Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Swamp Pop

If you're not hip to swamp pop...well, you should be! I grew up in Southeast Texas and--to me--it was another genre of music. It wasn't until I moved away from the area that I realized how regional the sound was.

A lot of people only think of Zydeco music when they think of Louisiana music that originates anywhere outside of New Orleans. But the truth is, there were a lot of French Acadian kids all over South Louisiana and Southeast Texas that were hugely influenced by R&B and guys like Fats Domino. But when they tried to emulate their idols it came out as something totally different.

The Europeans have been "in the know" for quite some time. Reissues by labels like Flyright and Ace have been around for years. So if you see a comp you should pick it up. You won't be sorry that you did.

(Above: Willie Tee, Warren Storm, and Me)

A lot of these guys are still around and they play on a fairly regular basis. I've gone back home a couple of times to catch Warren Storm at Larry's French Market in Port Arthur, Texas. It's always a good time and he still sounds fantastic. We chatted for quite awhile about his early days with Larry Brasso (a fantastic honky tonker from Lafayette) and his drumming influences. He told me that there was no bass player in Brasso's band. I, of course, asked "why not?" and Warren said "because we didn't know anyone with a bass". He also said that there are no recordings of this early version of Brasso's band because nobody had any recording equipment in that area at the time!

We talked about his drumming idol--Charles "Hungry" Williams--as well. And (after a bit of badgering) I talked him into drumming during his next set. He said he's getting too old but he sounded fantastic to me. Afterwards, he said "Bobby, you're trying to kill me". But I appreciated him honoring my request to drum and sing at the same time 'cause I think he has a very distinct Louisiana drumming style.

Long live Warren Storm!

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