28 authentic R&B blasters – many new to CD, including 11 previously unissued.
Volume 21 of the great musical adventure brings another helping of mid-century rhythm’n’blues from the bayou region of South Louisiana/SE Texas, an area that spreads from New Orleans in the east to Port Arthur in the west. Here are the hot guitars, pounding pianos and honking saxes, spiced here and there with a little accordion or harmonica, all topped off by cool vocals.
This collection stems from the vaults of the most innovative record men of the region – Eddie Shuler, JD Miller, Floyd Soileau, Sam Montel and Huey Meaux. All had a gift for recognising musical talent and letting it flourish. They were able to encourage and cajole the best possible performances from their artists without corrupting their individuality.
Shuler (Lake Charles) and Miller (Crowley) launched their first labels in the mid-40s to produce Cajun music and moved into blues and R&B in the early 50s. Soileau (Ville Platte) and Montel (Baton Rouge) commenced their operations around a decade later, with Soileau also starting out with Cajun, whereas Montel began his company with rock’n’roll and R&B. Meaux (Port Arthur) started out in artist management, primarily with Cajun artists but promptly adding a rock’n’roll roster. He first placed artists with Floyd Soileau’s Jin label, but almost immediately recognised that there was more money to be made owning a label and a publishing company. These then are the men who captured the sounds of a generation.
Of the 28 tracks included here, 11 are either previously unissued or previously unissued alternate takes and the remainder are just plain obscure. Two of the new tracks are by unidentified artists but they are both strong rockers which excited me and I have been looking forward to offering them to fans of the genre. As always, we have a blend of storming rockers, mid-tempo magic and a handful of buckle-polishers, as slower numbers were dubbed in the clubs of the area – together in a collection that will whisk you back in time to the swamps of the deep south where you can lose yourself in the rhythms that engulfed the clubs and bars of the area.