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Cajun / Tex-Mex / Zydeco

Result of your query: 34 products

Balfa Brothers - Balfa Brothers Play Traditional Cajun Music
Some projects take on a happy life of their own, and this is one of them. In the summer I was approached to supervise the revamp of the old Balfa Brothers’ 2 LPs-on-1 CD, released in the early days of CD production in 1990. Specifically, I was asked if Louisiana musician and author Ann Savoy would be available to write a new essay.

If she was able to take on the task, she would be the perfect choice. After all, she had known and played with the Balfas and had written up their story in her acclaimed book, Cajun Music: A Reflection of a People. Yet I knew she was embarking on a UK tour as a member of the Savoy Family Band, with husband Marc and sons Joel and Wilson. Would she have the time? Not only did she accept the commission with charm and alacrity, but she met her deadline with ease.

Now even more light is shed on the Balfas’ fascinating story, as fully documented in the booklet (with great photos, label shots, LP reproductions and Cajun French-English lyric translations). The mastering, of course, has also been updated and upgraded.

What made the original LPs so important is that they marked a return in the 1960s and 1970s to traditional Cajun music, which had been left behind by the Cajun honky-tonk sound, itself on life support. The back story here is that leader and virtuoso fiddler Dewey Balfa convinced Swallow Records boss, Floyd Soileau, to record the brothers when Floyd was reminded that Dewey had recorded an in-demand but long unavailable Cajun song, ‘La Valse De Bon Baurche’, for Khoury’s Records way back in 1951. It came out on Swallow in 1965 as ‘Drunkard’s Sorrow Waltz’, the Balfas’ first single.

The 1965 and 1974 Swallow albums ensued and are presented here with two rare 45s from 1977 and 1980. The latter single features all-time-great accordion player Nathan Abshire, with whom Dewey recorded and played for many years.

How did Ann Savoy first encounter Dewey? And what are her thoughts on the Swallow LPs? Let her explain: “I met Dewey Balfa before I heard his music. He came into Savoy Music Center [outside Eunice] looking very French and elegant in a fedora and black sunglasses. He was just stopping by for a cup of coffee and a visit but I was so impressed by him, his beautiful French, his character. He and Marc were close friends and so we often cooked suppers together and played music in the yards of our houses.

“I heard his LPs later and immediately fell in love with them. After spending many evenings in Cajun honky-tonks the acoustic feeling of the Balfa Brothers music was refreshing. In these recordings without amplification I could hear the natural resonance of the instruments and the subtleties in the vocals. They also played songs not heard in the dance halls: haunting, sad songs. These LPs were jewels, and I was very touched by them.

“I travelled all over the United States and France with Dewey and Rodney when Marc was playing accordion and twin fiddle with them. These were exhilarating times; great fun and full of camaraderie. And of course the music was brilliant. We also went through tragedies with Dewey: the deaths of brothers Rodney and Will, and Dewey’s wife Hilda. But he always bounced back, full of energy and fun until his own illness at the end of his life.

“It is amazing to see these great LPs reissued on Ace Records in England. This music is so timeless, and bringing it out again on CDs makes it available to a whole new generation of Cajun fans and musicians. The Balfa Brothers’ music will never grow old because it is classic quality, speaking stories that resonate with all people as long as there are humans on the earth.”

I think you can understand what I mean about this being a special project.

By John Broven and Ann Savoy (Ace Records)
Ace Records 2011 CD 18.00 €
Blazers - Puro Blazers
Rounder 2000 CD 13.00 €
Bradley Jaye Williams - Tex-Mex Gumbo
tex mex artisti austinista, texasista
Lazy SOB 1999 CD 17.00 €
Buckwheat Zydeco - The Best Of Louisiana Zydeco
Avi Records 1996 CD 17.00 €
Clifton Chenier - King Of Zydeco

The late great King of Zydeco, proving that even in the 80s the black sound of Louisiana was alive and kicking.

Zydeco is a mix of Cajun swamp music and blues and Clifton Chenier was without doubt the leading exponent of the style throughout the 62 years of his life. He first cut a record in 1954 for the Elko label, going on to Specialty, where he had his biggest R&B with "Ay-Tete-Fee" and cutting sides for Argo, Checker and Zynn, before embarking on a 21 year recording stint with Chris Strachwitz and his superb Arhoolie label. Despite suffering from various ailments during the Iast years of his life, he continued to appear live and make records, including these sides, cut for Swallow Records 3 years before his death. He left behind the finest legacy of Zydeco music and a vast body of work that still sounds fresh today (Ace Records).
Ace Records 1988 CD 17.00 €
Clifton Chenier - Zodico Blues And Boogie
You say Zodico I say Zydeco, whichever way you say it, Clifton Chenier was the undisputed King & these 1955 Specialty sides go a long way to proving it.

To this day, Clifton Chenier is probably the best known name in zydeco music. Much of this recognition was fuelled by Clifton being championed as the first major star after the rediscovery of the music in the early '60s (perhaps discovery would be a better word as most American and European listeners had never heard sounds like these before). Chris Strachwitz of Arhoolie Records began issuing albums by Clifton in 1964 and it was his involvement that led to around a dozen new albums of Chenier being recorded plus a wealth of reissued cajun and zydeco archive material (dating from the 1920s through to the '50s) making it to microgroove. Clifton played festivals, his material was licensed to labels like Blue Thumb (Harvest in England) and he appeared in the Les Blank documentary Hot Pepper. Health problems beset him in the 70s and, following an operation to amputate his foot, he died on 12 December 1987. His distinctive blend of zydeco accordion tradition, Louisiana swamp blues rhythms and the latest (often Excello label) R&B hits made his zydeco brand of blues and boogie a potent brew and an influence on many that followed after him. Go to a gig by either Queen Ida or Rockin' Dopsie, for instance, and you are hearing Clifton's legacy writ large. Long before his 1964 (re)discovery, however, Clifton, then a regional performer of note, had cut sessions for Specialty. Three singles were released, Ay-Te Te Fee b/w Boppin The Rock, being a particular best seller and getting Clifton booked into a large R&B package show which included Etta James, Lowell Fulsom and Jimmy Reed. Most of the Specialty material remained on the shelf until 1971, when the Bayou Blues album appeared. For Zodico Blues & Boogie, Ray Topping has dug deep into the Specialty vaults and come up with not only a fuller appraisal of the artist's work for the label, but one more truthful to the sounds going down in the studio at the time. Many of the issued titles, including those on Bayou Blues had been doctored technologically by overdubbing and splicing intercuts. Zodico Blues & Boogie presents these sides for the first time without the sweeteners. Diamonds in the rough, as they were heard back in 1955.

(Ace Records)
Ace Records 1992 CD 18.00 €
Dagousket Ramblers - Sauce Piquante - One Drop Does It !
great traditional Cajun & Hillbilly from France. Their latest album. Nice digipac sleeve too.
Red Barn Record 2009 CD 15.00 €
Elvis Presley - The Collection 7CD
7 classic Elvis albums. Over 100 tracks
Sony BMG 2009 CD-Box 28.00 €
Freddy Fender - King Of Tex Mex
15 biisiä - 75 min. Live Riverside Casino, Laughlin, Nevada 10.10.2003 + bonus audio CD
Immortal 2003 DVD 19.00 €
Freddy Fender - Wasted Days And Wasted Nights
76 minutes
All Stars 2006 DVD 9.00 €
George Tomsco - Tex-Mex Fireball
Two years before the Shadows hit the UK charts with Apache the Fireballs were being auditioned by Norman Petty to record in his legendary studio in Clovis, New Mexico. Whilst the Shadows dominated the UK instrumental scene, Hank Marvin's rather crude single-note guitar picking paled in comparison with George Tomsco's complex, fluid and meticulously executed Tex-Mex style. The Shadows covered several of George's compositions and would be the first to acknowledge George and the Fireballs' influence. The Fireballs, and later the Ventures, can also be credited with influencing a deluge of surf bands in the early 60s.

Although George never learnt to read music, he nevertheless became an accomplished session musician for Norman Petty, who relied on him and the Fireballs for most of the post-Buddy Holly recordings in Clovis. Having established a close knowledge of George's style in assembling our Fireballs' releases, I was intrigued to hear his distinctive guitar picking when listening to Oh Little Girl by Jimmy Craig, which turned up amongst a bunch of tapes we had copied for Ray Topping's upcoming CD of early 50s Norman Petty productions. This led to ongoing discussions with George and Jerry MacNeish (who knows more about George than George does!) to find out what other recordings George and the Fireballs were featured on. We all knew about the Buddy Holly overdubs, but what else was there?

Well after months of consultations with George, Jerry, Rob Finnis and finally the world Clovis expert John Ingman, we came up with this fascinating insight into George's work as producer, songwriter and guitarist for other artists. Rob Finnis had just compiled our Chuck Rio CD - TEQUILA MAN (CDCHD 688) and we gave it an extra logo "Great Rock'n' Roll Instrumentalists", so George's CD naturally becomes Volume 2 in that series, with James Burton following at some stage, hopefully.

Apart from George's involvement, this CD also serves as the first legitimate source for many of these hard-to-find Norman Petty productions, which have been bootlegged on vinyl by Petty enthusiasts over the years.

by Trevor Churchill (Ace Records)

Ace Records 1998 CD 18.00 €
Hank Snow - Snow South Of The Border
One of country music's most versatile stylists, Hank Snow was as adapt as Latin American rhythms as he was playing straightforward country music. The Rhumba Boogie clung to 'Billboard's' country chart for six months in 1951, two of them at #1. When the calypso craze swept the country in 1956, Snow effortlessly adapted Jamaican rhythms into his own style. Not surprisingly, one of Snow's biggest-selling albums was 'Spanish Fire Ball,' a 1967 collection of Latin-flavored material. It revisited several numbers Snow recorded earlier along with mostly familiar standards like Nuevo Laredo and Maria Elena. This collection features the best tracks from that album along with memorable recordings from every stage of Snow's lengthy career. Besides two versions of his classic The Rhumba Boogie, it includes Rose Of The Rio from Snow's early Canadian years and hit versions of Spanish Fire Ball and When Mexican Joe Met Jole Blon. As a bonus, this album includes many of Snow's distinctive acoustic guitar instrumentals, including several duets with Chet Atkins.

Quality and creativity – for more than thirty years these basic principles established Bear Family products as something unique and esteemed throughout the world. But what you hear is only part of the complete equasion. Bear Family devotes just as much detail to the graphics. For more than three decades lavishly illustrated books have accompanied our compact disc boxed sets. Today, even our smaller-sized CD releases receive the same eye-catching designs as their larger counterparts. That's why we're honored to be associated with Reinhard Kleist, a renown German artist whose multifaceted creations are celebrated across international circles. Born near Cologne, Kleist graduated from Münster's College Of Higher Education For Graphic And Design. Since moving to Berlin in 1996, he has primarily worked out of his Prenzlauer Berg studio with extended time off for residencies in New York and Cuba. Long fascinated with the darker sides of America and his home country, Kleist has created thematic works like 'Amerika', and 'The Secrets Of Coney Island'. He also worked on 'Narbenstadt ('City Of Scars') – Berlinoir' (a trilogy). Critics and gothic lit fans raved over his optical transfers of H.P. Lovecraft's short stories, 'Das Grauen im Gemäuer' ('The Ruin's Horror'). Kleist also created imaginative graphic novels around popular music icons. His comic biography, 'Elvis,' is a genre highlight. His fascinating 'Cash – I See A Darkness' received three prestigious awards: the Münchner Comic Preis (Munich Comic Award), the Preis der Frankfurter Buchmesse (Frankfort Book Fair award) and the Max-und-Moritz Preis (Max-and-Moritz Award). This exceptional artist has done distinctive cover designs and illustrations for several recent Bear Family CDs, including a Christmas album by country legend Hank Snow; the 'Deep Roots Album' with originals of Johnny Cash songs; 'Shit Happens', a 'bad luck' anthology of ironic songs; and 'Ein Herz aus Stein', the first collection of Rolling Stones covers sung in German. Kleist also designed the cover for Bear Family's boxed set of the famous German political comedy group 'Die Stachelschweine' ('The Porcupines'). And now Kleist has designed striking graphics for four new thematic Hank Snow compilations covering railroads,life on the Western Plains, the enchanting Hawaiian Islands and those exotic locales south of the American border.

Bear Family 2008 CD 18.00 €
Joe Barry - A Fool To Care: Classic Recordings 1960-1977 2CD
t may surprise some readers to learn that many musicians from South Louisiana do not like their music to be categorised as swamp pop (a term coined originally by music writer Bill Millar). For the rest of us, it feels like the perfect way to describe the rolling rhythms and unique vocals that define the great records which came out of the area between the latter 1950s and the mid-60s. Whether he would have liked to be defined by said term or not, Louisiana’s Joe Barry is one of the greatest exponents of the genre, and the recordings that he made between 1959 and 1964 in particular embrace many of its most treasured moments.

Joe only charted nationally a couple of times, his greatest hit being the wonderfully languid revival of hillbilly standard ‘I’m A Fool To Care’, which many thought was the work of Fats Domino until they saw Joe on TV or in photos. But his lengthy career amounted to more than a couple of hit 45s. This new 2CD set, named after Joe’s career record, compiles almost 40 sides from Joe’s first period of recording, plus the dozen tracks cut during his brief comeback of the mid-1970s – almost all of them taped under the supervision of his long-time producer Huey Meaux.

To ensure that “I’m A Fool To Care” would be the definitive collection of Joe’s collaborations with Meaux, Alec Palao and I went back to the producer’s original tapes and re-copied every single one in what turned out to be something of a marathon session inHoustonlast March. Everything here is mastered from those new transfers, with the exception of two Sho-Biz sides, which had to be transferred from a 45 as no tape seems to have survived. Alec was also able to mix a few of the tracks (some previously unreleased) into true stereo for the first time, from a handful of surviving Cosimo’s multi-tracks.

We have not repeated the mistakes of some previous compilations, which included tracks not sung by Joe. Although there have been previous anthologies of his work released during the last 15 years, we guarantee than none of them will offer anything like the level of audio excellence this one does.

With an extensive essay based around an interview conducted by John Broven in the late 70s, and a booklet that contains lots or rare images and label shots of almost every 45 featured on the collection, this 2CD set will be the perfect way to remember this beloved exponent of South Louisiana R&B … or swamp pop, if you don’t happen to be from down that way.

By Tony Rounce (Ace Records
Ace Records 2012 CD 28.00 €
Johnnie Allan - Louisiana Man
Stompertime Records 2012 CD 17.00 €
Jose Feliciano - Jose Feliciano
18 biisiä
Going For A Song CD 8.00 €
Link Davis - Big Mamou
The complete OKeh/Columbia and Starday recordings of this classic Texas singer collected together for the first time, most from the original master tapes. Includes the version of 'Big Mamou' that became a country-Cajun standard. Comes with four unissued OKeh sides, and two alternate takes from Starday masters. Contains a newly researched biography of Link Davis by Andrew Brown, with rare unpublished photos from the Davis family. - Link Davis began in the Fifties as a forward-looking white R&B singer and saxophonist, recording a storming version of 'Good Rockin' Tonight' five years before Elvis Presley's supposedly ground-breaking attempt at the same song. Davis then morphed into a Cajun fiddler, scoring a big regional hit with the ancient-sounding waltz 'Big Mamou', which helped introduce America to Cajun music. By mid-decade, when rock 'n' roll came along and forced most of his country music friends into early retirement, Link instead re-emerged as a born-again rocker, cutting some of his most memorable records.
Bear Family 2009 CD 18.00 €
Link Davis - Gumbo Ya-Ya - The Best Of 1948-1958
30 tracks
Rev-Ola 2008 CD 18.00 €
Los Lobos - Tin Can Trust
Proper 2010 CD 18.00 €
Los Texmaniacs - About Time
Combine a hefty helping of Tex Mex conjunto, simmer with several
parts Texas rock, add a daring dash of well-cured blues and R&B riffs,
and you’ve cooked up the tasty TexManiacs groove. Not to say that
this group’s sound is for musical gourmets only…no way or, better yet,
eso no! These guys – Max Baca on bajo sexto, Speedy Villanueva on
bass and David Farias on accordion – feed the masses, but with only
the best in musical fare.
Founded by Max Baca, the TexManiacs are a product of his wideranging
experience working and recording with everyone from his
father’s family conjunto to Doug Sahm’s Texas Tornados to the Rolling
Stones. Despite his youth, Max is a legend on the bajo sexto, a twelve
string guitar-like instrument, which customarily provides rhythm
accompaniment for the button accordion, thus creating the core of the
conjunto sound.
On the bajo, Max does all that and way, way more, using the
instrument to push the TexManiacs sound to another level of vibrancy
altogether. His many sojourns as a sideman has resulted in an
impressive international touring schedule, many national television
appearances and plenty of awards, including participation in three
albums receiving Grammys.
Israel Villanueva (aka Speedy Vee) was born in Snyder,Texas, a small
town in West Texas, where he cut his teeth.playing bass guitar with
his dad's conjunto band. After a move to Houston, he became a
founding member of the legendary Tejano band, La Mafia. A veteran of
the conjunto and Tejano scene, Speedy is nonetheless a lifelong fan
and purveyor of bass-heavy classic rock and brings that big booming
sound to the TexManiacs.
At the age of eight David Farias began playing in a band with his
brothers. By the time he was thirteen years old, he was fronting the
band as accordion player and lead singer. Over the course of 34 years,
the group morphed from Los Hermanos Farias to La Tropa F, signaling
the change from a downhome family band to a high-fueled and highly
popular (though still family-based) Tejano act. Over the years, La
Tropa F recorded with Wea-Latina, Emi-Latin, Fonovisa, Hacienda
Records and Freddy-Records. For the last fifteen years the group has
been a favorite of award shows and programs and most recently David
was nominated for a Latin Grammy in 2004 and 2005.
Like a great salsa. this threesome mixes the simplest yet finest
ingredients of Texas music to create a sound solidly rooted in tradition
but exploding with contemporary vitality. Their first CD, A Tex Mex
Groove, contains a wide sampling but a unity of musical focus that is
characteristic of the group. It also hosts a legendary line-up of guest
artists, such as Flaco Jimenez, Augie Meyers, Ruben Ramos and
members of Los Lobos, who share the TexaManiac take. So don’t just
stay for supper, stick around for dessert.
Maniax Records 2007 CD 18.00 €
Nathan Abshire - Master Of The Cajun Accordion
After some 20 years, Ace Records’ Nathan Abshire 2 LPs-on-1 CD has been totally revamped by John Broven. With stunning new mastering, the track sequencing better reflects the recording chronology in the distinct periods with the Pine Grove Boys and then the Balfa Brothers, with the addition of ‘French Blues’ to complete the Swallow output. The now-sumptuous booklet features an essay by Lyle Ferbrache based on his original research with members and families of Abshire’s Pine Grove Boys; a comprehensive song analysis with sterling contributions from Ann Savoy and Neal Pomea; a first-ever attempt at a discography with personnel; many vintage photographs; and LP and label scans. The end result is one of the most listenable and enjoyable Cajun CD releases ever, by one of the music’s most revered musicians.

Lyle Ferbrache on his landmark research on Nathan Abshire’s Pine Grove Boys:

During my first visit to Louisiana in 1987, the Tower record store in New Orleans had just opened and I bought a handful of Swallow 45s. The one that stood out was Nathan Abshire and his Pine Grove Boys performing ‘Offshore Blues’ with Thomas Langley vocalising. I liked the record so much I bought 10 copies from Floyd’s record shop in Ville Platte and gave them to friends. Who was this band? In the period that followed I bought various artists Cajun LPs and was always frustrated by the lack of comprehensive liner notes – this was in the pre-Internet days.

By this time Cajun music had really gotten a hold on me. I was so fascinated by the sound of the music I sold my near-complete collection of Excello records and went on a Cajun buying spree. I started going to Louisiana more often and soon tracked down the only surviving member of the original band, Ernest Thibodeaux, along with Bernella Frugé, wife of the band’s first steel guitarist, Atlas Frugé. With their help I was able to piece together the early history of the band … but there was nothing on Thomas Langley. The more musicians I met, the more convinced I was that I had made the right decision to concentrate on Cajun music.

My quest to research the poorly documented recording information on Nathan Abshire and his Pine Grove Boys led me to publish the magazine Louisiana Music with Andrew Brown in 2010. For the first time, accurate recording and personnel information had been accounted for. But the story only took in the band’s early years at O.T., Hot Rod and Khoury’s from 1949 through 1958. My next mission was to do the same research for the Kajun and Swallow recordings of the 1960s and 70s. My big break came when I obtained the phone number of Helen Langley, Thomas’ wife. I was saddened to learn that I was a little too late; Thomas had died a few months before. Fortunately, Helen was a big fan of the Pine Grove Boys and had most of the important information I needed to complete the band’s history. Over the years of doing interviews with her I was able to understand the band and its members, from their time recording for J.D. Miller’s Kajun label in Crowley to their final recordings at Swallow Records with Floyd Soileau in Ville Platte.

I am very proud of Ace for taking on this historically important project and giving it the respect it deserves.
Ace Records 2013 CD 18.00 €
Nathan Abshire - Pine Grove Blues / The Good Times Are Killing Me
The legendary accordionist's 2 Swallow albums back to back. Heartfelt vocals and virtuoso playing from one of the cajun greats.
Featuring the Balfa Brothers
Ace Records 1991 CD 17.00 €
Rachelle Garniez & The Fortunate Few - Serenade City
Real Cool Records 1997 CD 17.00 €
Rockin' Sidney - My Toot Toot
25 tracks
Ace Records 1993 CD 18.00 €
Sir Douglas Quintet - The Mono Singles 1968-1972

Texas-bred singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Doug Sahm was one of the most important musicians ever to emerge from the Lone Star state, and an inspiration to multiple generations of roots-conscious rock ’n’ rollers. Sahm did much of his most beloved work as leader of the seminal Sir Douglas Quintet, the audaciously eclectic band that first burst onto the national scene in 1965. With trusty sidekick Augie Meyers providing distinctive support on the Vox organ, the Quintet delivered an infectious, eclectic mix that encompassed Tex-Mex border pop, raw garage-rock, hipster honky-tonk, horn-driven R&B and more.

The Sir Douglas Quintet’s most productive and influential period was its late-’60s/early-’70s stint with Mercury Records and its sister labels Smash and Philips. That period saw the SDQ relocate from Texas to San Francisco and record some of their most enduring and adventurous music. And that music never sounded better than on the mono mixes that graced the singles that the band released during that period, which are collected on this deluxe set.

The Mono Singles’ 22 songs include the band’s 1969 signature smash “Mendocino,” along with such Sahm standards as “At the Crossroads,” “Dynamite Woman,” “Nuevo Laredo,” “Texas Me,” “And It Didn’t Even Bring Me Down,” “Michoacan” and his heartfelt rendition of Freddy Fender’s “Wasted Days, Wasted Nights,” plus a selection of rare non-album B-sides. The collection also features Sahm’s historic Nashville recording “Be Real,” which he released under the pseudonym “Wayne Douglas” in an attempt to break into the conservative mainstream country market.

This unique collection has been sourced from the original analog mono masters. This compact disc comes with extensive liner notes and lavish artwork. With these classic tracks now on compact disc, Doug Sahm’s rootsy rock ’n’ roll spirit shines brighter than ever!
Sundazed Music 2011 CD 20.00 €
Texas Tornados - Esta Bueno !
A classic example of the whole being greater than the sum of its parts, the GRAMMY® winning Blind Boys of Alabama came together in the early `90s with Doug Sahm, Freddy Fender, Flaco Jiménez and Augie Meyers. Over a decade after Sahm's death and with the more recent passing of Fender, Sahm's son Shawn stepped up to the plate to preserve and re-ignite the group's legacy as producer of this brand new release. He personally witnessed the Tornados at each point in their career and asserts: "They made their historical impact by playing a little of everything and not being afraid to cross the barriers in musical culture."

Augie Meyers and Flaco Jimenez reunite with the late Doug Sahm s son, Shawn Sahm, in a new recording that includes five previously unreleased vocal performances from the late Grammy® award winner Freddy Fender. The collection includes new songs written by Fender, such as the swamp pop ballad If I Could Only, an instant new Tornados-style classic written by Doug and Shawn Sahm, Who's to Blame, Senorita, and several Augie Meyers songs recorded for the first time by the Tornados, such as the spunky Velma from Selma and melodic My Sugar Blue.
Proper 2010 CD 20.00 €
VA: - Boppin' By The Bayou
The Cajun people of the plains and swamps of South Louisiana are steeped in music with a raw edge. Prior to World War II the music of the bayous was Cajun; the only real changes were the shift from accordion to fiddle as the lead instrument. The war changed all that. The thousands of Cajun men who served, many of them musicians, were exposed to other music forms; the influences – most notably blues and rhythm, as it was then called, and hillbilly – crept into their songs.

As the 1940s progressed into the 50s, small independent record companies sprang up to record this rural music, which was largely being ignored by major labels. Local radio stations started to play it and the jukebox became a major entertainment in bars and diners where the owner couldn’t afford a live band, or just between sets.

The most prominent of these new record companies were Goldband and Folk-Star founded by Eddie Shuler, and the Fais-Do-Do and Feature banners of J.D. Miller. These were joined by the Khoury’s and Lyric labels of George Khoury. They all started out as vehicles for Cajun and hillbilly music but soon added blues and R&B artists to their rosters.

Dance music had always been the backbone of the Cajun way of life. As traditional bands added heavier rhythms, string basses and drums, their tunes became all the more exciting. South Louisiana – and particularly its youth – like the rest of America, was ready to take the next step.

The catalyst was Elvis Presley. When he stepped in front of the microphone at Radio KWKH for his first Louisiana Hayride broadcast on 16 October 1954, a torch was lit in the hearts of young Cajuns, as it was in the primarily working class youth across the rest of the USA.

Rock’n’roll had arrived and all of the artists on this CD would play a part, revelling in it and giving it a distinctive sound – the sound of the bayous.

The first record companies were quick to add these new artists to their rosters and were soon joined by Jin/Swallow (founded by Floyd Soileau), Hammond (Luke Thompson), Carl (Jake Graffagnino), Hilton (Hilton McCrory) and a plethora of smaller outfits and one-shot deals.

The music produced – whether categorised as rockabilly, swamp pop or Cajun bop – has an added element in coming from this area. Rock’n’roll was already an amalgam of earlier styles; the Louisiana melting pot added its own spice to the gumbo.

This CD is the first in the “Boppin’ By The Bayou” series which will focus on these music forms. The concept has been given added depth by a deal struck with the family of the late J.D. Miller, which allows us to include previously unreleased material. Plus, with new technology, we’ll be reinvigorating tracks discovered by the sterling work of Bruce Bastin and Flyright some 35 years ago. There will also be a “Bluesin’ By The Bayou” series featuring jump blues and R&B.

By Ian Saddler (Ace Records)
Ace Records 2012 CD 18.00 €
VA: - Early Jin Singles: Southland Rock'n'Roll
south louisiana & east texas R&R + swamp pop.
Ace Records 2003 CD 18.00 €
VA: - Floyd's Early Cajun Singles
Swallow Records, still run by the personable Floyd Soileau and based in Ville Platte, Louisiana, is the most important and prolific Cajun record label of all. In the 1980s, Ace Records was the first UK label to delve deeply into the Swallow Records catalogue and so bring Cajun music to the masses.

With Floyd's Early Cajun Singles we go to the very beginning of Floyd Soileau's career as a record man. Starting out as a teenage disc jockey with Radio KVPI, Ville Platte, he began selling records as a sideline in 1956 before founding the famous Floyd's Record Shop. Realizing there was a dearth of Cajun product, Floyd released in late 1957 a single on 78 and 45 on Big Mamou Records by accordionist Milton Molitor with Austin Pitre on fiddle. Then Soileau started the Vee-Pee label (named after the initials of his home town) with accordion stars Lawrence Walker and Aldus Roger.

In 1958 Floyd formed the Jin and Swallow labels with no clear musical divisions. After scoring big regional hits by Rod Bernard and Jivin' Gene on Jin, Floyd earmarked Jin exclusively for his popular singles, with Swallow being strictly Cajun music. In this late 1950s period, Cajun artists were absorbing the 'honky tonk' country influence, with the fiddle and steel guitar prominent alongside the imperious accordion. The music here is of joyous two-steps and poignant waltzes in an age when the local dance hall was still the fulcrum of Cajun society.
Our CD booklet features colourful reminiscences from Floyd Soileau and rare photographs from the Johnnie Allan collection.

Needless to say, the original 45s and 78s are gold-plated, impossible-to-find collectors' items. But this is not just a CD release for record collectors and music historians, it should also appeal to lovers of any downhome music and the throng of Cajun dancers. Most of all, it is a terrific tribute to Floyd Soileau who helped to preserve this music at a time when few others cared. Another first for Ace!

By John Broven (Ace Records)

Ace Records 1999 CD 17.00 €
VA: - Great British Skiffle Vol. 3 2CD
Smith & Co 2009 CD 12.00 €
VA: - Lache Pas La Patate - Jimmy C Newman Sings Cajun
by John Broven (Ace Records)

Derived from a Cajun colloquialism meaning "Don't drop the potato" or "Hang on in there!", Lache Pas La Patate was a big 1974 hit for Jimmy C Newman in Louisiana and Canada. This is the first time this important Cajun record has been reissued, and for good measure we have the original recording in Cajun French and the subsequent hit version in English. If any one record triggered the current prosperity in Cajun music, this is it.

The hit also sparked a revival in Jimmy C Newman's own career. During the 50s and the 60s he was one of the mainstays of the Nashville music scene, racking up more than 30 country hits for Dot, MGM and Decca and having a big pop hit with A Fallen Star on Dot in 1957. Only rarely did his Cajun music roots surface during this period. Such benign neglect was well and truly remedied with the session for La Louisianne Records of Lafayette which manifested itself as the LP, Jimmy C Newman Sings Cajun. Lache Pas La Patate apart, the album comprised well-loved traditional songs such as Jolie Blonde, Allons A Lafayette and Hippy-Ty-Yo. All 12 LP tracks are included here and feature the fluent fiddle of Jimmy's long-time bandleader Rufus Thibodeaux.

Indeed, the fiddle work throughout this CD is quite outstanding. Rufus Thibodeaux has his own instrumentals, as does the late, great Doc Guidry who also dispenses two vocals. Both men accompany the delightful twin-fiddle style, of an in-form Vin Bruce, still one of the most popular Cajun vocalists in the bayou areas of Southeast Louisiana.

For once there is not an accordion in sight - just beautiful string music in the tradition of Leo Soileau, Happy Fats and Harry Choates. Notewriter Chris Hall (the BBC Radio 2 Cajun presenter and an accordionist himself) welcomes this respite from the squeeze box: Who needs to interrupt the flow with all that pushing and pulling when artists of this calibre are at work! A must for all lovers of Cajun and fiddle music, and the many fans of Jimmy C Newman, let alone the legion of Cajun dancers.
Ace Records 1998 CD 18.00 €
VA: - More Miles Than Money 2CD
More Miles Than Money: Journeys Through American Music is a book I researched and wrote between 2006-2008. In many ways I’d been waiting my entire life to write More Miles. Growing up in Mt Roskill – a working class suburb of Auckland, New Zealand, where there were no music venues, cinemas, pubs, nothing but churches and rugby fields – I took refuge in Mark Twain and Jack Kerouac’s adventures while AM radio (modelled on US radio) spun hits by Freddy Fender, the Amazing Rhythm Aces, Little Feat et al. I dreamed of escaping Auckland’s suburbs to ride Route 66 and Highway 61, ears and eyes open. Eventually I got to live my dream and More Miles is the story of those travels.

I didn’t know it back then but Kiwi radio was often playing music akin to that which Charlie Gillett played on his Honky Tonk radio show in London. Discovering Charlie’s book The Sound Of The City sent me scouring through secondhand bookstores in search of old copies of Cream, Creem and Let It Rock, where the writings of Charlie and other likeminded journalists appeared. I’d go so far as to say that a feature Charlie wrote on the great New Orleans producer-arranger Harold Battiste (Cream #5, Sept 1971) was what initially inspired me to want to search out the largely unsung heroes of American music.

At the same time as reading Charlie Gillett I was buying US imports on a variety of labels, with Arhoolie being my favourite. Mexican culture fascinated me, especially that which arose from the borderlands, the Tex-Mex/Tejano music. (Blame this on my dad taking me to see Sam Peckinpah’s westerns.) Discovering a bin full of Arhoolie Records in a downtown record shop introduced me to a treasure trove of magical Mexican American music and reading about Arhoolie founder Chris Strachwitz’s efforts to record the finest American vernacular music provided even more inspiration. Later on, Canyon Records would open my ears to how Native American culture celebrated its survival. Around the same time an uncle who loved jazz gave me Curtis Mayfield’s “Superfly” album – he found it too funky for his tastes. Talk about life-changing records: to this day Curtis remains my favourite US soul singer.

I dedicated More Miles Than Money to Charlie, Chris and the indomitable spirit of Curtis Mayfield. Tragically, Charlie died earlier this year. He, like Curtis, lives on as an indomitable spirit and continues to inspire me. This compilation is, again, dedicated to Charlie, Chris and Curtis: the three Cs who helped me hear America.

More Miles Than Money reflects on an America that made the mightiest music of the 20th Century. This compilation aims then to salute those who inspired me to ride US highways and document those I encountered as I wandered through honky-tonks, juke joints and barrios. Enjoy!

By Garth Cartwright (Ace Records)
Ace Records 2010 CD 20.00 €
VA: - Songs To Howl At The Moon By
Original Children's Music. Performed by Jon Dee Graham Bob Schneider Steve Poltz Matt the Electrician Scrappy Jud Newcomb Billy Harvey
Freedom Records 2006 CD 15.00 €
Vin Bruce - Dans La Louisianne - King Of Cajun Music
1-CD DigiPac (4-plated) with 36-page booklet, 20 tracks. Playing time approx. 54 minutes. -- Long overdue set of Cajun icon Vin Bruce's very first recordings for Columbia Records spotlights a fascinating time and place in the development, popularity and rise of Cajun music and its inevitable collision with country and western at its mid-century apex. Hank Williams was so endeared to Bruce's music that he invited him to play his public wedding ceremony at New Orleans' Municipal Auditorium. Produced by Don Law, Vin's Columbia sides represent the first time a Cajun artist was accompanied by Nashville's legendary session players. Among the highlights are Grady Martin multi-tasking on guitar, mandolin and fiddle, Owen Bradley on piano, Chet Atkins and Jack Shook and Tommy Jackson on guitars, and other leading lights of the early Nashville era. For the first time ever, these groundbreaking sides are brought together with flawless sound quality, including four never-before-released tracks. Highlights include the hit 'Dans la Louisianne', the plaintive hillbilly blues 'My Mama Said', songs from the pens of Bruce, Atkins, Felice and Boudleaux Bryant and Autry Inman, and the unreleased Cajun bopper 'Le d‚lece', featuring Chet Atkins' stellar proto-rockabilly guitar picking. -- Often called 'The King Of Cajun Music,' Vin Bruce is a South Louisiana treasure of unparalleled significance. His signing to Columbia Records in the early fifties was positively historical in more ways than one. The first Cajun artist to be marketed to the widespread record buying public by a major record company, his first single, 'Dans la Louisianne b/w Fille de la ville', was sung purely in French, but, like Harry Choates' 'Jole Blon' before it, that didn't keep it from becoming a country music sensation. Hailing from Bayou Lafourche, below New Orleans, Vin and his peers Leroy Martin, Gene Rodrigue and Dudley Bernard developed their own stripe of Cajun music; an accordion-less string band style that was as much hillbilly as it was French. Vin's Columbia sides brought that sound to the jukeboxes, airwaves and the Grand Ole Opry. Hank Williams was so endeared to Bruce's music that he invited him to play his public wedding ceremony at New Orleans' Municipal Auditorium. The authoritative booklet by Louisiana musicologist Michael Hurtt is the most detailed history of Vin Bruce and the Bayou Lafourche sound yet to be published, bringing together years of research, illuminating interviews and never-before-seen photographs. This set is a revelation for Cajun and country music fans alike.
Bear Family 2011 CD 17.00 €
Warren Storm & The Blues Rockers - Dust My Blues
14 tracks
St George Records 2002 CD 20.00 €
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