Fourth Annual Music History Conference Moderators
Alison Fensterstock is a music writer for New Orleans’ Times-Picayune newspaper and also has contributed to Oxford American, Vibe, Gambit Weekly, and Spin. She helped curate the “Where They At” bounce exhibit at the Ogden Museum of Southern Art and the Ponderosa Stomp’s “Unsung Heroes: The Secret History of Louisiana Rock ‘n’ Roll” at the Louisiana Cabildo.
New Orleans native Gerri Hall shared the microphone with Bobby Marchan as one of the Clowns before performing as a Raelette with Ray Charles for four years. She also recorded for the Atco label and appeared on Hoss Allen’s “The !!!! Beat” TV show.
A longtime popular afternoon DJ on the New Orleans radio station WQUE-FM, or Q93, Wild Wayne was the first local radio personality to champion local bounce and hip-hop on-air.
A guitarist and singer, Michael Hurtt is leader of Michael Hurtt and the Haunted Hearts and a member of the garage band the Royal Pendletons. His music writing has appeared in Offbeat, Mojo, Spin, and the Metro Times, as well as numerous CD liner notes.
Danny Kimball is the drummer of Lake Charles garage kings the Bad Roads, which formed in 1966 and had a regional hit on Jin titled “Blue Girl.” He also has played with the Red Beans and Rice Revue and Native Sons.
Steve Staples was the guitarist in the Gunga Dyns from New Orleans’ West Bank and now is the owner of International Vintage Guitars.
Camille Baudoin was the guitarist in the New Orleans garage band the Souls of the Slain. He later played with the Rhapsodizers and was a longtime guitarist in the Radiators. He is now working with his own group playing the Cajun songs he grew up with.
Louisiana native Bobby Rush has long ruled as king of the chitlin’ circuit with his ribald vocals, unforgettable showmanship, bluesy guitar and harmonica, and voluptuous female dancers. Living in Arkansas and later Chicago for many years, he played with fellow blues legends such as Freddie King, Luther Allison, and Elmore James, to name just a few, before moving to Jackson, Miss., in the 1980s. He snagged his first hit in 1971 with his Galaxy-label single “Chicken Heads” and later scored with “Bowlegged Woman, Knock-Kneed Man” for Jewel and “Hen Pecked” (with the timeless lyric "I'm not henpecked, I’ve just been pecked by the right hen”) for Malaco’s Waldoxy imprint. A consummate entertainer for more than 50 years with 20+ albums to his credit, Rush still shows no sign of stopping, whether he’s playing Carnegie Hall or a juke joint on a dusty old road off Highway 61 in the Mississippi Delta.
Writer, researcher, and educator Scott Barretta hosts Mississippi Public Broadcasting’s “Highway 61” radio show and is co-author of the book “Mississippi: State of Blues.” He is a former editor of Living Blues and Jefferson Blues magazines.
WWOZ DJ and Offbeat magazine contributor David Kunian is an award-winning documentarian/writer who has produced radio biographies of Guitar Slim, James Booker, James Black, and Earl King, among others.
Lawrence Cotton played piano in Guitar Slim’s touring band and also worked with Big Joe Turner, Wallace Davenport, T-Bone Walker, and Lloyd Price
New Orleans guitarist Irving Banister played in the 1950s R&B group the Shaweez as well as in Sugar Boy Crawford’s Came Cutters. Besides having played on countless sessions, he has worked with Eddie Bo and Danny White and currently leads his own band.
Numerous chanteuses have riveted Gulf Coast audiences through the decades, from Katie Webster and Barbara Lynn to Tami Lynn and Irma Thomas. This forum spotlights Lavelle White and Carol Fran. As a recording artist for Don Robey’s Duke label, White waxed great songs such as “Stop These Teardrops” and “Teenage Love.” Touring with many of the major acts of the day, including B.B. King, James Brown, and Junior Parker, she logged many hours at New Orleans’ Dew Drop Inn. Now living in Austin, Texas, she has released several acclaimed CDs.
Lafayette pianist Carol Fran recorded some classic sides for the Excello label, including “Knock Knock” and “Emmitt Lee,” and backed other J.D. Miller artists such as Slim Harpo, Lonesome Sundown, and Lazy Lester. She cut “The Great Pretender” with Cookie and the Cupcakes for Lyric and also recorded songs for the Port label, including “I’m Gonna Try.” A frequent performer on Bourbon Street and at the Dew Drop, she enjoyed a successful partnership with Clarence Holliman for many years until his death.
Lauren Onkey is vice president of education and public programs for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. With a Ph.D. from the University of Illinois, she is a presidential fellow at Case Western Reserve University and also teaches rock history at Cleveland State as well. Her book, “Blackness and Transatlantic Irish Identity: Celtic Soul Brothers,” was published by Routledge Press in 2009.
Besides leading the Rock and Roll Hall, Terry Stewart (J.D., M.B.A.) served as CEO of Marvel Comics and is a major rock poster and record collector.
Longtime New Orleans music champion and journalist Jan Ramsey has published Offbeat magazine since 1988 as well as the Louisiana Music Directory, and also sponsors the annual Best of the Beat award show.
Former NEA chief and retired lawyer John Frohmeyer also has written two books, “Leaving Town Alive,” an account of his experience at the NEA, and “Out of Tune: Listening to the First Amendment,” a text for high school and college courses.
Terry Clements serves as vice president of the tourism bureau for the country music capital of America, Nashville, Tenn., and serves on the board of advisors for Belmont University’s undergraduate school of business.
Years before founding the Stax Museum and leading its nonprofit parent company, Deanie Parker won a talent contest and recorded for Stax, but went on to wear many behind-the-scenes hats at the legendary label, working as songwriter, publicity director, photographer, and in artist relations.
John Schorr is president and owner of Memphis’ legendary Sun Studio, one of the birthplaces of rock ‘n’ roll.
As music development program director for the Mississippi Development Authority, Alex Thomas oversees the development of the Mississippi Blues Trail and the Mississippi Country Music Trail and has served on numerous boards including the National Trust for Historic Preservation and the Mississippi Humanities Council Board.
Big Jay McNeely
“The King of the Sax Honkers,” Big Jay McNeely first topped the Billboard R&B chart in 1949 with “The Deacon’s Hop” on the Savoy label and charted once again in 1959 with the blues-drenched ballad “There Is Something on Your Mind.” Infusing his style with a frantic preacher’s intensity that paved the way toward rock 'n' roll, the rabble-rousing McNeely became known for his outrageously flamboyant stage antics as much for his trailblazingly torrential sax blowing, recording for many labels including Federal, Vee-Jay, Imperial, Exclusive, Aladdin, and Warner Bros.
Jason Hanley, who has a Ph.D. in musicology from the State University of New York at Stony Brook, serves as education director at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and has published many articles on music, film soundtracks, and music technology.
Scott Bomar is bassist and bandleader of Memphis’ Bo-Keys and served as music supervisor for the films “Hustle and Flow” and “Black Snake Moan.” He is a trustee of the National Association of Recording Arts and Sciences and former president of its Memphis chapter.
Stax artist and composer William Bell will forever be known for his classic “You Don’t Miss Your Water,” as well as “Private Number,” “Trying to Love Two,” and “Got to Be Your Lover.” He also co-wrote “Born Under a Bad Sign” and owned Peachtree Records.
After getting his start singing with the Falcons on “I Found a Love,” Eddie Floyd scored his own major smashes with “Knock on Wood,” “Raise Your Hand,” and “Big Bird,” and also wrote the hits “Ninety-Nine and a Half (Won’t Do)” and “634-5789 (Soulsville USA)” for Wilson Pickett.
A former bandmate of Floyd and Pickett in the Falcons, Mack Rice wrote the soul classics “Mustang Sally,” “Cadillac Assembly Line,” “Cheaper to Keep Her,” and “Respect Yourself.” Rice waxed tracks for Stax and its Enterprise subsidiary as well as Atco, Motown, and Mercury.