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South to Louisiana
The Music of the Cajun Bayous
By John Broven
Pelican Publishing Company
1983
368 Pages
ISBN:  0-88289-300-9

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For years the music of South Louisiana was confined to the bayou country itself. But today such artists as Doug Kershaw, Jimmy C. Newman, and Zydeco King Clifton Chenier have gained national recognition, and the special sounds of South Louisiana are being listened to—appreciated—throughout North America and Europe. Now, in South to Louisiana, John Broven provides the first comprehensive look at the history of this unique regional music.

Through months of field trips and library research, Broven has compiled an in-depth study of the South Louisana sound, from early Cajun and Cajun-country through zydeco and blues, swamp-pop, and the current Cajun revival. He focuses on the creative and ambitious record men of South Louisiana, their talented artists, and the music they created together.

Using extensive personal interviews, Broven has interpreted the story of the music in the words of the participants themselves. Rare photographs and song lyrics provide additional insight.

Broven examines the contributions of such legendary greats as Joseph Falcon, whose "Allons a Lafayette" in 1928 was the first Cajun recording; Harry Choates, Amadie Ardoin, Iry LeJune, and Nathan Abshire; and an incredible contingent of Baton Rouge blues artists led by Lightnin' Slim.

By the late 1950s the indigenous music had fused with nationally popular sounds to form South Louisiana's contribution to rock 'n' roll; for a few years swamp-pop artists like Joe Barry, Rod Bernard, and Phil Phillips held their own on the national charts. Today the Cajun revival is led by such artists as Dewey Balfa, Johnnie Allan and Michael Doucet.

Also included are a detailed time chart of musical events, biographical data on all the important artists, a list of clubs where South Louisiana music can be heard, a roster of the important bands and their members, and a comprehensive guide to popular singles and recommended albums. Festivals and radio and television broadcasts are covered as well.

John Broven, an Englishman, has been an ardent fan and collector of Louisiana music for more than twenty years. He is a regular contributor to "Blues Unlimited" magazine, and the author of the highly acclaimed Walking to New Orleans, published in the U.S. as Rhythm & Blues in New Orleans (Pelican). In 1982 Broven was made an honorary member of the Louisiana Music Commission for his research into the history of the music of the Bayou State.