The world will probably end before swamp pop fades into the sunset. Performances like this can’t hurt either as Louisiana’s Callin’ will likely have a long shelf life. Though most of this will be familiar to long-time listeners of swamp pop, Sartain puts a fresh spin on things through his energy, dead-on rock ‘n’ roll guitar playing, and vocals that recall the tamer elements of Wayne Toups and Delbert McClinton’s vocal styles. The arrangements are plump with horns that roll, stroll and stop on a dime, and Tim Alexander’s accordion playing is novel in places, such as “The Fantasy is Over” with its strong Tex-Mex flavoring. Of the disc’s two originals, the rollicking title track is a perfect fit since the native Texan relocated to the Crescent City after this record was in the can.
This album could have been titled Sartain Sings Rod Bernard since five tracks were penned by the first-generation swamp pop legend, and 11 tracks—originals and covers alike—were culled from Bernard’s 1999 CSP Records A Louisiana Tradition that shares six studio musicians with Louisiana’s Callin’. Still, Bernard’s songs are of quality stock and needed to surface again, only this time with more emotion and warmth.