Setting out on the “By The Bayou” journey, I didn’t envisage reaching CD 12. The project started as a vehicle for white Louisiana rockers, but exploration of the tape vaults of J.D. Miller and the catalogues of Eddie Shuler’s Goldband, Floyd Soileau’s Jin, Sam Montelbano’s Montel and Joe Ruffino’s Ric and Ron labels revealed more than enough great vocal group material to fill a dedicated CD. So here is a collection of chanting rockers and sweet harmonies, rather overlooked as ingredients which go into the rich gumbo of South Louisiana music of the 50s.

Cookie & His Cupcakes, the best known of the featured artists, contribute a top-notch cover of Jivin’ Gene’s swamp pop classic ‘Breaking Up Is Hard To Do’ – pure gold in this context. The groups backing solo artists Sticks Herman, Charlie Morris, Sonny Martin, Tabby Thomas and Katie Webster may well have been brought in especially by Shuler or Miller but it is highly likely they were musicians hanging around the studios looking for a gig. This happened all the time in the 50s and 60s in South Louisiana – read in the liner notes how Henry Clement ended up playing harmonica on an early Lightnin’ Slim disc.

Thanks to documents found in the Miller vaults and interviews with “Little” Henry Clement, it’s quite satisfying to be able to clear up some of the confusion regarding the Gaynotes and Little Henry and his Dewdrops. On the other hand, some of the tape boxes we discovered were marked merely “male vox”, “black group” or “group”, so we may never know who comprised the Hi-Fi’s, the Velvetiers or the Raves. Suffice it to say they could all rock or doo wop with the best of them.

Ian Saddler


01 Feelin’ Right Saturday Night – The Velvetiers

02 Tender And Tall – Unknown group

03 I Cried – Sonny Martin

04 I Need Your Loving – Charles Morris

05 Help Me – The Del-Chords

06 Cry Weeping Willow – Henry Clement

07 Give Me Your Love – Sticks Herman

08 Calimo – Unknown group

09 Plea Of Love – The Gaynotes

10 Tall Skinny Mama – Henry Clement

11 Lookin’ And Searchin’ – Sonny Martin

12 Waiting In The Chapel – The Gaynotes

13 What Have I Done Wrong – Little Henry

14 Oh Baby – The Velvetiers

15 Tell Me One More Time – The Raves

16 The Natural Thing To Do – Sticks Herman with The Gateway Quartet & Golden Tone Combo

17 Brother Brown – Tabby Thomas

18 Jenny Jenny Jenny – Little Henry

19 Married Too Soon – The Gaynotes

20 Oh Baby – Unknown Group

21 I’m So Lonely – The Hi-Fi’s

22 Some Other Time – Sonny Martin

23 The Snake – The Gaynotes

24 My Dear – The Hi-Fi’s

25 Please, Please Darling – Henry Clement

26 Sea Of Love – Katie Webster

27 Breaking Up Is Hard To Do – Cookie & His Cupcakes

28 Billy The Kid – The Raves

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