A celebration of the exceptional music that can occur in the most out of the way places.
South-West Louisiana is rightly famous for its homegrown music: the Cajun sound and its black cousin Zydeco. However, situated between New Orleans and Houston, the region’s music industry was ideally placed to also record local versions of soul, country, funk, blues and pop. This compilation comprises high-quality southern soul which, due to where it was recorded, tends to have been previously overlooked.
The music here spans the early 60s, with artists such as Sticks Herman performing the local version of proto-soul, and the early 1970s, when the influence of Memphis soul could be heard in the voices of Johnny Truitt and Moody Scott. The existence of these recordings is down to record men such as Eddie Shuler, Carol Rachou and J.D. Miller capturing the local talent and touring musicians as they passed through their studios.
Shuler’s ANLA label is the main source, although the artist names are often hardly more than markers, with little known about some beyond the records they made. Terrie & Joy La Roy, Soul Shouting Tommy and Big Daddy Green, for example, all released thrilling singles, then disappeared back into obscurity. Others such as Camille “Lil” Bob carved out careers that lasted decades, whilst Bobby Charles moved from his pop hit ‘Later Alligator’ to Bearsville cult status via ‘Big Boys Cry’, a fine piece of emotional mid-60s soul. Clifton White and Chester Randle were successful band leaders, but only within the local area, and Rockin’ Sidney worked for years as a blues singer before reinventing himself as the internationally renowned face of Zydeco.
These recordings have an edge that suggests they were made outside of Southern Soul’s major recording centres, yet are instantly recognisable as soul music of the era. It is a pleasure to be able to unearth these sounds and present them to a new audience.