Floyd Cramer ft. Chet Atkins

Fiddlin’ Around

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TESTO - Floyd Cramer - Fiddlin’ Around


TESTO - Floyd Cramer - Fiddlin’ Around

The music of Louisiana is one of the most varied in this collection of Songs of the South, and consists of Country, Creole, Zydeco, Cajun, New Orleans Jazz, New Orleans Blues, Swamp Rock and Swamp Blues. We're going to roam pretty far afield from country music, but stay with me on this; it's an amazing range of music to find packed into just one state. As they say in New Orleans, "En ce qui concerne les gens , la nourriture et la musique , la variété est le piment de la vie." (When it comes to people, food and music, variety is the spice of life.") So "laissez le bon ton roulet". (Let the good times roll.)

Songs About Louisiana

One of the oldest songs about the state is "Lakes of Pontchartrain", a folk song from around the time of the War of 1812. Not nearly so old, but a song that tells a story from Louisiana's early statehood is Johnny Horton's "Battle of New Orleans". Perhaps the most famous song associated with the state is by two-time Governor of Louisiana, Jimmie Davis, who wrote and recorded "You Are My Sunshine", one of the official state songs.

Other famous songs about the state include Randy Newman's "Louisiana 1927", Leon Russell's "Jambalaya (on the Bayou)", although old-timers prefer the Hank Williams Sr. version, Hank Williams Jr's "Cajun Baby", Mel Mc
Daniel's "Louisiana Saturday Night", and Doug Kershaw's "Calling Baton Rouge".

Some of the most famous rock songs about Louisiana are from Creedence Clearwater Revival. While the band isn't from Louisiana, they sure sounded like it. Two that fit this collection are "Proud Mary" and "Born on the Bayou". The Animals' version of the traditional folk song, "House of the Rising Sun" is certainly well known. Lucinda Williams' "Cresent City" and Sonny Landreth's "Back to Bayaou Teche" may be less well known, but are equally good, as is this version of "Lady Marmalada" by Christina Auguilera, Pink, Lil' Kim and Mya.

Songs About New Orleans

Starting with songs that celebrate Mardi Gras, Dr. John's "Goin' Back to New Orleans", the Preservation Hall Jazz Band's "Tootie Ma", a brass band version of Jelly Roll Morton's "New Orleans Blues", Fats Domino's "The Fat Man" and Louis Armstrong's "When the Saints Go Marching In" will give you a taste of what New Orleans jazz is all about. But the list gets even more eclectic. Fats Domino does it in R&B with "Walkin' to New Orleans", and Them does it in blues with the Big Joe Williams' song, "Baby, Please Don't Go". Finally, Sonny Landreth sums-up the spirit of New Orleans with "Levee Town".

Hurricane Katrina and it's aftermath exposed the terrible response of FEMA and the true politics of the Bush Administration. Those attitudes get skewered in Bruce Springsteen's cover of "How Can a Poor Man Stand such Times and Live?", Bob Dylan's variation on the Memphis Minnie song "The Levee's Gonna Break" and Steve Earle's "This City".

Country Music
Country Music in Louisiana is heavily influenced by Cajun and blues music. It's played on the fiddle, guitar and other string instruments, and like it's influencers, It's bold and expressive. Representative of the Louisiana Country sound is Lucinda Williams' "Louisiana Man", Jerry Reed's "Amos Moses", Sammy Kershaw's "Third Rate Romance", George Strait's "Adalida", Mary Chapin Carpenter's "Down at the Twist and Shout", and Black Water Bride's "Over You".

Creole Music

The Creole fiddle arrived in South Louisiana in the 17th century, coming ashore with French-speaking Africans from Saint-Domingue. The performance of Creole fiddle takes a lot of its cues from the African banjo. The 1950s brought Zydeco to the forefront, with its big accordion sound, eclipsing Creole music. But Creole lives on in the homes and small clubs of Louisiana, and some argue it's a better representation of its original than present day Zydeco. Some great Creole music can be heard in
Cedric Watson's "La Vieille Chanson De Mardi Gras" and in the legendary Canray Fontenot's "Les Barres De La Prison".

Zydeco Music

Zydeco developed in southwest Louisiana by French Creole speakers, and blends blues with R&B. Gid Tanner and the Skillet Lickers were the first to have their music recorded in 1929 with "It Ain't Gonna Rain No Mo". Zydeco is sometimes described as polka music, but that's really just the accordion. If you listen closely, what you'll hear is the blues. Performances rely on the back beat, with modern bands adding a double-kick bass drum to emphasize the syncopation. The accordion almost always plays some blues licks, and the guitars echo that. Listen to Boozoo Chavis hit a groove with "Uncle Bud", and Clifton Chenier sing "Tu Le Ton Son Ton" and "Ay Tete Fee".

Cajun Music

Cajun music is one of the oldest forms of music in Louisiana. The French people who settled in Acadia, Nova Scotia, brought with them the music rooted in medieval France. After their expulsion by the British in 1755, many of them migrated to southern Louisiana. There, these "Acadians" encountered and intermarried with other ethnic groups, fostering their evolution into "the Cajuns". By the late 19th century, they adopted the accordion into their music. While it fell out of favor for a while in in the first half of the 20th century, it came back in 1964 when Dewey Balfa performed at the Newport Folk festival. Cajun music has enjoyed growing popularity since then, and is represented by Doug Kersahaw, with "Louisiana Man", Dewey Balfa with "Jai Ete Au Bal", and the Lost Bayou Ramblers with "Blue Moon Special". But no discussion of Cajun would fail to mention "Jole Blon". It's practically the Cajun national anthem. The version here is by Waylon Jennings.

New Orleans Jazz
New Orleans Jazz is itself an amalgamation of styles that come from a long musical tradition in New Orleans. You'll find an excellent presentation of it's history right here. For now, give a listen to Louis Armstrong playing "Sweet Georgia Brown", the Preservation Hall Jazz Band perform a version of "Tailgate Ramble", John Boutte sing "Foot of Canal Street", and Nina Simone sing "Little Liza Jane".
New Orleans Blues
One of the oldest is the traditional "St. James Infirmary Blues", but the New Orleans blues style didn't really get started until after WW2. It's influenced by New Orleans jazz and Caribbean music, and it's generally upbeat with a faster tempo than swamp blues. You'll find examples in Professor Longhair's "Walk Your Blues Away", Johnny Copeland's "Devil's Hand" and Dr. John's "I'm Gonna Go Fishing".

Swamp Blues
Evolving from the delta blues, swamp blues developed first in Baton Rouge during the 1950s. It uses a slower tempo and is influenced by cajun music. It's recognizable in songs like
Creedence Clearwater Revival's "Suzie Q", Tina Turner's "Bayou Song", Lazy Lester's "I'm a Man", Lucinda Williams' "Can't Let Go" and Tony Joe White's "Polk Salad Annie".

Swamp Rock
Some people claim that swamp rock begins and ends with CCR, but you'll find examples in The Meters' "Fire on the Bayou", Little Feat's "Hamburger Midnight", as well as CCR's "Run Through the Jungle".

Louisiana Artists

Here's a list of artists native to the state and those who spent enough time in the state to claim it as their home. It's long, but it's far from comprehensive. Think of this as a primer. You can find the complete list of members of the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame right here. The list includes one - three songs for each artist to give you a sense of their music.

Trace Adkins country singer
"Ladies Love Country Boys", "You're Gonna Miss This"

Louis Armstrong jazz trumpter
"What a Wonderful World", "Chloe (Song of the Swamp)",
"St. James Infirmary"

"Kix" Brooks country singer
"Boot Scootin' Boogie", "Red Dirt Road"

Clarence ("Gatemouth") Brown blues guitar and fiddle
"I Got My Mojo Workin'", "I Hate These Doggone Blues"

Chris Cagle country singer
"Let There Be Cowgirls"
Clifton Chenier zydeco singer and accordionist
"Ay Tete Fee", "Eh, '
Tite Fille"

Harry Connick Jr jazz singer and pianist
"(I Do) Like We Do", "You Have No Idea", "I Like It When You Smile"

Johnny Copeland blues singer and guitarist
"Tumblin' Dice"

Floyd Cramer country singer and pianist
"San Antonio Rose"

"Dr. John" (Malcolm John Rebennack)
Jazz singer and pianist
"Right Place, Wrong Time", "Gris-Gris Gumbo Ya Ya"

Snooks Eaglin blues singer and guitarist
"Mama Don't You Tear My Clothes",
"(I'm a) Country Boy Down in New Orleans"

Pete Fountain jazz clarinetist
"Basin Street Blues",
"Do You Know What it Means to Miss New Orleans?"

Buddy Guy blues guitarist and singer
"Born to Play Guitar", "A Man and the Blues"
Slim Harpo blues guitarist and singer
"I'm a King Bee", "Shake Your Hips"

Hunter Hays country singer and guitarist
"The Trouble With Love", "Somebody's Heartbreak",
"I Want Crazy"

Al Hirt jazz trumpteter
"Green Hornet", "When It's Sleepy Time Down South"

Doug Kershaw cajun fiddler and singer
"Diggy Diggy Lo", "Hey Mae"

Sammy Kershaw country singer
"She Don't Know She's Beautiful", "Cadillac Style"

Sonny Landreth blues guitarist
"Levee Town", "Zydeco Shuffle"

Huddie Ledbetter (Lead Belly) blues singer
"Black Betty", "Blind Lemon Blues", "Good Morning Blues"

Jerry Lee Lewis rockabilly pianist and singer
"Great Balls of Fire", "Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On"

Meghan Linsey r&b singer

Branford Marsalis

Sam Mc
Clain soul and spiritual singer
"New Man in Town"

Tim Mc
Graw country singer
"Live Like You Were Dying", "It's Your Love",
"Humble and Kind"

"Memphis" Minnie (Lizzie Douglas) blues singer
"Good Girl Blues", "When the Levee Breaks"

Jelly Roll Morton jazz pianist
"Jelly Roll Blues"

Randy Newman jazz singer and pianist
"Harps and Angels", "Rednecks",
"A Few Words in Defense of Our Country"

Richard Penniman (Little Richard) rockabilly pianist and singer
"Tutti Fruitti", "Rip It Up"

Johnny Rivers rockabilly and blues rock guitarist and singer
"Rockin' Pneumonia and the Boogie Woogie Flu", "Parchman Farm"

Hank Williams Jr country singer
"All My Rowdy Friends Are Coming Coming Over Tonight",
"Family Tradition", "If the South Woulda Won"

Lucinda Williams country singer-songwriter
"Lake Charles", "Changed the Locks",
"Bus to Baton Rouge"

Faron Young country singer
"Hello Walls", "Live Fast, Love Hard, Die Young"

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