Various Artists

Story of Goldband Records: Eddie's House of Hits

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The Goldband label, run by Eddie Shuler, is noted for having recorded a rich diversity of roots music, usually Louisiana- or Texas-based, from the late 1940s onward, including Cajun, zydeco, swamp pop, blues, R&B, and rock & roll. This is a satisfactory overview of the company's more rock-R&B-blues-oriented output. It's not the most balanced selection, as it has little of the Cajun music it recorded, by noted regional acts such as Iry LeJeune and Jo'el Sonnier. But really, that's okay, since introducing the Cajun stuff into the mix might have made for more jarring listening, and there are full compilation CDs of LeJeune and Sonnier on Ace anyway. For the most part this is serviceable blues, R&B, early rock & roll, and swamp pop from the late 1950s and early 1960s that isn't classic, but also a little above the median for the small independent label of the era. Goldband's two (very) low-charting national hits, Cleveland Crochet's Cajun-blues mixture "Sugar Bee" and Elton Anderson's lame "Treasure of Love" knockoff "Secret of Love," are both here. Some of the better other moments are the crackling rockabilly of Al Ferrier's "Let's Go Boppin' Tonight," the dirty swamp rock of Danny James' late-'60s "Boogie in the Mud," and the between-the-cracks blue notes on Hop Wilson's blues instrumental "Chicken Stuff." As far as collectable curiosities go, the definite winner is the 1959 rockabilly single by a very young and squeaky-voiced Dolly Parton. There are also a couple of tracks by Phil Phillips of "Sea of Love" fame, including a "Stormy Weather" on which he hits a glaringly off-key note near the denouement.