My tech skills are improving. I am an old dog learning new tricks, though the one where I lay on my back & get my tummy tickled is still the best. Anyhoo, finding the right combination of clicking, dragging and dropping, cutting and pasting, means that I am able to get this clip on to the blog. Here, surely, is the most exciting 5 minutes of Australian TV ever.
I have written about a great day out by the Thames when I saw the irresistible master of the zydeco accordian, Beau Jocque and his band make dancing fools of us all while London went about its business. https://loosehandlebars.wordpress.com/2012/09/18/music-to-drink-and-dance-to-part-one-beau-jocque/ will get you a couple of top tunes from the big man. “One Kiss” is a rolling rush of a song, I wrote before that Beau Jocque music is folk, blues, rock and roll yet is, in the words of Mr Jeff Lynne, a living thing. Hey Hey !
So, while we are in Louisiana, here’s another all-time classic.
In 1974 Charlie Gillett, dee-jay, musicologist and all-round good guy launched his record label Oval with a cut-price Cajun collection “Another Saturday Night”. This indispensable zig-zag through music from the Bayous introduced us Brits to new sounds and new artists. Who knew how versatile the accordion could be ? Who, in the UK, knew how great the “swamp pop” of Tommy McLain and Johnnie Allan was ? It was Allan’s cover of Chuck Berry’s “Promised Land”, recorded in 1971 but sounding absolutely timeless, which picked up the radio play and became a minor hit. It’s another short, sharp burst of energy which still makes me reach for the volume control whenever I hear it. Tommy McLain’s sweet double-tracked country Cajun rock ballads are a delight but it was Johnnie Allan who put us on to so much fine music.
In Abbeville Louisiana 14 years old Bobby Charles wrote a song with the lyrical hook “See you later alligator, in a while crocodile”…brilliant ! Bill Haley and his Comets sold a million copies of the song and Bobby had a deal with Chess Records, who probably did not know he was white. Bobby re-located to New Orleans where he wrote “Walking To New Orleans” for Fats Domino and “But I Do” for Clarence “Frogman” Henry. Bobby Charles was a very talented man.
After a break from the business Bobby recorded an LP with his friends. 1972’s self-titled record with The Band, Dr John, Amos Garrett and others is a perfect wonder of a record. Languorous and laconic and Louisianan, it is the craft of the songs which make for such a treat. If Randy Newman had been born in the bayou he would have written these songs. “Small Town Talk” is co-written with Rick Danko while “Tennessee Blues” …well, when I first heard this just a few years ago I could not believe that it had been around for over 30 years without me knowing. The whole record is of such a high quality that this track, “staying stoned and singing Homemade Songs”, was not released until the extended edition of 1999. Bobby Charles passed away 2 years ago this week. On Monday I will mark this by listening to this fantastic record. OK see ya later alligator !