Various Artists, “Swamp Pop by the Bayou: Let’s Get Together Tonight” (Ace Records)

reviews-swamppopbythebayouThis is the eighth release in this series of Ace CDs celebrating the indigenous rock ’n’ roll and R&B of South Louisiana and East Texas. Among the 28 rare and vintage tracks, one will find a few familiar names (Warren Storm, Rod Bernard, Jivin’ Gene, the Boogie Kings), but the majority are complete unknowns—Everett Daigle and the Tune Tones, Robert Owens and the Owens Singers. Unknowns or not, these are healthy servings of classic swamp pop. The set gets in motion with the incomparable Rocket Morgan ballad “Whatcha Gonna Do?” (Morgan of course is best known for the rocker “You Humbuggin’ Me.”) No less brilliant is the wetland weeper “This Life I Live.” (The mournful guitar break on this track is to die for.) Two other Morgan tracks are included here, and to be honest, most of the rest of this collection doesn’t quite measure up. One track that does, though, is the Texas Guitar Slim (Johnny Winter) instrumental treat of Buck Rogers’ “Crazie Baby.” Several of the lesser-known tracks are blatant—and slight humorous—emulations of Fats Domino. Include Hal Young’s “I’m Falling For You Darling” and “I’ll Be Coming Home To You” in that category. So too are Jivin’ Gene’s “Go On, Go On” as well as Doug Ardoin and the Boogie Kings’ “Lost Love.” Of the three Warren Storm efforts, the best is the J. D. Miller upbeat composition “Thank You So Much.” Of course there’s a swamp pop track with a girl’s name in it, and that would be Vince Anthony’s lament “Lucy Lou.” Standard great Ace package—well researched, scans of rare 45s and as always several vintage photos. If you’re familiar with this series, or have a hankering for old-school swamp pop, you might want to seek this one out. In fact, I’d say it’s worth the price of admission just for the Rocket Morgan selections. Thankfully several of these artists are still active and have appeared at the Ponderosa Stomp.