Sunday, 12 July 2015

"Boppin' By The Bayou: Rock Me, Mama!" By VARIOUS ARTISTS (2015 Ace Records CD Remasters) – A Review by Mark Barry...


"...Havin' A Whole Lotta Fun..."

Volume 11 in an ongoing-series of CD reissues (see list below) and there’s no sign of the Saturday Night Fish Fry letting up – 28 Killer Diller Rhythm 'n' Blues tunes with a Louisiana Rock 'n Roll and Rockabilly twist. Here are the very unladylike details...

UK released June 2015 (July 2015 in the USA) – "Boppin' By The Bayou: Rock Me, Mama!" By VARIOUS ARTISTS on Ace Records CDCHD 1443 (Barcode 029667072229) fleshes out as follows (65:09 minutes):

1. Switch Blade Sam – JEFF DANIELS (1958 USA 7" single on Big Howdy 777, A)
2. Saw My Baby Walkin' – AL "PUDDLER" HARRIS (first released in 1978 on the Various Artists compilation LP "Rockin' Fever" on Flyright FLY LP 540)
3. Gonna Work – RICHARD BROS (1959 USA 7" single on Richland 22, A)
4. Mama Mama Mama Look What Your Little Boy's Done - WARREN STORM (2015 Previously Unreleased Alternate Take to USA 7" single on Nasco 6015)
5. Rockin' Fever – JOE CARL & The Dukes Of Rhythm (1960 USA 7" single on Rocko 519, A)
6. Bad Luck – DANNY (1959 USA 7" single on Big B 557, A)
7. Mickey Lee – TONY PERREAU (first released on the 1983 Various Artists LP "Rock 'n' Roll Beat - South Louisiana Rockers From The 1950's: The Legendary Jay Miller Sessions Volume 35" on Flyright FLY LP 598)
8. Havin’ A Whole Lotta Fun – JOHNNY JANO (first released on the 1977 Johnny Jano LP "King of Louisiana Rockabilly" on Flyright FLY LP 531)
9. Rock Me Mama – KEN LINDSAY (first released on the 1983 Various Artists LP "Rock 'n' Roll Beat - South Louisiana Rockers From The 1950’s: The Legendary Jay Miller Sessions Volume 35" on Flyright FLY LP 598)
10. You Win Again – AL FERRIER (first released on the 1983 Al Ferrier LP "Let's Go Boppin' Tonight: The Legendary Jay Miller Sessions Volume 34" on Flyright FLY LP 597)
11. Come Back Baby – DAYWARD PENNY (1961 USA 7" single on Big Howdy 6102, A)
12. She Left Me – AL FERRIER (first released on the 1983 Al Ferrier LP "Let's Go Boppin' Tonight: The Legendary Jay Miller Sessions Volume 34" on Flyright FLY LP 597)
13. Bayou Boogie – BENNIE FRUGE (2015 Previously Unreleased Alternate Take of a track that first appeared on the 1980 Various Artists LP "Bayou Boogie: The Legendary Jay Miller Sessions Volume 19" on Flyright FLY LP 557)
14. Good Morning Blues – VORRIS SHORTY LeBLANC & All The Sugar Bees, Vocals by Jay Stutes (1962 USA 7" single on Goldband 1156, A)
15. Popcorn Blues – NATHAN ABSHIRE & The Pine Grove Boys (1960 USA 7" single on Kajun 500, A)
16. She's Mine, She's Yours – BENNIE FRUGE (2015, Previously Unreleased)
17. You’re Happy Now – LITTLE CAROL (1959 USA 7" single on Richland 26, B)
18. Hard Luck – BILLY BLANK (1959 USA 7" single on Big B 556, A)
19. Uh-Huh-Huh – JEFF DANIELS (1959 USA 7" single on Big B 555, A)
20. You're Jealous – JIVIN' GENE (1959 USA 7" single on Mercury 71561, A)
21. Take Your Choice – ROCKET MORGAN (2015, Previously Unreleased)
22. Stop, Look And Listen – JOHNNY JANO (first released on the 1977 Johnny Jano LP "King of Louisiana Rockabilly" on Flyright FLY LP 531)
23. Boppin' Blues – ERWIN BABY (first released on the 1980 Various Artists LP Compilation "Boppin' It: The Legendary Jay Miller Sessions Volume 17" on Flyright FLY LP 554)
24. Love Me Baby (Kiss Me Baby) – AL FERRIER (first released on the 1983 Al Ferrier LP "Let's Go Boppin' Tonight: The Legendary Jay Miller Sessions Volume 34" on Flyright FLY LP 597)
25. I'll Be Waiting – JOHNNIE ALLAN & The Krazy Kats (first released on the 1984 compilation LP "Johnnie Allan And The Krazy Kats" on Krazy Kat KK 792)
26. Sweet Little Girl – CHARLES PAGE (1960 USA 7" single on Tic Toc 101, A)
27. On The Corner Of The Street – FRANKIE LOWERY (first released on the 1983 Various Artists LP "Rock 'n' Roll Beat - South Louisiana Rockers From The 1950’s: The Legendary Jay Miller Sessions Volume 35" on Flyright FLY LP 598)
28. Little Girl Next Door – COLLAY & THE SATELLITES (1959 USA 7" single on Show-Biz 1002, A)
NOTES: Tracks 4, 13, 16 and 21 are PREVIOUSLY UNRELEASED

This is the 11th CD in the "By The Bayou" series (numbered on the spine – see full list below) and dips into the rich pickings found in the Jay Miller Sessions (mostly reissued by Flyright Records), the vaults of Eddie Shuler of Louisiana’s Goldband Records and Floyd Soileau of Swallow Records – men who put out literally hundreds of albums and three-times that in 45s. It may be obscure to even die-hards – but I'm shocked actually at the quality of the Rock 'n' Roll, Rockabilly and Cajun on here. This CD is properly exciting on all fronts. Compiled by and annotated by genre lover and expert IAN SADDLER – the 16-page booklet is the usual classy affair from Ace Records – American 45 repros of labels that make collectors itchy in the wallet area – Goldband, Big Howdy Tic Toc, Big B, Richland, Rocko and Sho-Biz. There are posters of Al Harris and his Band at the Golden Rocket Club on Highway 90, which is 2 Miles East of Sulphur (now there’s a band name – 2 Miles East Of Sulphur), snaps of Johnny Jano in front of Tape Machines, a publicity shot of Nathan Abshire & The Pine Grove Boys and so on. The track-by-track info is deep and delicious – featuring contributions from people who were there – Johnnie Allan, Jivin' Gene and Al Ferrier – along with genre experts like Roger Armstrong and Alec Palao

Long-time Ace Engineer NICK ROBBINS has carried out the transfers (ALEC PALAO worked on the Flyright material) and as you can imagine the sources varies wildly – sensational audio one moment – gutbucket the next. But even when the audio is clearly dubbed from a rare 45 or some other ropey source – the sheer musical impact is there. These tracks ROCK – time and time again. And because the emphasis is on dance and bopping - in many cases the odd click and pop only adds to that Fifties magic - echoes and slap bass and people whooping like they’ve been given a day pass to a brewery...

It opens with "Switch Blade Sam" where Jeff Daniels sounds like Eddie Cochran playing guitar with Jerry Lee Lewis on an upright bass and vocals – it’s wonderfully breathless Rock 'n' Roll tapping at the door of Louisiana Rockabilly. We continue on the slap bass tip with "Saw My Baby Walkin'" where the "...oh, oh, oh..." vocal sounds like Smiley Lewis sided by Pete Johnson on boogie-woogie piano while Cochran once again provides acoustic backing (another winner). Saxophone Rock 'n' Roll takes over on "Gonna Work" and we get some studio chatter on "Mama Mama Mama Look What Your Little Boy's Done" where our hero tells his mum he's been out with his girl doing that illicit Rock 'n' Roll thing (not to mention The Stroll). The fun continues for an impressive fifth time on "Rockin' Fever" – more piano Rock 'n' Roll with Saxophone and Piano doing stroll R&B.

"Bad Luck" is clearly dubbed from a disc but I can hear why compiler Ian Saddler put it on here – it’s a big brassy Rock 'n' Roll winner full of echoed vocals and a great hook. "Mickey Lee" assures us that Tony Perreau's girl is a fine, fine woman and ain't no square (thank God for that) while straight up Country Rockabilly comes in the shape of the lively "Havin' A Whole Lotta Fun". "Rock Me Mama" is truly wicked Rockabilly – home-made, crude and full of attitude – but dancing like a drunken sailor home on shoreleave. Hank Williams would approve of "You Win Again" by a rocked-up Al Ferrier (a great version of a classic) while I love the bopping groove of "Come Back Baby" fitted out with great piano and guitar and clear audio (what a winner).

It’s followed by another Cochran-soundalike from Al Ferrier in the shape of the brilliantly infectious piano-boogie of "She Left Me" (probably the best track on here) – this is the kind of great Rockin' tune that will restore the faith. Cajun R&B pops up in the shape of the whinging "You're Happy Now" with a sound that feels someone's back porch – but bopping genius follows with Jeff Daniels' "Uh-Huh-Huh" where our hero sings the praises of a lady with "...big red lips...smackity smack...red pedal pushers and a car out of gas..." The influence of Fat Domino fills "I'll Be Waiting" where Johnnie Allan sings up a storm and it ends on a manic "Little Girl Next Door" where Collay (Allen Callais) took his gal to a movie show but lucked out on the cuddles and kissin' front...

"...Long Tall Sally was sitting on my knee...this went on all night...I'm tellin' you man...they were treatin' me right..." – Jeff Daniels sings on "Switch Blade Sam".

Buy this CD and I suspect you're gonna feel the same...

PS: Titles to July 2015 in the Ace Records "By The Bayou" CD Series are:
1. Boppin' By The Bayou - VARIOUS (Ace CDCHD 1345)
2. Boppin' By The Bayou Again - VARIOUS (Ace CDCHD 1355)
3. Boppin' By The Bayou: More Dynamite - VARIOUS (Ace CDCHD 1380)
4. Boppin' By The Bayou: Made In The Shade - VARIOUS (Ace CDCHD 1415)
5. Boppin' By The Bayou: Rock Me, Mama! - VARIOUS (Ace Records CDCHD 1443)
6. Bluesin' By The Bayou - VARIOUS (Ace CDCHD 1358)
7. Bluesin' By The Bayou: Rough 'n' Tough - VARIOUS (Ace CDCHD 1403)
8. Rhythm 'n' Bluesin' By The Bayou - VARIOUS (Ace CDCHD 1363)
9. Rhythm 'n' Bluesin' By The Bayou: Mad Dogs, Sweet Daddies & Pretty Babies – VARIOUS (Ace CDCHD 1422)
10. Rhythm 'n' Bluesin' By The Bayou: Rompin' & Stompin' - VARIOUS (Ace CDCHD 1388)
11. Swamp Pop By The Bayou - VARIOUS (Ace CDCHD 1397)


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Spines of Exceptional CD Remasters

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