What began as a work trip to Lafayette, La., with Chris Gray turned into an all-nighter with our native driver, guitarist C.C. Adcock, who took us nightclubbing with Steve Riley and Dave Egan to Dickie Landry’s badass pad. In my purse the next day was a Don’s cocktail napkin receipt written in Sharpie: “Margaret Moser pitched in $40 for oysters & beer – CC.”
That wild Cajun night happened some seven years and left sterling memories of those three members of Li’l Band O’ Gold.
They’re at the heart of LBOG’s swamp pop supergroup, sure, but the band remains a classic case of the sum being greater than the whole of its parts. And the parts are estimable since they’re all legendary in Louisiana music lore. That’s about as close to the core of American music without being Texas or Mississippi.
Serendipitously, the better part of a decade earlier while driving Highway 90 around Rayne, I tuned into swamp pop drumming/singing legend Warren Storm live on KJEF-AM, inviting folks to stop into the studio. I started looking for the radio tower, which was easy to spot, because nothing was taller than three stories. I found the station and sure enough, there’s Storm in the deejay booth, looking as pleased as if it were 50 years ago and he was about to sing “The Prisoner Song” with the Hurricanes.
I hung around, talked shop, and had a photo taken with him before resuming my journey.
Storm blows into the Continental Club this Friday with Adcock, accordion master Riley, Egan, and Landry, plus Pat Breaux, Li’l Buck Sinegal, John Troutman, and Dave Ranson rounding out the Li’l Band O’ Gold. With them comes all the mojo put into their CD and documentary, The Promised Land, as well as new recordings with Fats Domino and Austin’s Robert Plant.
All of which led to me ring up Adcock to talk about the “Coonass Buena Vista Social Club.”
Austin Chronicle: Ahem, C.C.! Fats Domino just happened to be in the studio!? This really occurred “by chance?”
C.C. Adcock: Well, maybe not completely “by chance,” but Fats’ music is a big part of everyday life in South Louisiana. And particularly with the cats in Li’l Band O’ Gold – especially Warren. I mean, Fats Domino music and those records are timeless. You can still hear it nearly every time you turn on the radio and coming from every bandstand and at every wedding reception down here.
Fats and that sound is at the center of everything Warren knows and feels musically. Fats is his idol. So, popping into a studio and laying down over a couple days a mess of Fats tunes with the LBOG swamp pop slant was natural. I’ve made a few records now, and I can say with certainty that having the musicians being totally comfortable and really playing from “inside” the material is paramount to producing a good sound. It has to all start there, no matter the equipment or studio.
AC: How did Robert Plant come to the session?
CCA: With a big smile and wearing some really fine Moroccan-looking, brown calfskin cowboy boots!
No, really, there was an all-star Fats tribute record that was made post-Katrina, to help raise money to rebuild parts of the Ninth Ward – where Fats’ home and compound is. LBOG got paired with Robert Plant for that. Obviously, everyone in the band was stoked, but you’ve got to understand, that for better or for worse (mostly better), Warren doesn’t really know or care much about modern music, past Fats and Little Richard, Larry Williams, and the rest.
Warren kept saying he knew who “that Fred [Zeppelin] dude” was, and that his kids had had “his damn posters all over their bedroom walls.” Later, at the session, after we had corrected him and he was finally in the room with Robert, Warren mistakenly called him Robert “Plank,” no shit!
AC: Dickie Landry, Warren Storm – these are monsters of Louisiana music. What’s it like onstage with them?
CCA: Well, individually, Dickie’s got a great ear and eye. I can always gauge how well our show is actually going by how far he’s got his leg cocked out over there on the other end of the stage. He’s the Professor, a dead-on vibe barometer. If I can get a wink off him as we leave the stage at the end, that’s high score.
Warren always brings it laaaaaaaarge, as he’s known for saying! Warren recently lost his wife of 54 years, Mrs. Harriet “Hurricane.” She’d always remind you that, “A Hurricane’s way bigger than a Storm”! Warren’s been dealing the best way he knows how – by putting it all back into the music. He’s been giving jaw-dropping performances since she passed. It’s chills and goosebumps all over the stage every night.
Though the sounds they make and the lives they’ve each led are vastly different, their souls are sort of the same, and soul apparently came in double doses back in those days.
AC: What’s the best place to eat seafood in Lafayette?
CCA: In Lafayette, I like the fried catfish and just about everything else at Guidry’s Reef on Pinhook, or Poor Boy’s Riverside Inn south of town even though the decor and vibe of both feels like an oil man’s funeral home. Don’s, of course, is famous – maybe the Cajun version of Matt’s El Rancho in Austin or something – but I only order the quail or the crawfish bisque there.
And one of Cliff's Old Fashioneds, but only one!. Or else, CALL THE LAW!
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