Some 23 years after our “Another Saturday Night” CD, it’s time to put the Tardis into forward thrust and revisit Louisiana– this time in the 21st Century. The music has changed little. If anything it has got even tougher. The treats we have for you on this CD – whether swamp pop, zydecajun or rockabilly – are the sounds heard in clubs, bars or festivals across South Louisianaon a Saturday night to this day. It would be wrong to call this a revival, because these genres have been played right through from the 50s.
The CD had long been in my mind while watching the crowds dancing to the music in the USA’s party state and seeing how much visiting Europeans loved it. The catalyst was a song belting out of the car radio as I drove from Lafayette to Crowley. The number was ‘Maybellene’ by Travis Matte: here was my lead track – the hook on which to hang another 23 wonderful songs.
It was a great day when Travis and Jamie Bergeron, two of the hottest artists in Cajun music, signed up to the project, joining swamp pop superstars Jivin’ Gene and Warren Storm and the lesser-known but equally talented Ken Marvel, Willie Tee and Steve Grisaffe. The final ingredient came when Michael Hurtt – leader of the Haunted Hearts, New Orleans’ premier rockabilly band – was inked.
Jamie Bergeron and his Kicking Cajuns are ever in demand. He performs mainly in English, which will broaden his appeal in Britain, and has been at the forefront of the hybrid zydecajun style, which adds the tough zydeco rhythm to Cajun music. Jivin’ Gene sings in the swamp pop and Louisiana rock’n’roll styles and is well known via his appearances on a variety of Ace CDs, as is the Godfather of swamp pop, Warren Storm.
Travis Matte and the Kingpins are another zydecajun band who draw large crowds wherever they play. Ken Marvel’s swamp pop band have a good following, as does Willie Tee, whilst Steve Grisaffe regularly fronts his own band but also plays bass in other groups. The CD is completed by Michael Hurtt’s pure rockabilly sounds
So here we have 24 dancefloor fillers, all previously unissued in Europe. Crank up your hi-fi and let the music transport you to a bar on a steamy Louisiana night where all around you are smiling faces and gyrating bodies. Everyone knows New Orleans is a party town. It’s less realised Louisianais a party state. Here is a musical illustration.
By Ian Saddler