Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Monday, October 24, 2016


When the sun rose this mornin’, I was diggin’ those clarinet blues. . . .

Will Day • Sunrise Blues • 1928

Will Day, vocal; unknown clarinet and guitar. New Orleans, 25 April 1928

Sunday, October 23, 2016


Nathan Abshire is, along with Iry LeJeune and Lawrence Walker, one of the greatest Cajun accordion players and singers of all time. Though Abshire made a small handful of records in the prewar era, it was beginning in 1949 with his recording of “Pine Grove Blues” that he rose to fame, if not fortune, in South Louisiana. He made a number of recordings of his big hit “Pine Grove Blues” over the years, all truly fine; here’s one he recorded in later years with the Balfa Brothers for the LP market.

The Balfa Brothers Orchestra with Nathan Abshire • Pine Grove Blues • 1973

Photo of Nathan Abshire courtesy of Lyle Ferbrache and Louisiana Music

Friday, October 21, 2016


This 1958 edition of “Odds & Ends” will take us “beyond the sea” in more ways than one as you will shortly see. Or hear. Nineteen fifty-eight was a phenomenal year for all types of popular music, as our twelve top tunes will attest. Stay with us as we spin gold out of plastic. First up: Jimmy Clanton and the Rockets.

Jimmy Clanton & His Rockets • Just a Dream • 1958

Wednesday, October 19, 2016


Rockin’ Sidney Simien had a brief blast of international fame with his self-produced (he also played all the instruments) 1985 single “My Toot Toot.” It was released on Maison de Soul, became a huge regional hit and was leased out to Epic where it became an international million seller, won a Grammy, and generated dozens of cover versions by artists as diverse as Fats Domino and John Fogerty. Rockin’ Sidney used some of his royalties to buy a radio station and entertainment complex in Lake Charles, Louisiana, and started his own record label, ZBC. He continued to tour the U.S. and Europe for many years thereafter; he passed away in 1998. 

Rockin’ Sidney • My Toot Toot • 1984

Monday, October 17, 2016


Skip James • Crow Jane • 1966

Get it: Skip James Today!

Sunday, October 16, 2016


Staple Singers • Too Close • 1960

Get it: The Ultimate Staple Singers: A Family Affair 1955–1984; also, the medley from which this performance is excerpted, comprising “Too Close,” “I’m On My Way Home,” “I’m Coming Home,” and “He’s Alright” can be found on Faith & Grace: A Family Journey 1953–1976.