Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Warren Storm- Prisoners Song



South Louisiana is such fertile ground for music, so many influences congregate in that region and what you get is music that is unique and full vibrancy and fun. A lot of the music that came from that region incorporated rhythm and blues, country and western and cajun music, it was given the rather non descript and ill fitting moniker of swamp pop. Alongside a host of young musicians growing up in South Louisiana you had a great pioneer in Warren Storm who was Abbeville. In his youth he played drums in a number of local bands and had made a few trips to New Orleans in his late teens with good friend Bobby Charles, on one of these sojourns he had the good fortune to see a Fats Domino session at Cosimo Matassa's and this had a profound effect on his own music.

Storm had also come to the notice of renowned local produced J.D Miller who was running a studio in Crowley, Miller convinced Ernie Young (owner of Ernie's Record Mart in Nashville and the Excello label) to release a single on his Nasco offshoot. Prisoners Song b/w Mama Mama Mama was released in 1958 and dented the Billboard charts at #81 but was a huge regional hit in the south, especially in Louisiana. Prisoners Song is an old country tune but Storm gives it a real New Orleans treatment, with that rolling sound and strong accent on the backbeat. Also it has those New Orleans style horns very much sounding like a procession march in the solo. For the time it's a familiar tale of a lonely man trapped in prison and dreaming of flying over the prison walls to his sweetheart.

The b side Mama Mama Mama ( Look What Your Little Boy Done) I first heard on an Ace compilation called Hey Baby! The Rockin South and it was the first time I had heard Warren Storm, it sounded a lot like Fats Domino. It has that similar feel, a little slower but still with that rolling feel with some nice boogie style piano and that heavy accented beat. Storm recorded numerous singles for a lot of small independent labels into the early 60's. In the mid 60's he joined forces with another South Louisiana pioneer Rod Bernard to form the group The Shondells who recorded for the La Louisianne label, he stayed with that group until 1970. He continued to record into the seventies and was particularly popular on the local club and dancehall circuit in Louisiana. He is now working with the band Lil Band O Gold featuring a who's who of local musicians including guitarist C.C Adcock, and vocalist Tommy McClain. I was fortunate enough to see Warren perform with Lil Band O Gold last week and he was fantastic. His drumming had that real loose behind the beat kind of feel, it was rhythm personified.


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