Rod Bernard

The Louisiana Tradition

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Rod Bernard is one of the few Louisiana swamp pop musicians to have ever made the hit parade. His record, "This Should Go on Forever," made the Top 20 chart in 1959 and won the young musician an appearance on American Bandstand. Popular hits may come and go, but Bernard's position as one of the driving forces in the idiom has remained a constant. The man designated as a "living legend" in the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame has continued to perform his style of music at clubs and festivals and has recorded numerous CDs. Louisiana Tradition was made in 1999. As the name suggests, the CD is faithful to his Cajun roots, as well as to the R&B style in which he sings. The vocalist is backed by Rufus Thibodeaux on fiddle, Jimmy Breaux on accordion, Oran "Junior" Guidry on guitar, Warren Storm on drums and rub board, Richard Comeaux on steel guitar, John Kimbrough and Gene Romero on saxophones, and Gerald Melancon on drums. There is a scorching cover of Chuck Berry's "Maybelline"; most of the tunes are penned by Bernard himself. He starts right off in a Louisiana mode with "Backwater Bayou," sings in French on "Gardez Donc," describes the apprehension and camaraderie of a "Hurricane Watch," and gets melancholy with "When I Hold You in My Dreams" and "The Fantasy Is Over." The obligatory alligator song of the genre is the last on the album, with a cover of Guidry's "See You Later, Alligator." Thus do things go in the swamp.

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