Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Moving South - Swamp Pop

Thanks to 9 years in Dallas , I was fortunate to get to know a lot about Louisiana ( known by some Texans as Lousyana , an opinion not shared by your humble correspondent ) .

From Wikipedia ( Find out more here

The swamp pop sound is typified by highly emotional, lovelorn lyrics, tripleting honky-tonk pianos, undulating bass lines, bellowing horn sections and a strong rhythm and blues backbeat. It is exemplified by slow ballads like Cookie and the Cupcakes’ “Mathilda” (recorded 1958), considered by many fans as the unofficial swamp pop “anthem.” But the genre has also produced many upbeat compositions, such as Bobby Charles’ “Later Alligator” (1955), popularly covered by Bill Haley & His Comets.[2]
During the genre’s heyday (1958-1964), several swamp pop songs appeared on national U.S. record charts. These included Jimmy Clanton's “Just A Dream” (1958), Warren Storm’s “Prisoner’s Song” (1958), Phil Phillips’ “Sea Of Love” (1959), Rod Bernard’s “This Should Go On Forever” (1959), Joe Barry's “I’m A Fool To Care” (1960), and Dale and Grace's “I’m Leaving It Up To You” (1963).[3]
In swamp pop’s south Louisiana-southeast Texas birthplace, fans regarded many songs that never became national hits as classics. These include Johnnie Allan’s “Lonely Days, Lonely Nights” (1958), Buck Rogers’ “Crazy Baby” (1959), Randy and the Rockets’ “Let’s Do The Cajun Twist” (1962), T. K. Hulin’s “I’m Not A Fool Anymore” (1963), and Clint West’s “Big Blue Diamonds” (1965), among numerous others.[4]

Here are some of the sounds you may already know and some you may have missed

Bobby Charles ( Robert Charles Guidry )

Cookie and The Cupcakes ( AKA The Twilights)

Phil Phillips
John Phillip Baptiste, 14 March 1931, Lake Charles, Louisiana, USA. Phillips wrote his one hit, "Sea Of Love", to impress a would-be girlfriend in 1958. He was introduced to producer George Khoury, who recorded the song at the Goldband Recording Studio and released it on his own label, credited to Phil Phillips And The Twilights and you ask who were the Twilights .
 Look no further than the Cookie and the Cupcakes augmented by Katie Webster on piano .

Katie Webster
The piano player on Sea of Love
A live performance - Terrific Musician

T K Hulin

Rod Bernard

From New Orleans
Earl King

Clarence "Frogman" Henry
A Bobby Charles Song

More later and a trip through Louisiana and up to Shreveport for Jewel records and even a look at the Louisiana Hayride .


  1. Don't forget John Fred and the Playboys as well as the Stampleys out of Shreveport, who were coming up to Tyler to record at Robbins studio there in the mid-Sixties.

  2. Also don't forget Charles Page & The Rockin Aces from Lake Charles Goldband recording, Searching for Love, 1961. It can be heard on You Tube. I played Bass.