HAPPY FATS (Leroy LeBlanc) & his Rayne-Bo Ramblers: (1935-1952) and Oran « Doc » Guidry, Louisiana extraordinaires

It has proved difficult to find something on Happy Fats Leroy LeBlanc, although he has been a very popular figure in Louisiana during an half-century. Below is a biography published on the net by All Music (Jason Ankeny).happy fats pic Little did Gilbert and Carrie LeBlanc know, when their baby boy was born on January 30, 1915, that their cheerfully named child would become one of Louisiana’s most recognized Cajun musicians. The music of Happy Fats remains instrumental in both of the preservation and celebration of his native Cajun culture, despite the damage inflicted by a series of race-baiting protest records cut at the peak of the civil rights movement. Born Leroy LeBlanc in Rayne, Acadia Parish, LA, on January 30, 1915, Fats was a self-taught musician who began his professional career at 17 when he began playing accordion in Cajun hillbilly bands led by Amédé Breaux and Joe Falcon. In 1935, he formed his own group, the Rayne-Bo Ramblers, which starred the talents of Eric Arceneaux among others. And regularly headlined the local OST Club. Fats signed to RCA Victor in doc guidry & happy fats1936. In 1937, he played alongside Doc Guidry, and Uncle Ambrose Thibodeaux. Other associates were Luderin Darbonne, Pee Wee Broussard, Doc Guidry, « Papa Cairo » Lamperez, Rex Champagne, and Crawford J. Vincent. He was invited and spoke on many radio stations including: KANE, KEUN, KUOH, KROF, and others. In 1940 he scored his first significant hit, « La Veuve de la Coulee » which featured then-unknown fiddler Harry Choates. The Rayne-Bo Ramblers also served as a springboard for Cajun accordion legend Nathan Abshire in 1935 (« La valse de Riceville« ). Other popular Fats recordings include the traditional « Allons dance Colinda, » « La Vieux de Accordion, » and « Mon Bon Vieux Mari. » Few of his efforts earned national attention, but within south Louisiana he was a superstar, and in the early ’50s even hosted a weekday morning radio show on Lafayette station KVOL. In 1966, however, Fats was the subject of national controversy when he signed to producer Jay D. Miller’s segregationist Reb Rebel label to record the underground smash « Dear Mr. President, » a spoken word condemnation of Lyndon Johnson’s civil rights policies that sold over 200,000 copies despite its appalling racism. « We didn’t have any problems with that, not at all, » Fats maintained in an interview. « There wasn’t anything violent about it — it was just a joke. I had a car of black people run me down on the highway one time coming in Lafayette, and they said, ‘Are you the fellow that made  » Dear Mr. President »?’ I said I was, and they said, ‘We’d like to buy some records.’ They bought about 15 records. There was a big van full of black people and they loved it . . . Either side at that time, they didn’t want integration very much. They wanted to go each their own way. » The commercial success of « Dear Mr. President » launched a series of similarly poisonous Fats efforts including « Birthday Thank You (Tommy from Viet Nam), » « A Victim of the Big Mess (Called the Great Society), » « The Story of the Po’ Folks and the New Dealers, » and « Vote Wallace » in ’72. » After a long battle with diabetes, Fats died on February 23, 1988.   (suite…)

HARRY CHOATES (1922-1951), the Godfather of Cajun music

HARRY CHOATES (1922-1951)

Harry Choates’ musical career differs somewhat from most Cajun artists of the period due to his varied styles, notably that of Western swing and Honky tonk. All of his music was professionnally driven by a smooth fiddle (borrowed and never returned!) that cut through a unique musical home-grown output that is today highly sought after by collectors and listeners alike, who seek to find the music behind one of the originators of modern-day Cajun music.

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Cat music: the roots of rockabilly – What does mean « cat » ?

‘Cat’ has been used as a term in popular music since the Jazz years of the 1920’s. Revered by the ancient Egyptians, cats have a mystique and grace all over their own – no wonder these independent and mysterious animals became such a byword for ‘Cool’ in music from Hep Cats, jazz be-boppers of the ‘40s, and right through into 1950’s Rock’n’Roll.

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Link Davis: The Man With The Buzzin’ Sax

LINK DAVIS

THE MAN WITH THE BUZZIN’ SAX

 

The name LINK DAVIS is well known to the fans of a number of musical styles. Over a period of three decades, he was involved in Western Swing, Hillbilly, Cajun, Rockabilly, Roll and Roll and Blues recordings, either as a recording artist in his own right or as a supporting musician.  LAKE HOUSTON (suite…)

late june 2009 fortnight

Hello again!

This time we’re beginning with a strange item. Carl Story, bluegrass virtuoso, doing Hillbilly Bop with « Whatta Line »(Columbia). then 1955 Rock’n’Roll with Ken Davis « Shook Shake ». Same period with pianist -bandleader Dick Hyman, doing « Rolling the Boogie »(MGM 78 rm). Enjoy the walking basses! Back to Country-rock with the unknown Cuddles C. Newsome (One Little Kiss, nice guitar). Strong guitar bopper with Bill Watkins, out of Cncinnati for « unissued at the time » « Big Guitar » (Lee label). We come to an end with Jimmy Heap out of Abilene, Texas, for Harry Choates’ « Cat’n Around » done Hillbilly Bop style (strong fiddle), and vocal by Perk Williams. Enjoy! Comments?