Saturday, October 07, 2017

Ponderosa Stomp blows up a storm

Hurricane Nate has blown away the second evening of the Ponderosa Stomp as there is a 6pm curfew today. But there's been much to enjoy so far. The first two days featured conference sessions on a variety of topics, all of which were of interest. The first day included a session on music in Bourbon Street in the 60s, with Gorge Porter Jr, and this was followed by a discussion of gospel label Rosemont with Al Taylor, Andrew Jackson and James Williams. There were some amusing memories of South Rampart Street by Deacon John, who gave vivid descriptions of the tailors, pawn shops and bars, and a really interesting session on Mary Jane Hooper, a soul singer who recorded with Allan Toussaint and Eddie Bo. Soul man Winfield Parker from Baltimore reminisced about his records and touring with Little Richard, while Willie West recalled his early days in Louisiana as a member of the Sharks and his swamp pop/soul career including a spell as vocalist with the Meters - an interview moderated by John Broven. Maggie Lewis joined husband Alton Warwick and members of swamp pop group the Riff Raffs in a discussion on Ram Records of Shreveport, while the day finished with the Ragin' Cajun Doug Kershaw.
Day two's interviews began with a John Broven interview with Sam Montelbano, the man behind the Montel and Michele labels, and there was an emotional session about Norton Records and co-founder  Billy Miller with his partner Miriam Linna, Deke Dickerson and Michael Hurtt. Other sessions included Evie Sands, a singer who missed out when other acts such as the Hollies and Merralee Rush covered her songs, a great life story of Reggie Young, a man whose brilliant guitar work can be heard on dozens of soul Revords, introduced by Red Kelly, the life of Keep A Knockin' drummer Charles Connor, amusing memories of Rufus Thomas by his daughters Carla and Vaneese, and a hilarious session with Gary US Bonds.
The first evening's live music, and as it turned out the only one, was terrific. After some blues from Billy Boy Arnold, there was some swamp pop from T K Hulin, who was good on I Got Loaded and Say Girl, and G G Shinn, who was a little dull I thought. Warren Storm then did a couple of numbers, including Lonely Lonely Nights and Prisoners Song. The next four acts were all excellent. Willie West got into gear with The Greatest Love and Don't Be Ashamed To Cry. Winfield Parker, dressed in sparkly jacket and gold shoes, danced around the stage and was excellent on SOS, Rocking In The Barnyard and They Call Me Mr Clean. There was more dancing from Archie Bell on hits such as Gonna Be A Showdown and Tighten Up and a song called Strategy. The best was yet to come with the Gulf Coast soul queen Barbara Lynn on Got A Good Thing Going, Don't Be Cruel, You'll Lose A Good Thing, Sugar Coated Love and a duet with Evie Sands. Roy Head, now recovered from illness, was as wild as ever on Treat Her Right, Just A Little Bit and My Babe. And Doug Kershaw was superb, and equally wild, on Diggy Diggy Do, Louisiana Man, Cajun Joe and others. Overall a great night of obscure music. Long may the Stomp survive. And two fingers to Nate. Dr Ike is arranging some additional day time shows so all is not lost.


At 1:45 pm , Blogger Brian Phillips said...

Thanks for the summary! I was not able to attend the second night, so this really filled the knowledge gap!

- Electro-Phonic Brian


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