Another Ace comp' rundown... this one covers the early singles from the Jin label, a Louisiana-based imprint, started in 1958 by Floyd Soulieau, which released some of the finest - if not thee finest - swamp-pop records of its or any other day. 'Swamp-pop?', I hear you ask... Here's a Wikipedia definition:
Swamp pop is a musical genre indigenous to the Arcadia region of south Louisiana and an adjoining section of southeast Texas. Created in the 1950s and early 1960s by teenaged Cajuns and black Creoles, it combines New Orleans-style rhythm and blues, country and western, and traditional French Louisiana musical influences.
Now, I'm aware of the fact that quoting Wikipedia is a sign of the permanently braindead or those quickly approaching a zombified state, but the above description sums up the basics better than I could. I guess what you need to additionally know is that swamp-pop is a broad church. Some of what others may call swamp-pop you may call rockabilly or rhythm & blues or simply Cajun... are you still awake? Good. One of the interesting aspects of the music - one obviously born from the inter-racial realities of the area and the fascinating musical hybrids such a state of affairs can give rise to - is that many of the white performers of the swamp-pop scene sound black. And I don't mean in an Elvis-mistaken-for-a-black-guy way - AND WHAT KIND OF DUMB FUCK EVER MISTOOK THE MUSIC OF ELVIS AS BEING THE PRODUCT OF A BLACK MAN??!! The King's sound was pure white-trash hillbilly; he might've loved his R & B, he might've even said it influenced his own music (it certainly influenced his live performances), but... anyway, I digress... - but rather, the music, the delivery and the vocalisations of some of swamp-pop's greatest "white" (often mixed race but passing for "white") performers sound like real-deal New Orleans R & B hipshakers. The great Joe Barry, not featured here (there's an Ace 2CD covering his crucial early sides), was pure Fats Domino rip, as much of the balladeering work on this very CD are, but the world was no worse for it. I've come this far, and yet I still haven't thrown around the term "melting pot". My point is this: swamp-pop doesn't mean one thing, or perhaps it ultimately means nothing, but that broad church I spoke of all those words ago is wonderfully covered in this 30-track 2003 comp', one which mixes up the different styles of music falling under the swamp-pop banner: the overtly Franch/Cajun-flavoured tunes, primal rock & roll and steamy R & B. Alas, there are no tracks by Cookie & The Cupcakes (I'm not making this up), perhaps thee best swamp-pop ensemble of them all, but again, they have their own essential CD on the Ace label covering their wares. You get the goods from swamp-pop superstar Johnnie Allan, Jivin' Gene & The Jokers (some of the best cuts here), Rockin' Dave Allen, Chuck Martin & The Honeydrippers and more. All of these were originally released on 45 RPM singles between the years 1958 - 1961. That's an incredible strike rate by anyone's standards, and one of the reason white record collector types - some paunch-prone, some socially challenged in varying ways - 50 years later still rave about such things. As a snapshot of a regional music scene at a certain point in history littered w/ a variant of musical gems, The Early Jin Singles is the bomb.