Various Artists - This Is Louisiana CD
Performers include: Johnnie Allan, Frankie Ford, Nathan Abshire, Jimmy C. Newman, Dewey Balfa, Rockin' Sydney, Shirley Bergeron, The Balfa Brothers, Danny James.
Contains 18 tracks.
Liner Note Author: Jeff Hannusch.
Arrangers: Dewey Balfa; Jimmy C. Newman.
For someone who likes Louisiana music but isn't a collector, and wants to start exploring some of the back roads with some familiar guideposts along the way, this 18-song collection of Louisiana-made records is a good sampler or introductory vehicle. Spanning the late '50s to the late 20th century, it might be subtitled "Swamp Pop and Cajun from Bayou Country," but actually its range is a little broader. It also has some early New Orleans rock & roll from Frankie Ford and Huey "Piano" Smith, whose "Sea Cruise" and "Don't You Just Know It" were big hits. These, and possibly Rockin' Sidney's "My Toot Toot," are the only cuts that are likely to be known to most non-specialist listeners. You also get swamp pop by Johnnie Allan; down and dirty swamp pop on Danny James' "Boogie in the Mud"; Cajun music by Nathan Abshire, Shirley Bergeron, Cookie & the Cupcakes, and Cleveland Crochet (whose "Sugar Bee" actually made the Top Hundred); zydeco on Rockin' Sidney's "My Toot Toot"; and early soul by Tammi Lynn. Certainly the selection is idiosyncratic; no one would deny that "Sea Cruise" and "My Toot Toot" are classics of their styles, but Danny White's classy early-'60s bluesy ballad "Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye," or Rod Bernard's not-too-amusing British Invasion satire "Recorded in England," are more the sorts of obscurities that will be valued by serious collectors. Take this as an interesting quilt of well-remembered and relatively unremembered items, though, and it's a pretty good representation of some distinctively Louisiana-bred styles. ~ Richie Unterberger
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