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RHYTHM ‘N BLUESIN’ BY THE BAYOU - MAD DOGS, SWEET DADDIES & PRETTY BABIES

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Ace (CDCHD1422)

Little Victor Katie Webster, Tabby Thomas, Lester Robertson, Guitar Gable, Anna Mae Rogers, ‘Mad Dog’ Sheffield, Carol Fran, Leroy Washington, Lazy Lester, Jimmy Dotson, Clarence Garlow and more...

Yet another in the fabulous ‘By The Bayou’ series, this is the tenth in total, and third to be dedicated to R&B (just for the benefit of late-comers, stragglers, returning prisoners of war and those of us with concentration and memory-loss issues, other volumes in the series variously focus their attention on rock and roll, blues or swamp pop).

Needless to say, as with each and every one of the previous nine volumes, this is an absolute corker, throwing out 28 more examples of rompin’ and stompin’ blasters found among the vaults and archives of independent record labels in south Louisiana. The most notable of these here are J.D. Miller’s Crowley studio, Eddie Schuler’s Goldband, Floyd Soileau’s Rod label, Sam Montel’s Montel and Golen Richard’s Richland imprint.

Quite a number of the tracks herein have never been issued on CD before. And where they have, lesser known alternate takes have been prioritised as and where available. So, if you are familiar with the relatively well-known artists featured (such as Lazy Lester, Clifton Chenier, Clarence Garlow or Leroy Washington), the chances are you won’t already have their offering included here. Even if you do know some of this material from elsewhere, there is so much good stuff going on in this collection it is just so hard to resist or push aside.

So, why fight it? Just settle down and marvel once more at the variety of the Louisianan rhythm and blues sounds on offer, captured for posterity in the ‘golden age’ of the late 1950s and early 1960s.

Personal favourites include the bouncy patterns of I Got Fever (Wicked Fever) by ‘Mad Dog’ Sheffield (actually Charles Sheffield, best known for the anthemic It’s Your Voodoo Working) and When It Rains It Really Pours by Charles Morris (a tremendous version of the classic more closely associated with Billy ‘The Kid’ Emerson). And the infectious rhythms of Jimmy Dotson’s I Need Your Love would be damn fine in its own right even without the stupendous guitar break that keeps me reaching for the repeat button.

I am also more than a little partial to Guitar Jr’s Roll, Roll, Roll, included here but wrongly listed as Ain’t Nothin’ Shakin’ (But The Leaves On The Tree) by Eddie Williams. This is a minor glitch that in no way undermines the enjoyment of another fine collection. Indeed the compiler Ian Saddler himself acknowledges (within the notes to the well-presented full colour booklet) the paucity and sketchiness of documentation and records available to identify and verify some artists and musical contributors. As a consequence, Ian has on occasion had to draw conclusions involving an element of guess work and probability.

So get this, enjoy it like crazy and look out for more releases in the series due out in the near future.

Review Date: March 2015

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