Mention Nashville and the first thing that enters most minds will be Country Music and the Grand Ole Opry. Then again, for true believers the city is also the nation’s centre for Bible publishing. Perhaps less well-known but in striking contrast to God and double-knit suits is that throughout the late 1940s and 1950s, Nashville was also the home of a thriving blues and R&B recording industry. Principal among the labels were Bullet, Republic, Tennessee, Nashboro and Excello, with a welter of smaller ones such as World, Mecca, J-B and Cheker.
Hardly have we savoured the full taste of “Rhythm ’n’ Bluesin’ By The Bayou” than here comes another bucketful of steaming South Louisiana gumbo and this time it’s “Bluesin’ By The Bayou” – a spicy mix of guitars, harmonicas, and even the occasional accordion, accompanying those tales of despair or machismo that are the recipe for the blues. All the tracks stem from the studios of J.D. Miller in Crowley and Eddie Shuler in Lake Charles. These two men were wonders at spotting talent and getting the best out of the performers, as illustrated on the 28 tracks on this CD.
The second “Bluesin’” volume in the “By The Bayou” series concentrates on musicians from South Louisiana and South East Texas discovered and recorded by J.D. Miller and Eddie Shuler. These two giants of the post-war recording scene were supreme talent-spotters. They knew the sounds that appealed to the local record-buying public, their target audience. What they couldn’t have known, or even guessed at in their wildest fantasies, was that the appeal of their recordings would last so long and encompass the globe.
Letting the good times roll again, with this second visit to the dynamic South Louisiana R&B scene there is no waver in the quality of music. We’ve added the work of another Louisiana record man, Sam Montel from Baton Rouge, to the vast stockpile of material in the vaults of J.D. Miller, Eddie Shuler, Floyd Soileau and Jake Graffagnino. Sam (originally Montalbano) got into the music business when his childhood friend Jimmy Clanton hit the charts. Sam became his road manager and the whole scene got into his blood. He decided to start his own record label when only 18 years old. His first release, Lester Robertson’s ‘My Girl Across Town’, is included here, as is a previously unissued outing from Robertson.