The date was 2 May 1979. The location Was Floyd's Record Shop at Ville Platte in Louisiana's prairie country. Floyd was Floyd Soileau, owner of the Jin, Swallow and Maison de Soul record labels. I was in the company of John Broven (compiler of this release) who was researching his book 'South To Louisiana' and who had set up an interview with Floyd. I was there to take photographs for potential use in the book.
Floyd proved to be a southern gentleman who, following the interview, took us to lunch at the local soul food restaurant. Needless to say, a number of purchases were made from the shop before departure, as also occurred on a subsequent visit in 1999. Most were on Floyd's Jin label which predominantly covers swamp pop and South Louisiana rock'n'roll.
Ace released a first volume of this material last year under the title The Early Jin Singles: Southland Rock'n'Roll (CDCHD 878). The period covered was 1958-1961, while this new release is more wide ranging, with the majority of tracks dating from 1961-1967. Jin favourite Johnnie Allan has three tracks including his best-known hit The Promised Land (eventually a million seller largely thanks to Charlie Gillett's support in Europe) and Charlie Rich's Lonely Weekends, while swamp popper Rod Bernard pairs up with zydeco king Clifton Chenier. Rockin' Sidney has three excellent tracks, notably You Ain't Nothin' But Fine that was later recorded by the Fabulous Thunderbirds and Rockpile.
Other well-known names are present: - Tommy McLain with his beautiful rendition of Don Gibson's Sweet Dreams which hit number 15 in the Hot 100-.-Clint West and the Boogie Kings with blue-eyed soul versions of R&B songs by John Lee Hooker, Jimmy Forrest and James Brown-.-and Rufus Jagneaux with the Cajun rock'n'roll of Opelousas Sostan, one of Jin's best sellers.
Lesser-known artists also provide quality product, including Randy and the Rockets with the stomping instrumental Rockets' Twist-.-Billy Lewis with Growing Old where he uses a Fats Domino-type voice and intonation-.-Ronnie Bennett backed by future rock star Johnny Winter's band on Travelin' Mood-.-Skip Stewart (of the Shondells group) with Jimmy Clanton's swamp pop song Take Her Back, Margo White on a haunting version of Bobby Bland's I'm Not Ashamed-.-and Prentice Thomas with the swamp, rock of Creedence Clearwater Revival's Bad Moon Rising.
I met Floyd on two other occasions - at a party thrown for a visiting group of Brits during the Falklands crisis in 1982, and seven years later at the New Orleans Jazzfest in front of the stage where Johnnie Allan was performing. Floyd was always appreciative of the European support for his labels. Ever co-operative, he has provided note-writer Jeff Hannusch with some interesting titbits of information on the tracks here. The Later Jin Singles (with three non-45 bonus tracks) stands proudly as the latest album in a line started by Charlie Gillett with his trend-setting Oval release Another Saturday Night" back in 1974 (an expanded version of which is still available on Ace CDCH 288).
Swamp pop has retained a level of popularity in Britain over the years, a major milestone being the Another Louisiana Saturday Night gig at The Grand Theatre, Clapham, London, on 18 September 1993. The Louisiana artists brought over by promoter Dave Webb for that one memorable performance were swamp pop stars Johnnie Allan, Warren Storm, Tommy McLain, and Harry Simoneaux (on sax), plus swamp bluesman Jimmy Anderson, and Cajun artists D L Menard, Eddie LeJeune and Belton Richard.
Encouragingly, some wonderful swamp pop music is still being produced and recorded in Louisiana and Texas to this day, not only by the old hands, but also by the younger generations. The good times just keep rolling on and the release of this new CD provides yet another productive trip into the history of "The Promised Land"
by Paul Harris"