Swamp Pop by the Bayou: Troubles, Tears & Trains

Swamp Pop by the Bayou: Troubles, Tears & Trains


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Thirteen volumes into Ace's seemingly endless series of R&B, soul, blues, and rock & roll culled from Louisiana and East Texas indies in the '50s and '60s, this is the second specializing in swamp pop. In some ways it bests its predecessor, because compiler/producer Ian Saddler keeps expanding his purview beyond the vaults of J.D. Miller and Huey P. Meaux. Troubles, Tears & Trains also has sides recorded by Joe Ruffino, Murray Nash, Pappy Daily, Eddie Shuler, and other record men, and it also has unreleased sides initially recorded for Mercury, which means this digs very deep into obscure corners of bayou rock & roll. Some of these names are regional stars -- Warren Storm, who had a double-disc compilation released on Ace in 2015, John Fred, Johnny Preston, Dale Houston, and Roy Perkins -- but most of these names are obscure (and one is even unknown), but the selling point is not the acts themselves, but the sound. This stuff simply smokes: these bands kick out a Fats Domino-inspired beat, sometimes sticking pretty close to the rhumba boogie, sometimes turning up the heat and rocking with a sense of abandon. Occasionally, these cuts have a clever hook that help separate the 45 from the pack -- Preston's "Satan in Satin," Houston's "(Big Bad) City Police" -- but even if the side does nothing more than cook, it's still a gas.

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