I’m going right back to the early dys of my youth. I was about fifteen-years-old when I came across an album called Swamp Blues and was introduced to the Excello Label and the blues delights of Slim Harpo, Lazy Lester, Lonesome Sundown and Lightnin’ Slim. Those names conjure up such images.
Swamp Blues was earthy, seminal and had an infectious, lazy Jimmy Reed beat. I loved it.
I did get to see Lazy Lester perform but the majestic Slim Harpo went and died on me! I did get to visit his grave in Louisiana though where I paid my respects.
They are great. Today I shall immerse myself in that hypnotic beat and pretend I’m fifteen again, lying on my bed in my little bedroom in Walton-on-Thames on the Thames delta, listening to the music of some wonderful black guys all the way from the swamps and bayous of Louisiana. Marvellous!
This is where the Kinks and Stones got it from!
Slim Harpo – Buzzin’ The Blues [The Complete Slim Harpo CD 3 ] – YouTube
Slim Harpo – Buzzin’ The Blues [The Complete Slim Harpo CD 2] – YouTube
To get to see Lazy Lester is remarkable!! A real icon!!
This is an easy one. Way back in the 60s I discovered this wonderful album called Swamp Blues. It featured all these guys. They recorded down in Louisiana in bayou country – swamp country. There stuff was on the Excello label produced by J.D. Jay Miller and has a distinctive swampy feel based around that infectious Jimmy Reed beat. I loved it.
I loved those names too. They were magical! That album was special.
Then my daughter moved to Baton Rouge with her job and I was able to check it all out. I tracked down Slim Harpos grave!
Back in London I found Lazy Lester playing in some obscure club and took my youngest son along to see him. A great evening!
The swamp Blues was important. It was covered by the Stones, Kinks and Yardbirds! But the originals are best!
Swamp Blues has always been a favourite of mine. I fell in love with an album called Swamp Blues in 1965. The names alone – Slim Harpo, Lazy Lester, Lightnin Slim, Lonesome Sundown and Whispering Smith seemed to say it all. They were recordings from the fabulous Excello Label produced by JD Jay Miller in Louisiana.
They were favourites of the Sixties Beat groups too – the Kinks, Stones and Yardbirds did their share.
I never got to see any of them perform. Most are dead now. But then Lazy Lester had a gig in London in 2012 and I took my younger son to see a legend)
I was fortunate enough not only to see a great concert but to crash a photo session and have a chat with the man himself. He was a bit cantankerous but he let me in and that is great. The man’s a legend – he not only produced the brilliant ‘I’m A Lover Not a Fighter’ himself but backed most of the other big names and even a lot of Country & Western Stars.
True to form he did a searing set but refused to play his only hit!
Here’s the photo’s I took.
Well I’ve just spent a great afternoon playing 50s R&B with Mike Green. He used to be the roadie and minder for Kossof and Free, Trower and Bad Company. He loves his music.
We had fun playing all the old songs and putting together our next radio show.
After much debate we put together the following track list with a view to:
a. What we both liked
Screaming Jay Hawkins
Don and Dewey
Little Willie John
We were heartbroken that we had to drop James Brown, Barrett Strong and the Contours.
There were a thousand other essentials that we did not get too. But we loved what we had got.
Our Psychedelic one goes out on radio tomorrow. Hope the people in intensive care enjoy it!
Lazy Lester was brilliant when I saw him recently. The strange thing was that he did not play ‘I’m a Lover not a Fighter’.
He was a bit surly in the photo session though!