Gib Guilbeau

Louisiana Rain

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In a way, this is an embellishment of Gib Guilbeau's obscure early-'70s album Cajun Country. All of the songs from that album are here, as are a number of additional singles, demos, and outtakes, though not all of those are credited to Guilbeau or recorded around the time of that LP. What's the story, then, and why is this CD credited to Guilbeau & Parsons? The confusing picture, in a nutshell: Guilbeau and Gene Parsons released a couple of singles in 1967-1968 (both of which are on this disc), and also recorded an album's worth of material at the time that almost got released in 1968. It didn't appear in the late '60s, though, and eventually a slightly altered version of the original album came out, credited to Guilbeau and titled Cajun Country, in the early '70s. This 25-track disc, then, has the album; the singles; a half-dozen previously unreleased Guilbeau & Parsons demos and outtakes; a 1969 Guilbeau solo single; a Peter & Gordon-like 1965 single by Gib & Wayne (the duo of Guilbeau and Wayne Moore); a previously unissued home demo duo by Guilbeau and Darrell Cotton; and a 1968 single by Bruce E. Oakes produced by Guilbeau and Parsons. It's for a specialized collector market, for sure. But anyone seriously interested in the genesis of country-rock should hear this, both for its historic importance and for the quality of the music. Guilbeau and Parsons, as well as other musicians heard here like Clarence White and Wayne Moore (who played with Guilbeau and Parsons in the group that became known as Nashville West), were forging some country-rock directions on these obscure recordings that anticipated the late-'60s work of the Byrds and the Flying Burrito Brothers. Sometimes this amounted to country-tinged folk-rock reminiscent of Gene Clark and the Byrds (like the single "Your Gentle Ways of Loving Me," which was later done by the Byrds when Parsons and White joined, and "Woman's Disgrace," covered by the Gosdin Brothers); often it was close to Cajun-tilted Bakersfield country music; and often various ingredients of rock, Cajun, and country bubbled in the mix, with some R&B thrown in occasionally. There might have been a shortage of truly outstanding songs, but the blend was pleasant, creative, ahead of its time, and well done, with engaging vocals. The complicated story behind the routes Guilbeau, Parsons, and their associates traveled in the mid-to-late '60s is unraveled in Alec Palao's lengthy accompanying essay.

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