Louisiana means different things to different people. For some, it’s the state’s rich literary heritage. One of its most famous writers was Tennessee Williams, the author of A Street Car Named Desire. Then there’s Anna Rice the nineteenth century author of metaphysical gothic fiction. Her best known work was Interview With A Vampire. However, Ernest Gaines managed to incorporate in his play A Lesson Before Dying, another thing Louisiana is famous for, cuisine.

In A Lesson Before Dying, one of Ernest Gaines’ characters utters the immortal line, “gumbo can be eaten at any time.” That’s the case is Louisiana, where gumbo is a delicacy. So is jambalaya, crawfish boil and a po boy sandwich. It’s a staple of Louisiana, especially in New Orleans during the Mardi Gras. So is music, another thing New Orleans and the rest of Louisiana is famous for.

It’s no exaggeration to say that Louisiana has a rich musical heritage. This was where Allen Toussaint, Dr. John, Harold Batiste, Irma Thomas, Jerry Lee Lewis, Louis Armstrong, the Neville Brothers, Professor Longhair and Tami Lynn were all born. Most of their careers have been well documented. However, this is just the tip of the iceberg, when it comes to Louisiana’s rich and vibrant music scene.

That’s been the case right back to the blues men like Leadbelly, Silas Hogan, Slim Harpo, Pee Wee Whitaker and T-Bone Shingleton were providing the soundtrack to life in Louisiana. Since then, musical soundtrack has changed many times. However, whether it was jazz, bluegrass, country, rockabilly, R&B, soul, swamp pop or zydeco, still Louisiana’s music scene was rich and vibrant. Despite that, Louisiana’s rich musical heritage has been overlooked by compilers.

Until fairly recently, record companies looking to compile a new compilation, followed the well trodden path to Chicago, Detroit, Memphis, Philly and New York. One place they constantly overlooked was Louisiana. That was until Ian Saddler decided to explore the the musical delights of Louisiana.

Ian Saddler knew there were rich pickings to be found in  Louisiana. So he headed south, and embarked upon an musical voyage of discovery. What he was looking for, was enough music for his first volume of the By The Bayou series, which would be released by Ace Records. When Ian arrived in Louisiana, he was in for a pleasant surprise.

There was a musical treasure trove that was awaiting Ian Saddler’s discovery. Even Ian Saddler must have been overwhelmed by what he discovered. So vast was this treasure trove of musical delights, that Ian Saddler must have known there was enough for several volumes in the By The Bayou series. That depended on the success of the first volume in the By The Bayou series.

Following the success of the first instalment in the By The Bayou series, Ian Saddler got to work on a second volume. Then came a third, fourth and fifth volume. The By The Bayou series looked like it could run and run. 

Fast forward a couple of years, and the fourteenth volume in Ian Saddler’s By The Bayou series has just been released. Rhythm ’N’ Bluesin’ By The Bayou-Nights Of Sin, Dirty Deals and Love Sick Souls, which was recently released by Ace Records, is the fifth volume of Louisiana rhythm ‘n’ blues. It features twenty-eight tracks. They’re a mixture of familiar faces, rarities, alternate takes and unreleased tracks. This includes contributions from Chris Kenner, Lester Robertson, Barbara Lynn, Jay Nelson, Leroy Washington, Little Victor, Big Walter Price and Classie Ballou. Some of the artists on Rhythm ’N’ Bluesin’ By The Bayou-Nights Of Sin, Dirty Deals and Love Sick Souls feature more than once.  Often, their first contribution is so good, that they return for an encore on Rhythm ’N’ Bluesin’ By The Bayou-Nights Of Sin, Dirty Deals and Love Sick Souls. It you’ll realise, is a welcome addition to what’s now one of the most successful and longest running compilation series, By The Bayou.

Opening Rhythm ’N’ Bluesin’ By The Bayou-Nights Of Sin, Dirty Deals and Love Sick Souls is Chris Kenner’s Grandma’s House. It was released on the B-Side of his single Don’t Let Her Pin That Charge On Me. It was released on the Baton label on 7th February 1956. Grandma’s House was penned by Chris Kenner, and was recorded in New Orleans. It’s an irresistible slice of R&B from Chris Kenner, that whets the listener’s appetite for the rest of the compilation.

Lester Robertson is one of the artists on Rhythm ’N’ Bluesin’ By The Bayou-Nights Of Sin, Dirty Deals and Love Sick Souls that features three times. His first contribution is an alternate take of Oh Babe. The original was produced by Sam Montel, and then released as a single on Montel Record Co, in 1959. Oh Babe is piano driven fusion rock ’n’ roll and R&B. Very different is Lester Robertson’s second contribution. 

Please Don’t Go was recorded by Lester Robertson at J.D. Miller’s studio. Sadly, this needy, soul-baring ballad lay unreleased until discovered by Bruce Bastin of Flyright Records. It featured on the 1977 compilation Louisiana Swamp Pop. Belatedly, this hidden gem was able to be heard by the record buying public.

Barbara Lynn was born in Beaumont in 1942, and throughout high school, played in bands. However, towards the end of her school days, Barbara Lynn changed direction musically when she saw Elvis. Soon, she was playing in blues clubs. That was blues man Clarence Garlow first encountered Barbara Lynn. Realising she had potential, Clarence Garlow setup a recording session with Eddie Shuler of Goldband. 

At that session, Barbara Lynn covered Smiley Lewis’ One Night and Sam Cooke’s Love You Most Of All. Both tracks are a tantalising taste of a truly talented singer, as she breathes life and meaning into these bluesy songs. Incredibly, after the session, Eddie Shuler decided not to sign Barbara Lynn to Goldband. He had passed up the chance to sign Barbara Lynn. It wasn’t until 1961 that singer-songwriter Joe Barry discovered Barbara Lynn. This was the start of a long and successful career. However, maybe history would’ve been different if Eddie Shuler  had signed Barbara Lynn?

Jay Nelson was still a teenager when his recording career began. He was born in Jeanerette, Louisiana in 1939, and by the mid-fifties, was recording for J.D. Miller and Eddie Shuler. Betty Ann was a song Jay Nelson recorded during this period. It’s a beautiful heartfelt, paean which sadly, lay unreleased until 1977. That’s when it featured on the 1977 Flyright Records’ compilation. Belatedly, this beautiful hidden gem of a ballad found the audience it deserved. 

Lafayette born Little Victor is another artist who features twice on Rhythm ’N’ Bluesin’, Little Victor drops the tempo on the unreleased track Please Be There, and delivers a needy, hopeful vocal. What Is Love was the flip-side to Little Victor’s 1961 single Papa Lou And Gran. It was released on the Richmond label, and has a pleasant surprise on the B-Side, What Is Love. Hurt, heartbreak and betrayal fill Little Victor’s vocal on what’s an outpouring of raw emotion.

Pleasant Joseph was born in a rice plantation in Wallace, Louisiana in 1907. By the time he was a teenager, he was playing music on street corners. This was just the start of a career as a musician. 

Before the thirties gave way to the forties, blues man Smilin’ Joe was a familiar face in the clubs of New Orleans where he was making a living as a jazz musician. However, by the forties, Smilin’ Joe was a piano playing blues man. He cut a couple of singles as Smilin’ Joe, including  Living On Borrowed Time in 1955. It was released on Flip, and featured Love Sick Soul on the B-Side. Both songs were written by Pleasant Joseph, and are a reminder of talented songwriter and versatile singer and musician. 

Leroy Washington is a veteran of the By The Bayou series. His contribution here, is an alternate take of his most famous track, Wild Cherry. It was recorded for J.D. Miller, but was never released until 1977. That’s when it found its way onto the Flyright Records’ Leroy Washington compilation Wild Cherry. It’s a reminder of a hugely talented singer and musician, who tragically, passed away in 1966, aged just thirty-four.

Classie Ballou features four times on the compilation. Just two of those appearances are as a solo artist. They were recorded at J.D. Miller’s studios. This includes the previously unreleased instrumental Crowley Stroll. It’s the perfect showcase for Classie Ballou’s skills as a guitarist. So is Version 2 of Hey Ma Ma, which lay unreleased until 1976. That was when the song was rediscovered and featured on a Flyright Records compilation Rock Me All Night Long. Its  track list features some of the most talented singers and musicians from Louisiana, including Classie Ballou.

Ivory Jackson is best known as the drummer for Cookie and The Cupcakes. Occasionally, Ivory Jackson put down his drumsticks and enjoyed a recording career as a vocalist. He worked with Eddie Shuler, who he recorded Clautelia for. Sadly, this piano driven paean wasn’t released until 1976, when it featured on a Flyright Records’ compilation Rockin’ Blues Party. It’s another hidden gem, and one of just four Ivory Jackson recordings that were ever released.

Big Walter Price is another veteran of the By The Bayou series. His contribution is Better Run, which was recorded for Goldband. It’s a piano lead ballad, that features a vocal powerhouse from Big Walter Price. Better Run is one of the unreleased tracks, and makes a welcome debut on hythm ’N’ Bluesin’ By The Bayou-Nights Of Sin, Dirty Deals and Love Sick Souls.

So does the Baton Rouge Boys’ Rising Sun. It was recorded at J.D. Miller’s studio, but has lain in the vaults since then. Very little is known about the Baton Rouge Boys. However, Rising Sun’s slow, bluesy, late night sound oozes quality, and will make you want to hear more from the Baton Rouge Boys.

In 1961, Lester Robertson released My Heart Forever Yearns as a single on the Montel Records Co. Tucked away on the B-Side was My Girl Across Town, a Lester Robertson composition. Another recording exists. It’s credited to Lester Robertson and The Upsetters, and is described as an alternate take as My Girl Across Town. Sadly, since it was recorded in 1961, it’s lain in the Montel Record Co. vaults. Not any more; as it’s one of the unreleased tracks on Rhythm ’N’ Bluesin’ By The Bayou-Nights Of Sin, Dirty Deals and Love Sick Souls. It’s a welcome and joyous addition to the compilation.

The other two tracks from Classie Ballou, are credited to Classie Ballou and His King Tempo Orchestra. They feature on the 1956 Goldland single Loving Huggin’ Kissin’ My Baby. It closes Rhythm ’N’ Bluesin’ By The Bayou-Nights Of Sin, Dirty Deals and Love Sick Souls. Eddie Shuler and Classie Ballou wrote this joyous, dance-floor friendly love song. Hidden away on the B-Side, was D-I-R-T-Y D-E-A-L, an Eddie Shuler composition. Classie Ballou unleashes another blistering solo, while his orchestra accompany him on this heartbreaking D-I-R-T-Y  D-E-A-L. 

That is the story of Rhythm ’N’ Bluesin’ By The Bayou-Nights Of Sin, Dirty Deals and Love Sick Souls. It was recently released by Ace Records, and is the fourteenth volume in Ian Saddler’s critically acclaimed and commercially successful By The Bayou series. Rhythm ’N’ Bluesin’ By The Bayou-Nights Of Sin, Dirty Deals and Love Sick Souls is also the fifth volume of Louisiana R&B. 

The twenty-eight tracks on Rhythm ’N’ Bluesin’ By The Bayou-Nights Of Sin, Dirty Deals and Love Sick Souls are a mixture of familiar faces, rarities, new names, alternate takes and unreleased tracks. Many artists are veterans of the By The Bayou series, and are back by popular demand. Some artists return for an encore on Rhythm ’N’ Bluesin’ By The Bayou-Nights Of Sin, Dirty Deals and Love Sick Souls.

Just like previous volumes of the By The Bayou series, some of the artists on Rhythm ’N’ Bluesin’ By The Bayou-Nights Of Sin, Dirty Deals and Love Sick Souls feature more than once.  Often, their first contribution is so good, that they return for an encore. Lester Robertson features three times; twice as a solo artist and once with a band. Classie Ballou features twice as a solo artist, and twice with his orchestra. This shows different sides to the artists concerned. Similarly, the By The Bayou series shows the different sides to  Louisiana’s rich and illustrious musical heritage.

Over the past fourteen volumes, Ian Saddler’s documented various different genres. This time around, Ian Saddler concentrated on R&B on Rhythm ’N’ Bluesin’ By The Bayou-Nights Of Sin, Dirty Deals and Love Sick Souls. It’s the latest instalment in the lovingly compiled By The Bayou series. Still, there’s not let up in the quality. 

That takes some doing. Often the well will have run dry way before volume fourteen. However, Ian Saddler knows where to find rarities, hidden gems and unreleased tracks that ooze quality. They’re his secret weapons in the By The Bayou series, which is without doubt, Ace Records’ longest running and most successful series. It’s the compilation series that looks as if it will run and run. Especially if Ian Saddler continues to compile compilations as good as Rhythm ’N’ Bluesin’ By The Bayou-Nights Of Sin, Dirty Deals and Love Sick Souls, which is a welcome addition to Ace Records’ jewel in the crown, the By The Bayou series.

RHYTHM ’N’ BLUESIN’ BY THE BAYOU-NIGHTS OF SIN, DIRTY DEALS AND LOVE SICK SOULS.

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