It’s a party this Saturday, thrown by the Ponderosa Stomp in partnership with Lincoln Center Out of Doors: “She’s Got the Power!”, a girl-group extravaganza featuring Ronnie Spector, LaLa Brooks, and – yes – Lesley Gore of “It’s My Party” fame, not too mention numerous other chanteuses from the Swinging Sixties: Arlene Smith (former lead singer of The Chantels), Baby Washington, Barbara Harris (of The Toys), Beverly Warren, Brenda Reid and Lillian Walker (of The Exciters), Louise Murray (of The Jaynetts), Margaret Ross (of The Cookies), Maxine Brown, Nanette Licori (of Reparata and the Delrons), and Peggy Santiglia Davison and Jiggs Sirico (of The Angels®).
The concert takes place Saturday in New York at the Damrosch Park Bandshell from 5 to 10 p.m., preceded by a “Girl Talk” symposium, at the David Rubenstein Atrium from noon to 4 p.m., complete with star appearances, expert analyses, and rare film footage.
For a full schedule of events, click here. Come get your girl-power groove on this Saturday with this unforgettably hardcore roster female rock legends!
Beverly Warren, Brenda Reid, and Lillian Walker of the Exciters will be among the girl-group legends appearing this Saturday, July 30, as part of “She’s Got the Power!,” a joint presentation by the Ponderosa Stomp and Lincoln Center Out of Doors. The concert in New York runs from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m., and is preceded by a symposium on these legendary girl groups and their influence on rock ‘n’ roll. For a full schedule, click here.
Also appearing will be Ronnie Spector of the Ronettes, LaLa Brooks (formerly of The Crystals) and Lesley Gore With Arlene Smith (former lead singer of The Chantels), Baby Washington, Barbara Harris (of The Toys), Louise Murray (of The Jaynetts), Margaret Ross (of The Cookies), Maxine Brown, Nanette Licori (of Reparata and the Delrons), and Peggy Santiglia Davison and Jiggs Sirico (of The Angels®). The artists will be backed by The Boyfriends,with Jeremy Chatzky as musical director. Don’t miss it!
On July 30, Lincoln Center Out of Doors and the Ponderosa Stomp will present She’s Got the Power!, a celebration of the Girl Group sound and a salute to the women behind the unforgettable hits.
In breaking news, Ronnie Spector, Queen of the Girl Groups and one of the defining voices of female rock n’ roll, will headline She’s Got The Power! Her timeless style and sound continues to influence performers today, as evidenced by the latest wave of young bands who frequently cite her as a primary inspiration. Ronnie will join her old friends to perform on the evening show, which kicks off at 5 p.m. at the Damrosch Park Bandshell.
The story of the girl group sound is also a unique New York story, in which young writers, producers, and musicians from all walks of life collaborated to create a style that celebrated American teenage dreams, in songs that combined raw emotional urgency and sophisticated musical production. Kids everywhere responded to their music, sending the girl groups to the top of the charts, dominating the airwaves for several years and defining the era between early rock and the British invasion.
Lesley Gore, LaLa Brooks (formerly of the Crystals), Arlene Smith (formerly of the Chantels), Barbara Harris (of the Toys) Margaret Ross (of the Cookies), Maxine Brown, Brenda Reid and Lillian Walker Moss (of The Exciters), Peggy Santiglia Davison and Jiggs Sirico ( of The Angels®), Beverly Warren (of the Raindrops), Nanette Licari (of the Delrons), Baby Washington and Toni Wine will breathe life into unforgettable songs with the backing of the Boyfriends, led by musical director Jeremy Chatzky.
An afternoon symposium dubbed Girl Talk will present moderators Lauren Onkey of the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame, journalist Alison Fensterstock and Sheryl Farber (producer of Rhino’s box set One Kiss Can Lead To Another: Girl Group Sounds, Lost & Found)) discussing their histories and lives on the road and in the studio, with a special panel devoted to the legacy of the late Ellie Greenwich, who’ll also be honored with a musical tribute that evening. An Interview with Lesley Gore and a panel with the Exciters and the Angels will also be presented.
Bill Bragin, director of public programming at Lincoln Center, explains, “Our mult-year partnership with the Ponderosa Stomp is very much focused on welcoming under-appreciated popular music artists into the cultural canon. We’re thrilled to celebrate these powerful female artists, who have had such a lasting impact on American popular music, at Lincoln Center, where their art stands alongside world class orchestras, opera divas, Tony-Award winners and ballet companies.”
For lagniappe, click here to see Ronnie on the Sha Na Na show doing “Be My Baby.”
The ashes of “Last Chance” singer Allen Collay made their long journey home to The Max lounge in Metry one Sunday afternoon in 2010, housed in a silver urn etched with a piano’s image, set onstage next to an unopened bottle of his beloved Heineken beer. Collay died – appropriately enough for a New Orleans R&B legend – on Fat Tuesday but – unlike kindred spirit Antoinette K-Doe a year earlier – 800 miles north in illness-imposed exile.
Numerous former bandmates of the soulful St. Bernard Parish singer-pianist turned out to pay tribute at the Woodlawn Avenue lounge, site of Collay’s last musical stand before deteriorating health forced his move to the remote town of Mexico, Mo., in 2000. Joining in the festivities — which served as the jazz funeral Collay always wanted — were legions of admirers who could probably remember Collay from any number of contexts: his childhood Sunday-afternoon singing stints in the 1950s with Dixieland clarinetist Tony Almerico’s band at the Parisian Room; his 1959 smash tearjerker, “Last Chance”; his 1980s flirtation with stardom as a member of gold-record country-rock supergroup Atlanta; and his eventual return home to Louisiana after decades of exile, where he mesmerized nightclub crowds from the French Quarter (in spots such as Jaeger’s House of Seafood and the Al Hirt-owned Jelly Roll’s) to Metairie (at the original Chalet, later replaced by Mo’s Chalet after a fire).
It was at the Chalet in particular that Collay’s music had burned into the brain cells of many a local music lover. Hang out long enough at any Metairie watering hole catering to the older crowd and soon one gray-haired sentimentalist or another will start rhapsodizing about Collay’s sizzling sets at the Chalet’s late-night jam sessions. The line of brass players and other walk-ons would be stretched out the door waiting for a chance to join Collay and his R&B runnin’ pardners, like Roland “Stone” LeBlanc, Bobby Lonero, and Roy “Big Daddy” Wagner.
A cousin of swamp-pop legend Joe “Barry” Barrios, Collay was born Allen Callais in 1943 and grew up “down the road” from New Orleans in Violet. Starting out as a guitarist, he formed the Satellites, which cut his most well-known song, the teenage lover’s lament “Last Chance,” at Cosimo’s studio in 1959. Released on Sho-Biz records, the single hit #82 on the national pop charts, backed by the guitar-driven “Little Girl Next Door,” which writer Michael Hurtt calls “a raving rocker that has since become a cult classic on the underground rockabilly scene.”
According to New Orleans pianist Al Farrell of the Midnight Streetcar band, “Last Chance” was recorded on a particularly memorable night in Louisiana history: Halloween 1959. Collay had just split with the Satellites to enlist with Farrell’s Counts and was due to join them at a club that night. But before he could make that gig, he had a song to wax – a job he had promised to the Satellites. After the session, when Collay finally showed up to play with the Counts, a roar exploded from the crowd. Farrell assumed the audience was excited to see Collay. In short, no: Turns out Billy Cannon had just returned his legendary punt for 89 yards against Ole Miss at Tiger Stadium, breaking seven tackles to lead #1 LSU to a 7-3 victory over the #3 Rebels and an eventual national championship – a gridiron milestone immortalized by Ponderosa Stomp favorite Jay Chevalier in his rockabilly opus “Billy Cannon.”
In all, Collay released several 45s produced by Allen Toussaint and Mac Rebennack for ShoBiz, Instant, and Ace. “Nice eight-piece arrangements,” Collay told pianist Tom McDermott in a 1997 profile. “I think they still hold up.”
By the 1960s, fate swept Collay to Atlanta, where he stayed for 30 years, during which time he made the self-taught switch from guitar to piano. In the ’80s he hit a career peak in joining the nine-piece band Atlanta, which he described as “country-rock with Four Freshmen-style harmonies, which got the big push … before music industry wrangling tore the band apart.” The group made two albums on MCA and scored gold records via tunes such as “Sweet Country Music,”“Atlanta Burned Again Last Night,” and “Dixie Dreaming.”
By the early 1990s Collay had returned to the New Orleans area, living for a time on a St. Bernard relative’s houseboat at Delacroix Island, and resumed playing in the place where his career had begun – only this time as a “piano professor” in the Mac Rebennack/Ronnie Barron/Skip Easterling mold.
Allen Collay tinkles the keys at Andrew Jaeger's now-defunct House of Seafood in the French Quarter
By 1997, Collay was the featured entertainer at Andrew Jaeger’s House of Seafood in the French Quarter, playing up to five nights a week in a trio with longtime Dr. John drummer Freddie Staehle and bassist Paul Walter, supplemented by sit-in visitors such as trumpeters Jack Fine and Charlie Miller, and saxophonist Jerry Jumonville. Collay’s repertoire, described by profiler McDermott, was “Ray Charles meets New Orleans, with big helpings of Brother Ray and Mac and lesser portions of James Booker, Oscar Peterson and Nat Cole.”
But Collay was in his element playing to Metairie’s “late-night” subculture at the Critic’s Choice lounge in a gig that would run weekend nights from 1 a.m. to 4 a.m. A hut-like dive with its particle-board walls and high-school graduation photos adorning the back room, Critic’s Choice was a magnet for a stunning array of old-school characters who were still young enough to ramble all night long on their steady diets of nicotine, booze, and music: The toupéed Frankie from Frankie and Johnnie’s furniture store (“Go see the Special Man”); longtime Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop pianist Johnny Gordon; the trumpet-playing Irish cut-up Al McCrossen; and former flamboyant Metairie nightclub owner/singer Frankie Brent, then in the grips of a musculoskeletal disorder that seemed to have twisted his body in perpetual pain – yet he still occasionally took the mike to sing a hair-raising version of “These Arms of Mine.” Any number of musicians – whether pros or merely amateurs with one or two standards to sing – would show up to jam till the sun came up, with Collay cracking jokes or crying out “Play some Dixie!” to egg the guest soloist on.
Collay’s local performance schedule peaked in the late 1990s with an appearance at the French Quarter Festival. Chef Jaeger also opened a supper club a block away from his restaurant and featured Collay leading a “history of New Orleans music” revue with players such as Staehle, chanteuse Ellen Smith, bassists David Lee Watson and Al Arthur, and guitarist Cranston Clements. But by then Collay’s health began to sour, dogged by diabetes and mini-strokes. The Max lounge in Metairie was the site of Collay’s final regular music residency, a weekend graveyard shift with a tight jazzy trio featuring Staehle on drums and Ray Shall on Hammond organ.
Numerous guests dropped in on Collay’s late-night sessions, but one illustrious visitor stands out in particular. His former producer, Allen Toussaint, happened to be attending an anniversary showing of Stevenson Palfi’s film “Piano Players Rarely Ever Play Together” at the New Orleans Museum of Art. This writer approached Toussaint – aware that the funk master had produced Collay’s early singles – and floated Collay’s name. His eyes leapt. “Where is he playing?” Toussaint asked, looking around almost frantically to borrow a pen for directions to The Max. When I finally showed up there hours later, I heard from awed witnesses that Toussaint had indeed just left the building after checking out his former protégé’s first set.
Allen Collay with WWOZ DJ Billy Delle at Collay's 2004 benefit
The ailing Collay then moved north to Missouri with his girlfriend, and soon his health problems reached a new low when both legs had to be amputated. Collay returned to New Orleans in August 2004 for a benefit to help defray his expenses. A who’s who of New Orleans musicians showed up to take the stage at the Harahan Lions Club, led by Frankie Ford and Skip Easterling. Now gone, Collay is truly an unsung hero of New Orleans rock ‘n’ roll, and “one that got away” from the Ponderosa Stomp.
For Michael Hurtt’s Offbeat magazine profile of Allen Collay, click here.
Today’s “Song of the Day” is a shout-out to both the girls – and the “Goodfellas.” With Dolores “LaLa” Brooks of the Crystals performing at July 30’s Ponderosa Stomp showcase “She’s Got the Power! A Girl Group Extravaganza,” we present to you two versions of the Crystals’ Phil Spector-produced smash hit “Then He Kissed Me.”
First is the famously sweeping, one-take scene from Martin Scorsese’s “Goodfellas,” in which “Then He Kissed Me” plays as Scorsese’s camera continuously follows gangster Henry Hill (Ray Liotta) escorting future wife Karen (Lorraine Bracco) through the Copacabana nightclub. Click here to see the scene with the Crystals in the background.
According to Wikipedia:
“The long tracking shot through the Copacabana nightclub came about because of a practical problem: the filmmakers could not get permission to go in the short way and this forced them to go round the back. Scorsese decided to do it in one shot in order to symbolize Henry’s whole life is ahead of him and according to the director: ‘It’s his seduction of her [Karen] and it’s also the lifestyle seducing him.’ This sequence was shot eight times.”
And here is “Then He Kissed Me” without the distractions of movie dialogue – just the Crystals’ spine-tingling vocals and Spector’s universally acclaimed “Wall of Sound.”
For a full schedule of “She’s Got the Power!” festivities, which run July 30 in New York in association with Lincoln Center Out of Doors, see here.
The concluding concert features LaLa Brooks (formerly of The Crystals) and Lesley Gore With Arlene Smith (former lead singer of The Chantels), Baby Washington, Barbara Harris (of The Toys), Beverly Warren, Brenda Reid and Lillian Walker (of The Exciters), Louise Murray (of The Jaynetts), Margaret Ross (of The Cookies), Maxine Brown, Nanette Licori (of Reparata and the Delrons), Peggy Santiglia Davison and Jiggs Sirico (of The Angels®). Backed by The Boyfriends, with musical director Jeremy Chatzky.
It’s not quite TGIF yet, and it’s not quite Mardi Gras yet, but this song should get you in the mood for both. Drink in the rich, testosterone-filled sounds (and flamboyant sight) of a purple-garbed Frankie Ford‘s romping rendition of Fats Domino’s classic “Whiskey Heaven.” Watch as Ford pounds the keys just like Huey “Piano” Smith and Clarence “Frogman” Henry taught him to all those years ago, during the halcyon days of New Orleans R&B. Sneak a peak at the orgasmic grimace Ford makes at minute 2:18 during longtime Allen Toussaint sideman and Chocolate Milk member Amadee Castenell‘s masterful tenor solo, which Ford introduces with the phrase “Now we gonna play one for your hangover.” Apparently, Castenell’s sax had the cure for Ford’s aches and pains.
Ooo-wee, baby — can’t wait! Gretna’s favorite and possibly most famous son is cruising over from the West Bank to the Howlin’ Wolf in New Orleans’ Warehouse District for his first appearance at the Ponderosa Stomp this year. Find yourself a designated driver and come.
Meet that famed siren from Huey “Piano” Smith’s Clowns, New Orleans’ own Gerri Hall, lip-synching her song “Who Can I Run To” on “The!!!! Beat” show circa 1966, long after her Clown days. The song was written by another Ponderosa Stomp favorite, Bobby Parker of “Barefootin’” fame, produced by Wardell Querzergue, and originally released on Hot-Line 907. Hall serves as the piercing foil to Bobby Marchan on “Don’t You Just Know It” and as the lead singer on “Popeye,” and of course her vocals are prominently featured on numerous other Clowns 45s, such as “Don’t You Know Yokomo.”
Hall also recorded a handful of collector-prized 45s, including a version of “I Cried a Tear,” which Jerry Wexler leased for Atlantic Records. A native of the Lower Ninth Ward, she was actually nicknamed “Gerri” because of her crazy antics similar to the most popular clown of the time, Jerry Lewis. She is the sister-in-law of Rosemary (Hall) Domino and Reggie Hall. As a longtime habitue and waitress at the Dew Drop Inn, she experienced incredible New Orleans music history firsthand and knew virtually all of the local musicians of New Orleans’ golden age of R&B.
Isaac Hayes won the Academy Award for Best Original Song and was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song for “Theme from Shaft,” Gordon Parks’ 1971 blaxplotation masterpiece. Released as a double album by Stax Records’ Enterprise label, the mostly instrumental soundtrack became the best-selling LP ever released on a Stax label.
“The song begins with a sixteenth-note hi-hat ride pattern, played by Willie Hall, which was drawn from a break on Otis Redding’s ‘Try A Little Tenderness,’ a Stax record on which Hayes had played. Also featuring heavily in the intro is Charles Pitts’ guitar, which uses a wah-wah effect common in 1970s funk; the riff had originally been written for an unfinished Stax song. The synthesized keyboard is played by Hayes. Even on the edited single version, the intro lasts for more than two and a half minutes before any vocals are heard.
“The lyrics describe John Shaft’s coolness, courage, and sex appeal, and Hayes’ lead vocals are punctuated by a trio of female backup singers. At one famous moment, Hayes calls Shaft ‘a bad mother—’ before the backup singers (one of whom is Tony Orlando & Dawn’s Telma Hopkins) interrupt the implied profanity with the line ‘Shut yo’ mouth!’ Hayes immediately defends himself by replying that he’s ‘only talking about Shaft,’ with the back-up vocalists replying, ‘We can dig it.’ Other well-known passages include ‘You’re damn right!’ also uttered by Hayes, and ‘He’s a complicated man/but no one understands him/but his woman/John Shaft.’”
Ex-Slim Harpo guitarist James Johnson plays at Phil Brady's nightclub in Baton Rouge circa 2003. He'll be at this year's Ponderosa Stomp as part of the Excello revue.
Baton Rouge blues giant James Johnson’s scheduled appearance at this year’s Ponderosa Stomp is perhaps one of the most highly anticipated performances in recent memory, especially because this amazing guitarist does not often travel outside Baton Rouge to perform.
Everyone knows that bedrock of the 1960s Baton Rouge swamp-blues scene, Slim Harpo (James Moore), whose haunting harmonica was matched by the stinging twin-guitar attack of his lesser-known sidemen, Rudy Richard and James Johnson. It’s Johnson’s biting guitar that puts the “chicken scratch” into Harpo’s 1966 Excello hit, “Baby, Scratch My Back,” which reached #1 on the R&B charts and #16 on the pop charts. As members of the King Bees, the Richard-Johnson tag team also graces many of the other major Harpo sides, including “Rainin’ in My Heart.”
The video below shows Johnson playing with searing yet laid-back intensity in tandem with Lil’ Ray Neal and other Neal family members at a Lafayette juke joint in January 2011. [The New Orleans Saints lost to Tampa Bay the day this video was shot, but the music fans who heard Johnson and the Stomp-like roster of blues and zydeco heavyweights on this show left the club feeling like winners. If, God forbid, the Saints lose to the Chicago Bears on Sept. 18, 2011, your having witnessed James Johnson at the Stomp earlier that weekend will likewise salve your wounds.]
To see the Ponderosa Stomp lineup as scheduled so far, click here. To buy tickets for the Stomp (Sept. 16-17), click here. For travel packages, click here.
Ponderosa Stomp fans know that the most magical sounds often emanate from the most primitive of conditions. Take, for instance, the flood of hits that flowed from the legendary 15-by-16-foot hole in the wall that comprised Cosimo Matassa’s original J&M recording studio on Rampart Street. The same with Eddie Shuler’s tiny Goldband studio, which he opened in the rear of his TV repair shop in Lake Charles. The landmark songs recorded in just those two Looziana incubators – like Antoine Domino’s “The Fat Man,” Guitar Slim’s “The Things I Used to Do,” and Phil Phillips’ “Sea of Love” – mesmerize listeners almost because of their technical limitations, not in spite of them.
Jivin' Gene Bourgeois
Likewise, Jivin’ Gene, aka Gene Bourgeois, of Port Arthur, Texas, began his ascent to swamp-pop immortality by singing in the toilet. Not his greatest hit, “Breaking Up Is Hard to Do,” but rather the equally swampy “Going Out With the Tide,” later covered by another Meaux protégé, Freddy Fender (here in a duet with Tommy McLain).
“He walked in with blue jeans and bare feet and kinda like Clark Kent’s version of Superman, with horn-rimmed glasses. And he wanted me to record his rock ‘n’ roll band. I told him I didn’t know what the hell I was doing, but if he wanted to bring his band in, let’s get down to it. In the KPAC studio there was an old Magnecord in mono – you never heard of stereo in those days – and two pots and a toilet in the corner of the room. And he had to sing in the toilet. I had a big old RCA ribbon mike, a diamond-shaped thing, and I hung it up on the boom and put my amplifiers in a horseshoe shape. The drums had to be way back. I thought I was gonna have to put them out in the street before it was over ‘cause it was getting too loud. I called [Ville Platte’s Jin label owner] Floyd [Soileau], saying, ‘I think this guy has potential.’”
Soileau would release “Going Out With the Tide” as Jin 109 (backed with “Up, Up, and Away”), and it became a regional hit. Bourgeois confirms the story, but with a different twist. “Yeah, I really did sing in the shitter. But it was because I was so shy, I didn’t want anyone looking at me when I sang,” he told the 30 Days Out blogger.
In a separate post, 30 Days Out writes about the sonic effects of the commode in creating the plaintive swamp-pop sound (though apparently confusing “Breaking Up Is Hard to Do” with “Going Out With the Tide”):
“My favorite Gene story was about the time they recorded ‘Breaking Up Is Hard To Do’ at KPAC radio studios in Port Arthur. Gene used to get stage fright when he sang, even when the audience was only his band and a producer. So Huey stuck Gene in the men’s room along with a microphone and turned out the lights. The great echo you hear on the song came from that location – and it became a trademark of the great Texas-Meets-Louisiana swamp rock sound. Every time I think of Port Arthur, that tune begins to play in my brain: ‘Breaking up is hard to doooooooo/Making up is the thing to doooooooo.’”
Meaux and Soileau then booked a recording session for Jivin’ Gene at Jay Miller’s storied studio in Crowley, La., and it was there that Gene cut the definitive version of his most famous tune, “Breaking Up Is Hard to Do,” which hit #69 on the Billboard charts in 1959. According to Soileau:
“It was about Gene’s wife problems. We did a Fats Domino-type thing and put the record out. Right away Huey started getting airplay on it in East Texas, and I got airplay on it down in this area, and things started happening. And Bill Hall still had his eyes open, and we made a deal with him to get it in on Mercury Records. And as a result his Big Bopper Music got the publishing on the original sides and that was his compensation. And Huey managed the artist and I had the record label and the record company, so I had my compensation. We had a three-way thing going there for a while, and Mercury took on with Jivin’ Gene and did fairly well with him.”
Gene went on to do further recording for Mercury, mostly in Nashville, even redoing a version of “Going Out With the Tide” – cum violins – that made The Cash Box listings in 1960. However, somewhere in the process the “swamp” got taken out of the swamp pop. As Warren Storm, whose own Nashville recordings sound slightly castrated compared with his Louisiana-recorded oeuvre, would tell Shane Bernard in “Swamp Pop: Cajun and Creole Rhythm and Blues” about his Music City studio experience:
“Oh yeah. It wasn’t swamp pop. It was more pop than anything else. … It was the Nashville sound, that’s where it was. Nashville. … It was mechanical because it was the Nashville sound. All the records that came out of there, it was the same music background.”
(Apparently Nashville producers found little need to turn to the outhouse as an acoustical accoutrement, what with Floyd Cramer, Boots Randolph, and Chet Atkins in house at any given time.)
Bourgeois would later record for Chess, Hall-Way, and TCF-Hall into the 1960s before dropping out of music for almost 20 years and working as an insulator – reportedly even plying his trade on the Alaskan pipeline like so many other Cajuns who have found work around the globe in the petroleum industry both on- and offshore. [See author Woody Falgoux's "Rise of the Cajun Mariners."]
By the 1980s, nostalgia for the past took hold, and the accolades began to pour in. Gene was inducted in 1993 into the Louisiana Hall of Fame (Lou Gabus’ precursor to the current hall) and the Museum of the Gulf Coast Music Hall of Fame in 1995, and he received the Louisiana Hall of Fame Living Legend Award in June 2003.
Jivin' Gene Bourgeois sings at a 2004 benefit at Pat's in Henderson, La.
In recent years Gene has joined forces with fellow East Texan Ken Marvel, a keyboardist and singer whose working band provides able backing for Bourgeois on his semi-regular gigs. However, as a bandleader in his own right, Marvel is not content, like so many other groups, to merely recycle the golden swamp-pop oldies in letter-perfect, note-for-note renditions. Yes, he pays tribute to the masters, but on his two CDs (“Mr. Swamp Pop” and “Swamp Pop Music”) Marvel has actually written numerous well-crafted original songs with mature themes, sung with passion and earnestness. And it doesn’t hurt that he uses a crack coonass band for his recording sessions (including Warren Storm, Wayne Toups, Jon Smith, Pat Breaux, Jason Parfait, Steve Grisaffe, Tony Ardoin, and Mike Burch, among others). Be sure to catch Marvel playing around East Texas’ Golden Triangle area or else at his occasional Louisiana appearances.
No longer reliant on the porcelain gods for acoustical succor, Jivin’ Gene has reunited with Floyd Soileau’s Jin label with a new CD, “It’s Never Too Late,” recorded at David Rachou’s La Louisianne studio in Lafayette and released in 2009. Gene wrote or co-wrote nearly every cut on the 14-song CD and is backed by Warren Storm on drums and rubboard, Ken Marvel on keys, and Rick Folse (son of legendary Vin Bruce band alumnus Pott Folse) on sax, among others.
Don’t miss Jivin’ Gene at this year’s Ponderosa Stomp. To buy tickets, click here. To learn more about this swamp-pop legend, read this and this.
Jivin' Gene's 2009 release on the Jin label, featuring his original songs and drumming by Warren Storm