It's an interesting and imaginative choice by Keith Woods to feature swamp pop artist Gene Terry at the next Tales From The Woods show on June 5. Gene has never appeared in the UK and I'm hoping that the show attracts a good crowd. I will be there for sure, as I had the pleasure of seeing Gene sing recently at the Ponderosa Stomp in New Orleans, and can confirm that the man still has what it takes.
Gene is best known for the rockabilly classic Cindy Lou recorded in 1958 and released on the Goldband label, an original of which I was lucky enough to pick up at an Oxfam shop a few weeks ago. During the Stomp conference sessions he was interviewed by John Broven (pictured above) and he came across as a genial man with a wealth of knowledge about Louisiana music of the fifties and early sixties. He recorded his classic when he was 17, along with its flip side, the more typically swamp pop styled Teardrops In My Eyes. He described swamp pop as 'just white boys playing black music - and playing it pretty good' - a fairly accurate description I think. Brought up in Port Arthur, east Texas, one of his biggest influences was local DJ and singer Big Bopper (who of course died 57 years ago today), along with Elvis and Gene Vincent. Despite some success with Cindy Lou, which I must say still sounds great today, he gave up up music a couple of years later and had a job in the electric department in Port Arthur, occasionally playing local gigs.
At the Stomp he was backed by the Mama Mama Mamas, comprising C C Adcock, Steve Riley and Michael Hurtt among others, and absolutely nailed his big hit. Other numbers included Never Let You Go, Sea Cruise, I'm A Fool To Care, Woman I Love and Teardrops In My Eyes. It was an excellent set, if too short, and I have no doubt that he will make a big impression at the June 5 show in London, which also features British rocker Danny Rivers, Steve Ackles from Norway and the Sweet Georgia Boys. I would urge anyone who can make the show in June to come along. It will be a one off opportunity to see a swamp pop legend. Photo below shows Gene with me. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NbRMl_BqNKQ