Monday, August 17, 2009
a dude with as cool a name as "Smokey Blue"
Herman E. Johnson & Smoky Babe - Louisiana Country Blues (listen) I've considered trying to get a job at Arhoolie - they really do the best job of documenting the fading culture of Louisiana without draining the blood out of it. Like this record, culled from two vinyl releases recorded here in the Baton Rouge area by Harry Oster in the early 1960's (more info from the label's website.) One of the first stories I did for 225 Magazine was a short profile about Harry Oster (here), an LSU English professor that saw the culture of Louisiana as a thing worth preserving and set out with a tape machine to do just that in the sixties. It is doubtful anyone would remember a dude with as cool a name as "Smokey Blue" and countless other artists were it not for Mr. Oster jumping the wall between the races, and subsequently we in Louisiana might not have the sense of who we are culturally without his efforts. Plus, this stuff is good:
Jimmy "C" Newman - The Cajun Country Music of a Louisiana Man - Wrap your brain around the cover of this record: the Nudie suit, the paneling globe motif, the mysterious quotes around his middle initial. In Cajun country, every man of import has a nickname set off in quotes, but I'm guessing the "C" is just his middle initial.
Here he is singing about "Boudin" on TV. He defines boudin to be a form of jambalaya, which it isn't at all - jambalaya is a rice dish with sausage in it; boudin is sausage with pork and rice in it. Great stuff, song and dish both, nonetheless.