Selwyn Cooper & The Hurricane Blues BandLouisiana Swamp Blues, with special guests: Gordon Wills & Harmonica Red
SONO 10481. The Cat is Back2.The Sky is Crying3. Squallin '4. Put My Trust in You5. Woke Up This Morning6. Hurricane Blues7. Kansas City8. Ain 't No Use9. Mathilda10. Rock Me Baby11. Mardi Gras in New Orleans12. Crazy Mama13. Hit the Big Time14. EuropaThe Singers & PlayersGuitar & Vocals-Selwyn CooperOrgan & Vocals-Gordon WillsHarp-George “"Harmonica Red " HeardDrums-Patrick JohnsonBass-Vern Lagneaux
From the same South Louisiana swamps from which sprang Guitar Gable, King Karl, Cookie & The Cupcakes, Buckwheat Zydeco, Cliffton Chenier, Rockin’' Dopsie, Lil Bob & The Lollipops, Bobby Charles, Phil Phillips, Guitar Slim, now gives us Selwyn Cooper.Selwyn, a master of the Louisiana swamp blues guitar, has gathered some of his South Louisiana friends to help present some new songs and refresh a few of the standards. Also, Selwyn has had Gordon Wills to record his version of the South Louisiana anthem “"Mathilda”" as a tribute to the late Cookie Thierry, leader of Cookie & The Cupcakes.Selwyn played guitar for Clifton Chenier until 1987, then he rejoined Buckwheat Zydeco, playing concerts across the USA and Europe. Selwyn later hooked up with Rockin’' Dopsie, sharing the picking duties with another guitar legend, Paul “"Lil Buck”" Senagal. For a singing guitar player, it was inevitable that Selwyn would form his own group. It is not difficult to find quality musicians in South Louisiana and great players always attract other fine musicians. Selwyn recorded his Zydeco Hurricanes group for Mardi Gras Records in 1994. After the success of that recording, Selwyn has been performing many dates playing various styles of music to entertain different audiences. Now, Selwyn has lined up some great talent for his “"Louisiana Swamp Blues”" album on Sound Of New Orleans. His old partner, drummer Patrick Johnson, veteran of many South Louisiana groups, provides the kick throughout the album. Much of the exciting rhythm in South Louisiana swamp pop comes from the many drummers that seem to rise up out of the South Louisiana swamps!Bass players can make or break a record, so Selwyn took no chances, he brought in Vern Lagneaux to lay the foundation for this recording. Vern comes from one of South Louisiana’'s musical families and adds to the reputation of Southern bass players.Great keyboard players are easy to find. Selwyn chose Gordon Wills, who has played with many of South Louisiana’'s finest groups . From the Boogie Kings have come some of the best: Brian Leger, Johnny Giordano, and Gordon is no exception. Gordon is an artist on the Hammond Organ, using the Leslie switch and drawbars much like a guitar player “"bends”" the strings. Gordon also has two very interesting vocals on this album. The rhythmic “"Crazy Mama”" has a South Louisiana touch added to the JJ Cale classic. A real treat is Gordon’'s tribute to Cookie Thierry. “"Mathilda”" has long been a South Louisiana dance hall standard, the band can not quit without singing “"Mathilda!”" Gordon’'s version is respectful of the original flavor, and adds a little spice of his own. This maybe be the “"sleeper”" hit of the album.Many people feel that a blues album is not for real without a harmonica! Selwyn Cooper has gone “"one up”" on that requirement by having George “"Harmonica Red”" Heard wailing away on thirteen of the fourteen tracks. “"Red”" is a veteran of the swamp blues, having played on all of the Clarence Edwards swamp blues albums. “"Red”" is also traveling with Big Al & The Heavyweights Blues Band besides his session work.Percussion us always critical to keeping the groove alive and producer/arranger Gary Edwards is an integral part of the rhythm section that has this album kicking from start to finish!The new songs presented on this album show Selwyn Cooper’'s strength as a musician, his cleverness as a songwriter, and his unique vocal style. Hot playing can be heard on every track, but “"overplaying”" is not a problem. The producer acknowledges that he had to encourage Selwyn to add guitar parts to the tracks, Selwyn was a little shy in not wanting to feature his guitar over the other fine players on this album. The listener can judge the wisdom of the producer’'s advice.