There’s a name for what moves Layayette guitarist C.C. Adcock: Swamp Pop. The South Louisiana hybrid melted early rock and roll, French Cajun, country, Gulf Coast blues and New Orleans R&B, and produced several hits for regional artists like Johnnie Allan, Warren Storm, Tommy McLain and Belton Richard.
Swamp Pop was as earthy as its name implies, yet it also had a tender side, especially in the hands of supergroup Cookie and the Cupcakes. A few Swamp Pop tunes-most notably Phil Phillip’s “Sea of Love”- live on in remakes to this day.
But unlike Cajun and zydeco music, there has really been no Swamp Pop revival to date.
Only a couple younger cats are interpreting the sound for another generation – Danny Collet, File, and other Cajun-based performers cover some Swamp Pop ground, and the Iguanas usually throw a handful of tunes into a night, as well.
But while many of the best figures of Swamp Pop continue to play around Lafayette on a regular basis, they are often over-looked come festival time.
(Quick! Name a Swamp Pop act at Jazz Fest this year.)
Enter Adcock, who has just released an eponymous debut album on Polygram. In making his album, the Lafayette guitarist-who has worked with Buckwheat Zydeco and Bo DiddIey – decided to use a different set of back-up musicians for almost every cut. His crew includes such Swamp Pop friends and heroes as Storm, McLain, the Boogie Kings, File’s Ward Lormand and members of both Boozoo Chavis’ band and the Creole Zydeco Farmers. Adcock inserts a certain rockabilly restlessness of his own, upping the ante on such classics as Art Neville’s “I’m Just a Fool To Care.” His own compositions tend to get a little nutty, including “Kissing Kouzans,” a shameless defense of intrafamiliarity. My favorite cut was the last: “Done Most Everything,” on which Adcock, Tommy Mclain and the Boogie Kings extol the pleasures of living on the coast – “the GULF coasl, my boy.”
Adcock will be performing at the Howlin’ Wolf on April 2 and also with Melissa Etheridge at the House of Blues on April 12 in a benefit for Odyssey House. If you want to hear some of the originiil swamp acts, try Warren Storm’s show at the Back to Back (two clubs in one) in Lafayette.
The Boogie Kings also have their own new release on Jin Records, Louisiana Country Soul. Selections range from an encyclopedic listing of the genre’s greats called “I Love That Swamp Pop Music” to the title track, which is a breathless ode to bad dancing. The Boogie Kings earn their reputation as one of the state’s most fun bands – where else could you hear covers of Kris Kristofferson, James Brown and Hank Williams by the same group?
Congratulations to the Blue runners for their successful show at the recent South by Southwest music convention in Austin, where they debuted songs from their new album, The Chateau Chuck. The zyde-thrash band’s appearance was noted in the Dallas Morning News as a highlight of the weekend event.
Bands who appeared with the Bluerunners on the zydeco-accented lineup included San
Francisco’s Those Darn Accordions!, Austin’s the Vanguards and Los Rock Angels from East L.A.
Geno Delafose opened the night and also played a showcase at the conference.
Don’t miss Zydeco Force’s second Maison de Soul release, Zydeco Push. According to band-leader Robby Robinson, the title song was written so a pair of Ville Platte dancers “could express their movements to their fullest.” The album is bursting with great originals and covers of Clifton Chenier, the Staples Singers and Lightnin’ Hopkins and-unless I heard wrong–a guest appearance by a chipmunky voice that someone calls Alvin. Highly recommended.
And Zydeco Dance Party (GNP Crescendo) will especially appeal to Queen Ida fans – along with the monarch herself, the compilation features brother AI Lewis (aka AI Rapone) and son Myrick “Freeze” Guillory. Tracks by Clifton Chenier and Rockin’ Dopsie are also included.
April festivals include the Cajun French Music Association Festival in Eunice on April 17.