Monday, October 31, 2016


Victoria Spivey • Dirty T.B. Blues • 1929

Victoria Spivey, vocal; Henry Allen, trumpet; J. C. Higginbotham, trombone; Charlie Holmes, soprano sax; Teddy Hill, tenor sax; Luis Russell, piano; Will Johnson, guitar; Pops Foster, double bass. New York City, 1 October 1929

Image: YouTube

Friday, October 28, 2016


Here’s Nathan Abshire and his Pine Grove Boys, with steel player Darius LeBlanc taking the vocal on the old Joe Werner tune, “Wondering.”

Nathan Abshire & The Pine Grove Boys • Wondering • 1958

Rear photo: (left to right) Darius LeBlanc, Cleveland “Cat” Deshotel, Thomas Langley, Nathan Abshire, Junior Benoit. c.late 1950s. Front photo: Thomas Langley, “Cat” Deshotel, Darius LeBlanc. c.late 1950s. Photos and label shot courtesy of Lyle Ferbrache.

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

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.

Friday, October 14, 2016


“Dear God, it’s late. I hope I didn’t get you up . . .
You see, God . . . my daddy needs straightening out. . . .”

Porter Wagoner • Little Boy’s Prayer • 1970

Find it: The Rubber Room

Monday, October 10, 2016


I feel like cryin’, ain’t got no tears to spare
I had a happy home and I wouldn’t stay there

Mattie Delaney • Down The Big Road Blues • 1930

LP cover: American Music

Sunday, October 09, 2016


Somewhere around 1970 I played this Terry Clément track along with a few others for a Louisiana transplant in Richmond, Virginia, and he sniffily told me it wasn’t Cajun music, it was rock’n’roll. Whatever it was/is, it’s a good one, and everyone involved is fully letting the bon temps roll.

(We’re re-upping this as we got a nice comment from WF, who knows what he’s talking about, and also the audio link is now updated. It was originally posted in 2014.)

Terry Clement & His Rhythmic Five

Terry Clément, accordion; Purvis Clément, vocal/fiddle; Marshall Arceneaux, guitar; Ronnie Goudreaux, drums; Jerry Dugas, steel guitar.

Friday, October 07, 2016


Alex Bradford with Bessie Griffin

Get it: Rainbow in the Sky

Image: All Music

Monday, October 03, 2016

Saturday, October 01, 2016


For Better, Or Worse, released yesterday, is a latter day follow up to John Prine’s similar 1999 set, In Spite of Ourselves. Both albums feature Prine duetting with various female country and folkie singers. I didn’t really care for the original set overall, something about John Prine’s vocals not quite doing it for me on a program of classic C&W songs, though I did like some of his duet partners. . . .

I’ve listened to For Better, Or Worse through a couple of times and pretty much liked it. (Going to have to revisit In Spite of Ourselves.) Our featured song here, “Who’s Gonna Take the Garbage Out,” with Iris DeMent may or may not be the best song on the album, too early to tell, but it sure is engaging, it’s also pretty funny and DeMent gives as good as she gets. (And it’s also a cover of Ernest Tubb and Loretta Lynn’s charming 1969 original.)

John Prine with Iris DeMent