Thursday, August 7, 2008

Gib Guilbeau - On the way to Burrito Town, or was it Sin City?

1967 Gib Gilbeau & Gene Parsons - Louisiana Rain
Gib Guilbeau and Gene Parsons released a couple of singles in 1967-1968, and also recorded an album 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 Gib Guilbeau and titled Cajun Country, in the early '70s. This 25-track disc, has the album, the singles, a half-dozen previously unreleased Guilbeau & Parsons demos and outtakes and a 1969 Gib Guilbeau solo single. 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. Gib Guilbeau and Gene Parsons, as well as other musicians heard here like Clarence White and Wayne Moore (who played with Gillbeau and Parsons in Nashville West), were forging some country-rock directions on these recordings that anticipated the late-'60s work of the Byrds and the Flying Burrito Brothers. Later Gene Parsons and Clarence White were members of the Byrds, Gib Guilbeau was a member of the later Flying Burrito Brothers.

1968 The Reasons (aka Nashville West) - Nashville West
Gene Parsons
and Gib Guilbeau were hired for a recording session with the Gosdin Brothers' singing duo of Vern and Rex Gosdin. The session, being produced by Byrd Chris Hillman, included guitarist Clarence White, who had formerly played with the Kentucky Colonels. Parsons, Guilbeau and White then went on to play on sessions together. They became a band, joining with fellow session player, bassist-vocalist Wayne Moore, who played in the Castaways with Parsons and Guilbeau. The group was known by various names, including The Reasons, Gib Guilbeau and The Reasons, the Gary Paxton Band or Cajun Gib and Gene. Gene Parsons and Clarence White quit to be Byrds. The Nashville West moniker was taken from the name of the El Monte, California club where they sat as the house band. The album was reissued on CD by Sierra in 1997, and added four more tracks not included on the LP edition.

1970 Swampwater - Swampwater
Swampwater formed and started out as Linda Ronstadt’s backing group in 1969. In that time they featured Linda's first three solo albums. Eric White, Clarence’s brother was also in the band and prior to forming Swampwater had been in the excellent Kentucky Colonels. Swampwater made two distinct albums in the early 70’s. This album was different than many notable country rock acts of the time for adding cajun and swamprock elements. The album opens and closes with two certified country-rock classics, Louisiana Woman and Big Bayou. Guilbeau had recorded the classy Louisiana Woman with both Nashville West and on his 1970 album with Parsons, though the version heard on Swampwater is the best. Big Bayou is a hard rocking, white hot country song with pretty fiddle that has been covered by many popular artists including Rod Stewart. Other songs like the acoustic flavored Man From New Orleans are highlighted by beautiful harmonies and a tear in your beer ambience. Swampwater’s musicianship is high caliber and Guilbeau’s lyrics are always first-rate and thoughtful. Great songs like Kathleen, Desperation’s Back Again (an Everly Brothers homage) and River People are beautifully arranged and display superior craftsmanship. It’s really a wall of greatness, with each song just as good as the next. Swampwater mastered all the rural styles from cajun to folk-rock but just never received the breaks they so justly deserved. Their members were slugging it out in bars playing this sort of music years before anyone else had thought to do so. This album is a masterpiece and recommended to any true country fan.

1971 Swampwater - Swampwater
First, the album title is no error. These guys have two different albums with the same title!?
Their second album and another really good country-rock outing. This self-titled effort was released off RCA in 1971 and came packaged in a strange jacket. Swampwater’s lineup had remained the same since their debut.In comparison to that debut, there were a few more rock n roll tracks like the album opener Ooh-Wee California, the raw Dakota, and Ol’Papa Joe. These songs were good though, with well constructed guitar solos and strong bluegrass and cajun flavors. There were a few covers too but all were standouts like the excellent heartfelt version of One Note Man, a track with nice jangly Byrdish guitar solos and pretty fiddle, which gave the song real atmosphere. Guilbeau also resurrected Gentle Ways of Lovin’ Me, a track he had recorded on numerous occasions with many different bands. Swampwater turned in one of the best versions of this song which is highlighted by barrelhouse banjo and a delicate, sincere arrangement. Another great track, Headed For The Country, compared favorably with the country-rock era Byrds, and had beautiful, sad folk-like harmonies and fine guitar playing. All in all the album was strong, lacking any weak moments and showcased a great band that should have been at least as well known as Poco or Firefall.

8 comments:

TheSeeker said...

1967 Gib Guilbeau & Gene Parsons - Louisiana Rain
http://lix.in/-3087bc

1968 Nashville West - Nashville West
http://lix.in/-3394fe

1970 Swampwater - Swampwater
http://lix.in/-2bf3e3

1971 Swampwater - Swampwater
http://lix.in/-2d7a84

MrJJ said...

Thanks for all your great post
your postings have been a real help in expanding my music horizon

Anonymous said...

Hate to tell you this, but the two Swampwater links yield the same album; both download as the 1970 LP, cover and all. Thought you'd wanna know -- Smitty59

Anonymous said...

OK -- I don't know what the hell happened, but I have to retract a statement I made two minutes ago. The Swampwater links ARE different; they are correct as you have them. Man, I'm not even stoned, an' I'm messin' up. So sorry for this. I'd be willing to swear on a copy of Dylan's "Chronicles" that I got the same download two different times for the 1971 LP. Anyway -- it's working now, and here's A BIG THANKS! for that. -- Smitty59

TheSeeker said...

@Smitty59;
No problem at all with me. Just a hint: Don't download too much when you got no sleep for three days;-)))

Xtabay said...

wonderful blog lots of west coast rock I didnt even kpow existed

mrmeadowlark said...

Could you please re-upload the "Louisiana Rain" CD? The current link is bad.

mrmeadowlark said...

Could you please re-upload the "Louisiana Rain" CD? The current link is bad.