Various Artists

Lafayette Soul Show

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Lafayette, LA. is not a large town, but its location in the midst of Cajun Louisiana means that a lot of musicians have come from the area, including soul and R&B acts as well as Cajun and zydeco ones. In the 1960s, the local La Louisianne label and its sister company Tamm recorded a good number of soul musicians, and about a couple dozen of their efforts comprise this CD. Swamp-pop and New Orleans R&B influences show up in the music sometimes, which gives this a regional flavor that distinguishes it somewhat from numerous other regional soul scenes around the United States. However, this ain't no soul-Cajun hybrid. Much of it's just plain ordinary soul music, not too special or too bad, getting into a number of subgenres. Lil' Buck, for instance, does a credible James Brown/Dyke-style soul-funk instrumental on the 1969 single "Monkey in a Sack"/"Cat Scream"; Don Fredericks does quaintly emotional soul ballad covers in which the swamp-pop feel comes to the fore; King Karl uses a garage-rock organ on the previously unissued "Got the Fever Child." Raful Neal, better known as a bluesman than as a soul singer, contributes a couple of the stronger outings, both taken from a 1968 single, and both with a blues-soul crossover vibe, like Slim Harpo in a modern soul bag. Lynn August's "Little Red Rooster" credits Willie Dixon as songwriter, which seems like a mistake; with its frenetic dance beat, organ, and wholly unrelated lyrics, it's an entirely different song than the Dixon classic that was interpreted by Howlin' Wolf and the Rolling Stones. Certainly the most renowned track is Lil' Bob & the Lollipops' original version of "I Got Loaded," covered in the mid-1980s by Los Lobos. Not a brilliant compilation, but a little better than the norm for such specialized soul anthologies, due both to the regional idiosyncrasies and the decent variety of approaches.

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