Louisiana is home to so much good music that has played a significant role in helping folks recover from some of the disasters, natural and man made, the state has suffered in recent years. One of the many great musicians from the state, Buddy Flett, had a near fatal bout with encephalitis that left him in a medically induced coma. When he awoke, he had lost the ability to walk, talk, and play the guitar but with the help of his family, both kin and the musical community, he was able to play guitar at his own benefit. His own struggle to get back to health inspired the formation of the Northern Louisiana Brain and Spinal Cord Injury Foundation to fund neuroscience research in Louisiana. And this cause led to a variety of performers contributing their talents to “Louisiana Swamp Stomp” (Honeybee Entertainment), whose proceeds will benefit the Foundation.
Among the all star talent on “Louisiana Swamp Stomp” are such world-famous headliners as Buckwheat Zydeco, Percy Sledge and the Aces Band and guitar legend Sonny Landreth and the equally amazing, if less publicly known icons Henry Gray (who spent considerable time infusing Howlin Wolf’s band with his signature piano) and Lil Buck Sinegal (an integral part of Clifton Chenier’s and then Buckwheat Zydeco’s outstanding groups). Others on this include Carol Fran, herself a stroke victim a few years ago, Little Freddie King, Dwayne Dopsie, Buddy Flett himself, Larry Garner, and Charlene Howard with supporting musicians include Billy Flynn, Sean Carney, Jonn Richardson, and David Egan.
|Little Freddie King with Lil' Buck Sinegal in back|
Chicago harp player and singer, Omar Coleman, the only featured performer not from Louisiana, backed by Billy Flynn on guitar and Kenny Smith on drums, turns in a strong rendition of Slim Harpo’s “Scratch My Back,” catching that swamp blues flavor of the original, while he takes some melodic liberties on Lightnin’ Hopkins’ “Mojo Hand.” Pianist Henry Gray delivers two strong piano blues performances, the slow topical “Times Are Getting Hard” about too much taxes and ain’t got a job, while “How Can You Do It,” is a rocking shuffle. Lil Buck Sinegal provides a rocking take on “Don’t You Lie to Me.
|Carol Fran at 2008 New Orleans JazzFest|
Carol Fran sings the blues in French on “Tou' Les Jours C'est Pas La Meme (Everyday Is Not The Same),” with some nice piano from David Egan, while her “I Needs To Be Be’d With,” has nice guitar from Mary Christian.Little Freddie King takes us down in the gutter with a superb, doomy swamp blues “Can’t Do Nothin’ Babe,” while Percy Sledge does a fine rendition of “First You Cry,” a terrific southern soul ballad Buddy Flett and David Egan wrote. “Swamp Stomp,” is a instrumental that features Sonny Landreth’s slide guitar, Lil Buck Sinegal’s guitar and Gerald St. Julien’s accordion although the playing gets a bit messy at times. “Traveling Man,” is a superb zydeco performance, in the vein of Clifton Chenier, from Dwayne Dopsie.
Larry Garner’s strong blues “It’s Killing Me,” has a melodic flavor akin to “As the Years Go Passing By,” with terrific organ from Buckwheat Zydeco and a typically fine Garner lyric and vocal. His “Ms. Boss,” with some rollicking piano as Larry sings about bringing breakfast to his baby in bed, and she know show to love Larry, so that’s why Larry calls his Ms. Boss. One performer I was totally unfamiliar before this recording is Charlene Howard who really belts out a slow soul-blues “Send Me Someone To Love.” Flett himself sings and plays guitar on Livin’ Ain’t Easy,” with nice slide guitar as Flett sings fervently with the same never say die attitude that enabled to recover from his serious health issues.
“Louisiana Swamp Stomp” contains a number of first-rate performances and is never less than entertaining. Special kudos to the producers, Paul McCarthy, MD, and Kenny “Beady Eyes” Smith for making this happen and for having this benefit such a worthy cause as the Northern Louisiana Brain and Spinal Cord Injury Foundation whose website is www.brainhelp.org and from which you can purchase this CD.
I received a review copy from a publicity firm for this release.