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Ace (CDCHD1363)

Rockin' Sidney, Tabby Thomas, Charles Sheffield, Elizabeth, Billy Tate, Vince Monroe, Blue Charlie, Clarence Garlow, Sidney Simien & His All Stars, Mad Dog Sheffield, Talton Miller, Thaddeus Declouet, CJ Thierry, Big Chenier, Flo, Sonny Martin, Jerry Morris, Chuck Martin and Jimmy Anderson

A companion volume to the recent but already highly popular Boppin' By The Bayou series that features rare rockabilly sides on independent labels of Louisiana since the fifties.

This time the focus is on  up-tempo blues and R&B as recently discovered by dipping into the vaults of labels in and around Louisiana, such as Goldband and those owned by the legendary figure of Jay Miller. Of the 28 tracks included here, 23 are said to be previously un-issued, a ridiculous figure when you consider the unerring quality of what has been found. 

Quite a few of the names on show here will be familiar to anyone who has collected Louisiana blues and R&B over the years but, for some of the artists, compiler Ian Saddler admits in the excellent booklet that he drew a blank when searching our biographical details. His dilemma: get the CD out now and let people hear the great music herein or spend more years of research, maybe fruitlessly and risking the project dying on the vine. 

Thankfully he chose the former option and we now have a CD that is an absolute beaut, full of urgent guitar riffs, blaring saxes, excitable singers and foot-tappin' tunes.

So, right next to the excellent juke blues over-amped guitar-led Honey Bee by Blue Charlie you get the stoming sax and harmonica swamp blues riff of Clarence Garlow's Sound The Bell. Elsewhere, the fluent guitar lead that drives forward Talton Miller's Mean Old Kokomo is followed immediately by a scintillating Cajun accordion on Bull Frog Bop by Thaddeus Declouet. The sheer variety of what is included here is mightily impressive and the unpredictability of what is likely to follow is all part of the fun.

Nowhere is it more fun than on the swamp blues of Clarence Garlow's No No Baby, the chorus of which includes the pay-off line ‘looky here ugly woman, one of us has to go'. And, Pretty Little Dolly by Mad Dog Sheffield is as good a piece of swamp pop as you could hope to find anywhere, never mind on a CD of material that has been left un-issued for fifty years or so.

This series of various ‘...By The Bayou' releases is already shaping to become one of Ace's best-ever collections and, from what we can gather there are plenty more vaults to interrogate and unreleased material to consider. Now this does not sound too bad, does it? 


Review Date: March 2013

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