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Ace (CDCHD1368)


Silas Hogan, Slim Harpo, Lazy Lester, Clifton Chenier, Lightnin' Slim, Jimmy Anderson, Honey Boy Allen, Boozoo Chavis, Lonesome Sundown, Leroy Washington, Talton Miller and more...

The fourth in a tremendous series of ‘By The Bayou' compilations featuring rare and previously unreleased material from the vaults of independent Louisiana record labels.

The previous releases - Boppin' By The Bayou (CDCHD1345), Boppin' By The Bayou Again (CDCHD1355) and Rhythm ‘N Bluesin' By The Bayou (CDCHD1363) - have each been fantastically well received and this for sure is not to going to be any different.

This latest edition takes in newly-discovered recordings from Excello and Goldband, Ace having turned up loads of awesome Louisiana swamp blues sides from the big names such as Lightnin' Slim, Slim Harpo, Lazy Lester and Lonesome Sundown alongside a load of little-knowns and total unknowns. And of the 28 amazing tracks here most are said to be previously unreleased on CD!

The CD gets off to a right rollicking start with an alternate take of Just Give Me A Chance by one of my favourite swamp bluesmen, Silas Hogan. After this it just does not let up. I was particularly pleased to find Jimmy Dotson's Oh Baby included, a track I've loved for years after finding it hidden on an old Flyright vinyl LP but never discovered on CD. Until now. It has a wonderfully infectious rhythm and a guitar break  to die for.

Completely new to me Is Blues Boy Dorsey and his seductive Walkin' Out My Door, and Jimmy Anderson's I Want You, I Need You demonstrates the strong influence of Jimmy Reed on swamp blues styles. And this being Louisiana, it is inevitable that extra local flavour will be added by the inclusion here and there of an accordion, as heard on Clifton Chenier's raggedly lovely Worried Life Blues, Forty-One Days by Boozoo Chavis and Trouble, Trouble by Thaddeus Declouet.

The big names on show don't let us down of course. Lightnin' Slim's I Ain't Got No Money is, for him, quite an upbeat and optimistic rocker, while Lazy Lester's I'm Gonna Leave You Baby has an excellent stop-start urgency to it. Another alternate take from Silas Hogan  Sitting Here Wondering sounds so different to the ‘original' I grew up listening to that it sounds like a completely different (but by no means inferior) song altogether.

And special mention must be made before we go of the closing number, Slow Waking Fever And The Asiatic Flu,  a humourous piece of nonsense and an obvious response to Huey Piano Smith's Rockin' Pneumonia And The Boogie Woogie Flu. Credited to Johnny Sonnier but involving a series of brief cameo appearances from some of the names we have just been listening to as they pop into the studios to add a lyric to, this presumably was just a bit of messing about, never intended for release, but it comes as a fun way to end such a stupendous release.

A great CD full of tremendous music plus (as always with Ace) an informative and well-presented booklet. Let's just hope that this series runs and runs and that more releases are on the way!

Review Date: July 2013

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