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VARIOUS ARTISTS

BOPPIN' BY THE BAYOU - MADE IN THE SHADE

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Ace (CDCHD1415)

Gene Dunlap, Gene King & His Mecaton Band, Pee Wee Trahan, Guitar Jeff & The Creoles, Larry Hart, Mickey Gilley, Shelby Martin, Arnold Broussard, Warren Storm, Erwin Babin, and more…

The ninth in the series of ‘By The Bayou’ collections and a return to the rock ‘n roll theme after recent dips into the sounds of blues, rhythm and blues and swamp pop. Not that I mind either way really, each and every release in the series has been a winner and a fine testament to both the substantial volume of excellent music lurking in the vaults of independent record labels in Louisiana of the 1950s and 1960s and, of course, to Ace’s commitment, perseverance and ability to seek out and present this great music to us.

The Law Of Diminishing Returns must inevitably make an unwelcome appearance in the series at some point but thankfully there is no sign of it yet. The 28 sides presented here are well up to the standard we have become accustomed to from previous releases and highlights are reliably plentiful and regular, without a duff track in sight.

The opening track from Gene Dunlap & The Jokers, Made In The Shade, gives this collection its title and much else besides by setting the tone for what is to follow - lots of breezy swagger and carefree assurance over a propulsive and relentless rockabilly beat. Gene King & His Mecation Band add an R&B dimension on T.V. Show while (this being Louisiana, after all) Pee Wee Trahan adds a local feel with the swampy Baby Hurry Home. Further localised colour comes from Vorris ‘Shorty’ LeBlanc with some splendidly ragged Cajun accordion on his version of Kaw-Liga, while Gene Rodrigue beautifully marries Scotty Moore-style rockabilly guitar to a rural hill-country sounding fiddle on the towering Little Cajun Girl.

Not all of the tracks on offer present a distinctive local flavour in keeping with the Louisiana bayou concept. Shelby Martin’s This Kind Of Livin’ sounds like a great lost rockabilly number from Sun Studios in Memphis but it is such a knock-out track that this ain’t a problem to me. The lyrics on this are a treat, as indeed they are on the following, My Baby’s Cheatin’ On Me from Mickey Gilley, a first cousin to Jerry Lee Lewis and it shows!

Perhaps the biggest name among the featured artists here is Warren Storm and he returns us to the distinctive sound of Louisiana by adding some funky New Orleans horns and drums to his version of Clifton Chenier’s Hey Ma Ma, before bringing the set to an atmospheric close with the instrumental jam of Crowley Stomp with The Miller House Band (session musicians employed by J.D Miller).

Another rompin’, stompin’ set just too good to be missed.


 

Review Date: October 2014

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