Of the unfortunate dwindling number of 1960s and ’70s New Orleans R&B recording artists, thankfully we still have Wallace Johnson to appreciate. He never had much more than a handful of neighborhood hits, but his small clutch of singles – and one great CD – were some of the best local R&B of the era.
Johnson was born Oct. 8, 1937, in Napoleonville, La., 65 miles southwest of New Orleans on Bayou Lafourche.
“When I was 13, I saw Roy Brown at a little town called Bertrandville.” said Johnson in 1998. “I stood in the front row and focused on nothing but him. This was when he had (big) records out like ‘Cadillac Baby,’ ‘Brown Angel’ and ‘Good Rockin’ Tonight.’
“I went in the service in 1954. I was stationed in Fort Lewis, Washington. One day at the service club, a guy asked me if I sang. I didn’t, but the next thing I knew, we had a five-member group. This was during the doo-wop era. We performed at talent shows and usually won.”
Johnson got married while in the service. After being discharged, he and his growing family moved to New Orleans, where he had several relatives. Still interested in music, Johnson enrolled at Houston’s School of Music under the G.I. Bill. He unsuccessfully auditioned for Dave Bartholomew at Imperial Records and later for Harold Battiste at Specialty. Battiste expressed interest, but Johnson was told Specialty was winding down its New Orleans activities. However, Batiste revealed he had another project in the works.
“Harold was going to start his own label, AFO. He said it was time for New Orleans musicians that make the music to make the money – not out-of-town companies that came here to record. That’s how I wound up on AFO.”
Johnson debuted on AFO in 1962 with “Clap Your Hands” / “Peace of Mind.” It was a great release, but Johnson got caught in a record-business trick bag. AFO briefly had a national distrubutor, Sue Records, that helped catapult Barbara George’s “I Know” to the top of the charts. Sue and AFO had an bitter split – in a nutshell – over George’s contract and services. That meant Johnson’s single had only local distribution, which meant limited sales and promotion.
“We cut that session at a little studio built behind Ric Records office on Baronne Street,” said Johnson. “That was the first time I met Allen Toussaint, but he couldn’t play on the session because he had a contract with Minit Records. But the rest of the AFO combo played on the record. I cut the session and moved back to Napoleonville after I broke my ankle. Later I found out the label folded and the AFO cats moved out to the West Coast. Then I started seeing Harold on the ‘Sonny and Cher’ show every week.”
Johnson began working weekends at the clubs along Bayou Lafourche. His marquee gig was opening shows for national acts like Ile and Tina Turner and Bobby “Blue” Bland at the Sugar Bowl in Thibodaux. Johnson moved back to New Orleans in 1965 and ran into Toussaint again.
“Allen had just got out of the service and became partners with Marshall Sehorn. This was right after Allen produced Lee Dorsey’s ‘Ride Your Pony.’ I wound up doing several singles with Allen.”
Johnson’s initial Toussaint-produced single – “Something To Remember You By” / “If You Leave Me” – appeared on Sansu and was distributed by Bell. Though it begged to break nationally, it stayed a local record, largely overlooked by the sudden explosion of British music in America. The follow-up, “I’m Grown” / “Baby Go Head,” was also distinctive, but it met a similar fate.
“None of those records were cut live,” recalled Johnson. “Allen would have the musicians record a backing track and then I’d come in and do the vocals. I thought ‘Something to Remember You By’ was pretty good. ‘I’m Grown’ was pretty arrogant song that told a different story. The last single I did with Allen was on RCA (in 1973). ‘I Miss You Girl’ and ‘On My Way Back’ were cut in Atlanta.”
The RCA single didn’t do much, and Johnson returned to Napoleonville, where he drove trucks and worked in a lumber yard to support his family. After his wife died and children grew up, Johnson moved back to New Orleans and worked for company that laid sewer lines. In the mid-1990s, Johnson re-encountered Toussaint and saw a revival of his music career.
“At the time I used to go by Allen’s house to shoot pool,” Johnson said. “I asked him what he thought of me cutting a demo. He said, ‘Go ahead.’ He said, ‘Get the musicians and you can use the studio (Sea-Saint) anytime.’ I met some guys that played with Rockin’ Dopsie Jr., and we did four songs.
“Allen heard the demo and came by my house a couple weeks later. He said, ‘I have some friends in New York are interested in starting a label’ and would I be interested in being involved? Of course I was. I wound up doing a CD ‘Whoever’s Thrilling You’ that came out on NYNO in 1996.”
The release set off a brief firestorm of activity, but Johnson eventually returned to driving a truck for a living. NYNO fizzled, and in 2000, Johnson moved to Atlanta to live with his daughter. His appearance at the 2010 Ponderosa Stomp this Saturday night will mark his first return to New Orleans in a decade.
In town for the Stomp and need something to do tonight? Venture out to Metry to witness a slab of yat grandeur with the dynamic duo of “Eddie and Earl” at Mo’s Chalet. That’s non other than Eddie “Gypsy Woman” Powers and Earl “Pass the Hatchet” Stanley holding down their steady Weds night gig. Mo’s Chalet has been chronicled here previously by Lakeview Kid. “Give the people what they want!”
Lakeview Kid described the regular patrons of Mo’s Chalet thusly:
And “the people,” in Mo’s case, fit a certain demographic. They are either members of “the Greatest Generation” or hail from the immediately younger age groups. These are the people who grew up in a still-vibrant New Orleans, attended its grammar and high schools, and bore witness to not only the jazz revival of the late 1940s and early ’50s, but also the birth of rock ‘n’ roll. These are the people who remember Butera and Prima blazing away on Bourbon Street and at the Beverly Club. These are the people who saw Pete Fountain and Al “Jumbo” Hirt trading lightning-bolt licks at Lenfant’s on the lakefront. These are the people who when they hear the name “Dukes of Dixieland” immediately think “Assunto brothers”—you know, those nice neighborhood Italian boys from around the French Market who just happen to have a red-hot family band. These are the people who grew up buying Fats Domino 45s and swaying to Jerry Raines’ “Our Teenage Love” at the CYO dances. They remember serving detention-hall stints with Roland “Stone” LeBlanc at Warren Easton High, or eating cheeseburgers next to a teenage Frankie Ford at Da Wabbit in Gretna after a sock hop at the McDonoghville VFW. These are New Orleans’ salt of the earth, and those who still make it out to Mo’s Chalet are the silver-fox survivors. They’re still boogieing down and drinking up well into their 60s, 70s, and 80s.
Sammy Ridgley. Though the last name is familiar to New Orleans R&B buffs, the first name might not well be. Separated by 18 years, Sammy Ridgley is the youngest brother of the late Tommy Ridgely and carries on the R&B tradition of his older brother. He still leads Tommy’s old band, the Untouchables, and hopefully his 2010 Ponderosa Stomp performance will lead to deservedly wider recognition.
Born Aug. 6, 1943, Sammy was raised on Andover Street in the Shrewsbury section of Jefferson Parish. “When I was growing up, Tommy had left home but was living around the corner,” recalled Ridgley in the fall of 1998. “I grew up singing gospel, and I was a good football player. I was an amateur boxer and won all but one fight. A policeman wanted to train me to box professionally, but my mother wouldn’t go for it.”
As an adolescent, Ridgley soon found out that there were certain perks to being the brother of a successful recording artist. “Every time my brother went out of town, he’d bring me back a shirt, a pair of shoes, or a new suit,” laughed Ridgley. “I had 20 pairs of shoes and 13 suits. Also, I could get into all the dances free by telling the guy at the door that I was Tommy Ridgley’s brother.”
As he grew older, Ridgley often traveled to nearby towns with his brother and helped handle the band’s equipment. As he grew older, Ridgley got to see the likes of Gatemouth Brown, Guitar Slim and Smiley Lewis when they performed at the Harlem Gym in Shrewsbury.
“I used to enjoy going to the Municipal Auditorium too and seeing the gospel shows. I remember seeing Aretha Franklin and Sam Cooke. I also remember seeing Archie Brown Lee and the Five Blind Boys – he was devastating.”
Eventually Joe Tex became Ridgley’s biggest influence. “Joe Tex played the Dew Drop in the late 1950s. This was before he had any hit records. It was the most exciting thing I ever saw. He did all those James Brown dance steps that became famous and he could really pop that mike stand. I remember leaving the Dew Drop one night thinking how great it would be to be a singer and be able to put on a show like that.”
In 1962, Ridgley got the chance. “Kelly Jones was a saxophonist in my neighborhood that played with O.W. Scott and the Magnificents,” said Ridgley. “He heard I could sing and invited me to join the band. We mostly played white frat gigs and made good money. I made more money in one night than an entire week at my day job (at a funeral parlor).”
Tommy arranged for his brother to record at Cosimo’s in 1965, but “The Hully Gully” never saw the light of day. Sammy also did a session with the Magnificents at WYLD’s studio on Tulane Avenue that also went unissued.
“The Magnificents did well until the Beatles came along,” said Ridgley. “Then we had to compete with all the Beatle and guitar bands. Guys kept dropping out of the group (the Magnificents) and finally it dissolved.
“Around 1968, I started my own band, Operation Plus. That was the best little boogie-woogie band I ever heard. That was my style – that uptempo sound. We had the same weekend gig at the Young Man’s Night Club on Causeway (Boulevard) for 24 years.”
In 1972, Ridgley signed on with Elijah Walker, who ran a production/promotion company with a parcel of very successful up-and-coming New Orleans R&B talent, including King Floyd, Jean Knight, and C. P. Love, to name a few. A largely overlooked figure in the overall history of local R&B, Walker was very much responsible for the brief resurgence of the New Orleans sound in the early 1970s. The former longshoreman knew the value of hard work, connections and especially money. “Walker didn’t get kicked in the ass – Walker did the ass kicking,” according to C.P. Love.
Walker produced Ridgley’s first single “I’ve Heard That Story Before” – a cover of his brother’s song – and “Shake A Shake Sue.” The single was arranged by Wardell Quezergue and released on King’s Row. The same team worked on “I’m Dreaming”/”Locked Up,” which started to make some noise in New Orleans.
“‘I’m Dreaming’ started to get some airplay on WBOK and WYLD, but it cost money to get a record played then,” said Ridgley. “I know because I put $250 in a jock’s hand. The jock told me that for another $250, he’d wear the label off the motherfucker.
“ABC-Paramount was interest in leasing ‘I’m Dreaming’ and doing an album. They offered $5,000, but Walker wanted $10,000. They thought that was too much and nothing happened.”
Walker’s unexpected death in 1973 stalled Ridgley’s recording career, but he stayed busy with Operation Plus and occasionally opening his brother’s shows with the Untouchables.
In the late 1990s, Ridgley was approached by guitarist/label owner Ernie Vincent – an association that resulted in the very good, but unfortunately out-of-print, “Midnight Rendezvous” CD.
After Tommy’s death in 1999, Sammy assumed the role of bandleader with the Untouchables. Sammy and the band mostly work private functions in Jefferson Parish. His appearance before the Ponderosa Stomp’s knowledgeable and appreciative audience will surely make many more people aware of his talent.
For many Ponderosa Stomp goers (including this scribe), the highlight of 2010′s event will be the appearance of the fabulous Young Jessie. Best known for the hit “Mary Lou,” Young Jessie epitomized the wild 1950s blend of West Coast R&B and rock and roll—and cut some of the best records of the era.
Born Obediah Donnell Jessie December 28, 1936 at Dallas, Texas, “Young” Jessie was introduced to music by his piano playing mother. When the War broke out, Jessie’s family moved to the West Coast so his father could find a better job. Jessie’s family moved back to Texas in 1950. Jessie however returned to Los Angeles shortly after where he attended Jefferson High, a school also attended by Etta James, Johnny “Guitar” Watson. and Richard Berry.
Berry—of “Louis, Louie” fame, but sadly, not fortune—encouraged Jessie to join his doo-wop group dubbed the Flairs. The group became very popular on the L. A. high school circuit in the early 1950s via dances and house parties. One day the group collectively skipped classes and auditioned for RPM Records—then one of the most successful R&B record labels on the West Coast. RPM owners Jules and Joe Bihari were impressed and set up a recording session for the 16-year-olds.
The group’s first effort “She Wants To Rock,” was produced by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, with Berry singing lead. A playful recording, Leiber and Stoller would later parlay the Flairs style into gold when they began working with the Robins and the Coasters at Atlantic. The Flairs cut four singles for RPM as well as several more using other group names. The group disbanded around 1955 and Jessie and Berry forged their own careers.
The Biharis brothers suggested the moniker “Young” Jessie and together they struck pay-dirt with “Mary Lou,” a song Jessie wrote about a wild aunt on his fathers side. “Mary Lou” sold especially well on the West Coast and in Texas and Jessie embarked on a series of tours with the likes of Guitar Slim, Bobby Bland and B. B. King. Other RPM masterpieces included “Hit, Git and Split” and “Oochie Coochie.” “Mary Lou” was eventually covered by Arkansas rockabilly Ronnie Hawkins and his version made the national charts in 1959.
Young Jessie – Mary Lou
Jessie briefly joined the Coasters—long enough to record “Searchin’” and “Youngblood”—before waxing the infectious “Shuffle In the Gravel” for Atco in 1957 with his old pals Leiber and Stoller producing. Next stop was Capitol—albeit a brief stop— where Jessie recorded the equally effective “The Wrong Door.”
In 1961, producer Bumps Blackwell got Jessie a deal with Mercury where he waxed the Coasters influenced “Teacher Gimme Back,” and the riotous “My Country Cousin.” Unfortunately, the public’s taste in music was “maturing” and Jessie’s 1950s rocking style wasn’t appreciated. He spent the rest of the 1960s recording great singles for small labels on the West Coast.
Young Jessie was more-or-less rediscovered in the early 1980s when his recording began being reissued in Europe. Since then, Young Jessie has made numerous overseas appearances where he has never failed to please. Eventually, America came on board.
Young Jessie – Hit, Git and Split
Note. Young Jessie should not be confused with a local artist, Jesse Thomas, that recorded under his own name and with Huey Smith and the Clowns in the 1960s. That Jessie often billed himself as Young Jessie in New Orleans. This Young Jessie is the real Mccoy.
One has to marvel at the musical magic that arose from the hallowed halls of Warren Easton High School. In the early ‘50s New Orleans most notorious alma mater hatched the city’s first bona-fide white rock ‘n’ roll band the Sparks; by the end of the decade blue-eyed R&B legend Roland Stone had emerged from its ranks. And in between there was Joyce Harris, whose scalding blues-drenched pipes were second only to her glamorous pin-up sex appeal.
Born in Bowling Green Kentucky in 1939, Joyce and her sister Judy moved to New Orleans with their family and, like so many of the city’s budding rock ‘n’ rollers, were soon recording at Cosimo Matassa’s studio. Their first three singles, for Dot, Decca and Seville respectively, were waxed as Judy and Joyce and yielded the standout rockers “He’s the One,” “Hey, Pretty Baby” and “Rock and Roll Kittens.” In 1959 Joyce struck out on her own, continuing the pandemonium with “It’s You” and the flirtatious “The Boy In School.”
By 1960, she was singing in Austin, Texas, where she hooked up with the recently-revived Domino label, teaming with local doo-wop group the Slades for “I Cheated,” an answer song to their original “You Cheated, You Lied,” which had been buried by the Shields’ L.A. cover version. Next, she was paired with black rock ‘n’ roll combo the Daylighters, and the coupling was sheer sonic abandon. The cult classic “No Way Out” has baffled fans for years: is it rockabilly? Soul? Proto garage rhythm and blues? It would be safe to assume that with an artist as unique as Miss Harris, all of the above and quite a bit more. Her rendition of “I’ve Got My Mojo Working” challenges both Ann Cole’s original and Muddy Waters’ well-worn standard, utilizing the patented Harris recipe of throwing it all into the mix to come up with something unlike quite anything you’ve ever heard before.
Relocating to Los Angeles in 1962, Joyce signed with Serock Records and laid down her most over-the-top, down-in-the alley blues rocker yet. Opening with a wailing harmonica that yields to a whammy-bar-obsessed lead guitar, the attitudinal “Don’t Knock It” was released, fittingly, under the name Sinner Strong. The nome-de-plume was a little more innocent than most revisionist history would dare let on. Joyce’s intention was to call herself Cina, but the company misunderstood the rarely heard French name and one of the great mysteries of rock ‘n’ roll came to life. Returning to New Orleans to cut the soulful “Baby, Baby, Baby” b/w “How Long (Can I Hold Back My Tears)” for Eddie Bo’s Fun label in 1964, Joyce began frequenting the Mask Lounge at the Mardi Gras Lanes, where she activated her penchant for creative stage names yet again by christening he house band — and Gentilly Woods garage greats-to-be — with the unforgettable moniker Dr. Spec’s Optical Illusion.
As is often the case, one endlessly deep musical genre often leads to another and Joyce’s current musical activities include playing mandolin and guitar in a bluegrass gospel group. In what is certainly one of the most anticipated performances at the 2010 Ponderosa Stomp, Joyce returns to the rock ‘n’ roll stage for the first time in decades on Friday night with old running partner Earl Stanley and Michael Hurtt and his Haunted Hearts.
Writer Jeff Hannusch profiles CP Love and will interview him at the Mint.
Vocalist C.P. Love might well be best known for a song he didn’t record, rather than one he did. Love had been offered “Groove Me” by King Floyd but passed on the song, feeling Floyd deserved to record it and would do a better job with it. While he could have recorded a major hit, Love still managed to notch a couple of regional successes and assembled a compact, but enjoyable resume of soul and R&B recordings.
Born Carleton Pierre Love in 1945, he was raised on the West Bank of New Orleans. At the age of 12, Love taught himself to play guitar and formed a four-piece band. He later switched to bass when he joined Little Benny and the Creoles, a group that sometimes featured Walter Washington. Originally, Love didn’t sing, but when the vocalist couldn’t learn new material, he began fronting the band on bass and vocals. Eventually, Love dropped the bass and concentrated on singing.
“I liked Sam Cooke, Elmore James, Danny White and Smiley Lewis,” recalled Love in 1999. “That’s what was on the radio. I started going by the Dew Drop and hanging out with Deacon John, Esquerita and Earl King.”
One of Love’s first marquee gigs was sharing the bill with Professor Longhair at Jessie’s Lounge in Marrero.
“I sang some Bobby Mitchell tunes and Fess backed me up,” recalled Love, “The band was just Fess and a drummer. All he had (the drummer) was a bass drum, snare and one cymbal. But when he played he sounded like two drummers. In the middle of the set a guy came in with a shovel and hit two guys over the head with it over a woman. All hell broke loose. Me and Fess grabbed his (electric) piano and carried it outside. He was driving an old limousine with the seats taken out of the back. We just slide the piano in and sat in the front seats. After the fight Jessie (the owner), came outside and asked us to start playing again. Fess said, ‘No, we’re going home.’ He was a quite guy and didn’t go for no humbug.”
In the mid-1960s, Love joined the Invaders, a band that played local club and Tulane’s frat row. One evening, Elijah Walker, a longshoreman turned music entrepreneur, caught the Invaders and liked what he heard.
“Mr. Walker booked dances and shows,” said Love. “He’d bring in whoever had a hot record and put a New Orleans band behind them. One of the bands Mr. Walker hired cancelled a date and he hired us to take their place. After the show, he asked us if we were interested in making a record with him. Naturally, I said ‘Yes.’ Mr. Walker learned the music business the hard way and he didn’t take any shit.”
Walker and Earl King had started a label, King Walk, and in 1968 had Love record “Plenty of Room For More”/”You Call the Shots” at a Conti Street studio located behind an auto body shop. “You Call the Shots” was penned by King and reminded listeners of Wilson Pickett. It did well in New Orleans and lead Love to another recording project. Walker brokered a deal with MGM Records to have Love record a “sound alike” album. Back then, it was common to find LPs and 45s in department store containing covers of current hits at a fraction of the price of the original release. Love recorded an album’s worth of covers by Otis Redding, James Brown and Wilson Pickett in Baton Rouge.
King Walk folded so Walker started a new partnership with arranger Wardell Quezergue dubbed Pelican Productions. Then along came King Floyd and “Groove Me.”
“I told Mr. Walker about King,” said Love. “King had just come back from California. He heard I had made a record and he offered me ‘Groove Me.’ I heard the song and immediately knew it had something. But I thought King had a really unique voice and that he should be the one to record it. We made a tape of King doing ‘Groove Me’ and brought it to Mr. Walker. That was the first time I met Wardell. Wardell heard ‘Groove Me’ and he said to Walker, ‘I believe we have something here.’”
In May of 1970, Love was scheduled to record a Joe Broussard song “I Found All These Things,” at Malaco’s Studio in Jackson, Mississippi. Instead, Love suggested to Walker that Floyd should take his place.
“Walker said, ‘Why do you want to look out for him all the time?’ I just thought it was a good song and King should record it. I never gave not recording the song a second thought.”
Later, Love did record the stupendous ballad “I Found All These Things,’ and like “Groove Me,” Atlantic picked it up to distribute. The song sold well locally, and might well have broken in other markets, had a tour with James Carr not fallen through.
But with “Groove Me” in the charts, Floyd returned Love’s favor by inviting him to open his shows. Love spent nine months touring with Floyd, and then several more with Candi Staton and Bobby Womack. By the mid 1970s, Love was back in New Orleans where the recording scene was pretty much stuck in park. Love survived by playing on Bourbon Street at several venues.
“I did Bourbon Street for 10 years,” said Love. ‘At first it was a job I looked forward to. Later it was a job I looked forward to getting away from. I started at the Sho Bar and later worked at La Strada. At La Strada we’d come on at 7:00 and play until 9:00 p.m. Then Frogman Henry would come on and play until 1:15. Then we’d do another set. I did that for two-and-a-half years. My job was to make the cash register ring and I was good at that. But when Bourbon Street went non-union, you had to take a big cut in pay. I couldn’t accept that.”
A change of scenery was in order and in 1986, Love moved to the Bay Area. Love made some good connections and he managed to stay busy working the club and festival circuit between Seattle and San Diego.. He also cut a four-track EP for Carlo Ditta’s Orleans label. Ditta had briefly relocated in California and managed to arrange a session withe ex-Meters Leo Nocentelli and George Porter. While many listeners were pleased with the effort, Love felt he was rushed and the results could have been better.
In 1999, Love returned to New Orleans to help take care of his ailing mother. Ironically, in 2003, Johnnie Taylor posthumously had a mild radio hit with his cover of “I Found All These Things.” Love continues to perform occasionally around New Orleans.
Here’s a Stomp sneak peek with a great live performance from Sugar Pie Desanto when she toured Europe as part of the American Folk Blues Festival. Ponderosa Stomp alum Hubert Sumlin is on guitar!
Below is snapshot of Sugar Pie’s Ponderosa Stomp poster- from the letterpress geniuses at Yee Haw Industries. See Sugar Pie Desanto live and snag her poster on at the Ponderosa Stomp in New Orleans on September 24th and 25th, 2010.
Today, in New Orleans’ Jackson Square, Taylor Swift, Dave Matthews and others are performing on a giant stage in front of hundreds of thousands of Saints fans and untold numbers of TV viewers. Tomorrow, on Friday September 10th, just steps away, three musical giants of New Orleans will be celebrated in the Cabildo in front of a much smaller crowd but with no less fanfare.
Chrome-domed rockabilly punk Deke Dickerson is a longtime Stomp backing bandleader and accomplished musician and music writer in his own right. Two guitar slingers go head to head, as he chats with legendary King of Twang and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee Duane Eddy.
Renegade punk-blues guitar stylist Kid Congo Powers – of the Cramps, the Gun Club and Nick Cave’s Bad Seeds – joins Rock and Roll Hall of Fame VP of Education and Public Programs Lauren Onkey in this discussion with original bassist Jimi Espinoza of Thee Midniters, who ignited Chicano rock in 60’s East L.A. with cruising anthems like “Whittier Blvd.”
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum’s Dr. Lauren Onkey chats with the legendary Ronnie Spector – the diminutive, high-haired wild child whose commitment to rock n’roll started in Spanish Harlem, survived Phil Spector, influenced the Rolling Stones and the Ramones and still burns bright today.
Award-winning Fats Domino biographer Rick Coleman talks with New Orleans R&B legend James “Sugarboy” Crawford, whose 1953 Chess-cut version of “Jock-A-Mo” remains one of the most popular updates of the traditional Mardi Gras Indian chant.
Two legends come together in this conversation. British-born author John Broven remains the definitive authority on South Louisiana swamp pop, Cajun music and R&B, with his groundbreaking texts “South to Louisiana” (1983) “Rhythm & Blues in New Orleans” (1974) and “Record Makers and Breakers.”(2009)His longtime associate Floyd Soileau cut the records Broven wrote the books on, founding seminal labels like Jin, Swallow, Vee Pee and Big Mamou to put out artists like Clifton Chenier and Rod Bernard.
Grammy-nominated Los Angeles-based writer and DJ Chris Morris, the 60’s bluesman turned 70’s “party record”-making comedian. The Atlanta-based bluesman has held down legend status for over half a century, playing, hanging and entertaining with artists from T-Bone Walker to Tina Turner.
Award-winning author Holly George-Warren leads the Stomp Conference’s second installent of the “Here Come The Girls” panel, which she originally moderated at the first conference in 2008. Cult Stax singer Wendy Rene of “BBQ” fame, girl group legend Lala Brooks, and left-handed Gulf Coat guitar empress Barbara Lynn share their stories of the vagaries of the music business for black women in the prefeminist era.
Without the talents of producer, arranger, bandleader, talent scout and trumpeter Dave Bartholomew, the world would never have heard of a piano player named Fats – and that’s only scratching the edge of the tip of the iceberg for Dave Bartholomew, New Orleans’ premier architect of rock n’roll. With Stomp founder Dr. Ike and chronicler John Broven, Bartholomew shares his firsthand account of the dawn of the American rock and R&B sound.
South Louisiana music authority John Broven and frequent MOJO contributor and musician Michael Hurtt talk with Cajun guitar legends Leroy Martin and Johnnie Allan. Look for a possible appearance by their longtime co-conspirator and legendary Ville Platte record man Floyd Soileau!
Ponderosa Stomp secret weapon Lil Buck Sinegal has led the band for Stomp events for the event’s entire history. With running buddy Dr. Ike, he finally discloses his story of life as South Louisiana’s crack guitar slinger, from Clifton Chenier’s band to hundreds of Excello sessions to “Monkey in a Sack” and “Cat Scream.”
Texas wild man Roy Head can still do the alligator, offer marital advice, whip a roadhouse into a soul frenzy and probably fry an egg all at the same time. The irrepressible soul man behind “Treat Her Right” chats with New York Rocker founder and longtime music journalist Andy Schwartz.
*** 15 to 30 minutes between sessions is allowed for the audience of each discussion to change over at a comfortable pace. Please be respectful of our schedule, and join the speakers and moderators in the courtyard or the second floor gallery record fair following their session for refreshments, further conversation and memorabilia signing. ***
The Ponderosa Stomp Foundation thanks Dr. Lauren Onkey and Jason Hanley of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for hosting this year’s Music History Conference.