Mac Daddy Mojeaux
Nola Blue Records
Gregg Martinez a.k.a. Mac Daddy was born in Lafayette, Louisiana in 1956, where he graduated from high school. His powerful tenor vocal style was inspired by soul icons Sam Cooke, Marvin Gaye and Al Green; and contemporary Louisiana artists Johnny Adams and Luther Kent. His musical gumbo combines Lafayette swamp pop, New Orleans R n’ B, Memphis soul and Texas swing.
At the age of twenty-five Martinez was the frontman for the Kingfish. In 1985 he became bandleader of the Heat and played the casinos of Atlantic City. He moved to north Texas in 1989 and began to record Christian music gradually blending it with soul blues. Martinez returned to Louisiana and released “Big Bad Daddy” in 2006 re-establishing himself as an R n’ B and Swamp Pop crooner. In 2007 he joined the blue-eyed soul group the Boogie Kings. In 2011 Martinez recorded “South of the Parish Line” on Magnolia Records with band mates Tony Goulas, Tim Courville, Charles Ventre, and Charlene Howard. His last album under his own name was 2016’s “Soul of the Bayou” on Louisiana Red Hot Records. In February 2019 Martinez was inducted into the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame. In October, Gregg Martinez and the Delta Kings opened the 2019 Crescent City Blues and Barbecue Festival.
This new album, Martinez’ twelfth, was co-produced with the Grammy winning engineer Tony Daigle for Nola Blue Records. The album’s title, Mojeaux, refers to Martinez’ “maqereau”; a Creole belief of having an unusual power over women. The current band includes vocalist Martinez accompanied by guitarists Goulas, Gregg Kingston, James Martinez, Bill Lawson and Tony Ardoin; bassists Sid Daigle and Lee Allen Zeno; drummer Courville; pianists Darryl Fontenot, Bryan Perrin and Lawrence Sieberth; B-3 organist Ventre; and Daigle on percussion. The brass includes saxophonist Ronnie Eades of the Muscle Shoals Horns; trumpeter Allan Linker, and trombonist Claude Salles. The background vocalists are Carla Benson, Evette Benton and Martinez.
The thirteen tracks include nine fabulous covers and four originals. Martinez opens with “I Believe To My Soul” first written and recorded by Ray Charles in 1959 on Atlantic Records; Martinez’ version features an arrangement by Donny Hathaway who recorded the song in 1970. Don Nix’s “Same Old Blues” was first recorded by Freddie King in 1971 on producer Leon Russell’s Shelter Records. “You Left The Water Running” written by Dan Penn, Rick Hall and Oscar Frank was first a demo by Otis Redding recorded in 1966; and released later that year by both Wilson Pickett and Barbara Lynn. The first of the originals is “Moonlight and Magnolias” written by Martinez.
Martinez and Goulas collaborated on four tracks. They co-wrote the danceable groove “This House”; Goulas plays guitar on the Martinez penned shuffle “Eva Delle” with special guests’ slide guitarist Landreth, accordionist Rockin’ Dopsie Jr. and his brother Anthony on rubboard; and they share a vocal duet on the Sam and Dave styled “Starting All Over Again” originally recorded by Stax’s Mel and Tim in 1972. Martinez’ also sings on the Goulas composed “Just Stay Gone”; the first song released for airplay.
“Snatching It Back” co-written by Clarence Carter and George Jackson was first recorded by Carter in 1969. “Can I Change My Mind” was a 1969 hit single for Tyrone Davis. “Don’t Pull Your Love”, sung as a duet with Charlene Howard, was a 1971 hit for Hamilton, Joe Frank, and Reynolds. Vocalist Martinez closes with Randy Newman’s “Marie” recorded with just piano and strings.
After hearing him, at the 2005 New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, Ed Bradley of televisions “60 Minutes” called Martinez “one of America’s hidden treasures”. Martinez’ is an emotive vocalist who will remind you of the great ones. He’s that good.