Willie Tee and Cypress, Legends Making Memories (Jin Records)

Wille Tee and Cypress, Legends Making Memories, Jin Records

Normally Cypress is billed as Warren Storm and Willie Tee & Cypress, but when Storm couldn’t make the recording sessions, Tee enlisted old pals Tommy McLain, Lynn August and Charles Mann, hence establishing his own mini, swamp pop revue. With four vocalists alternating over the course of 16 tracks, it’s one of the most diversified swamp pop platters in recent memory. The husky-voiced Tee croons on half of the 16 tracks, shining the brightest on a pair of finger-poppin’ Fats Domino tunes: “All By Myself” and “What’s That You Got.”

While it’s understandable that McLain’s voice has aged since his signature hit “Sweet Dreams” in 1966, he still manages to put a nice touch on the dreamy “Houston Solution” with producer August emulating a steel guitar on keys. Mann sounds as good as ever, nailing Gene Thomas’ “Sometimes” as well as the infectious “I’m Gonna Love You Back To Loving Me Again” that bounces buoyantly with Karl Bordelon’s keyboards.

Of the guests featured here, August is the biggest surprise — a terrific first generation zydeco stylist who fits in well with this retinue of swamp poppers. Like Mann, August’s pipes are still wonderfully intact, covering a wide spectrum of emotive R&B (“What Am I Living For”), razzle-dazzle zydeco (“It’s My Soul”) and a driving shuffle (“Railroad Blues”). Given the aforementioned, Tee’s superlative sax work and the clear, clean sound, Legends Making Memories should easily contend for swamp pop recording of the year.

  • nikki collins

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    the cd looks