Taking The World By Storm
Warren Storm was born Warren Schexnider in Abbeville, La. in 1937; not far from Lafayette. Storm learned to play both drums and guitar from his father, a Cajun musician. He befriended fellow Abbeville native Bobby Charles and they would visit New Orleans to listen and learn. Storm’s first recording was a 1958 version of the country standard “The Prisoner’s Song”; on the flip side was “Mama, Mama, Mama”. Over his seventy-year career Storm has become known as “The Godfather of Swamp Pop”. Some of his bands included The Shondells, and Warren Storm and Bad Weather. He resurfaced in 2000 as a member of the all-star swamp pop “Lil’ Band of Gold” alongside accordionist Steve Riley of the Mamou Playboys; guitarist C.C. Adcock; fiddler David Greely; pedal-steel guitarist Richard Comeaux, and pianist/songwriter David Egan who was also with the band “File”.
Artist and Producer Yvette Landry is from Breaux Bridge, La. Her own debut album 2010’s award winning “Should Have Known” established her as a torchbearer of Cajun culture. Four more recordings followed including her latest Yvette Landry and The Jukes “Louisiana Lovin’”, a 2018 tribute to her musical heritage. In the spring of 2018 an awestruck Landry was taken by surprise as Storm walked into one of her gigs. She played one of Storm’s songs and by the end of the evening a friendship began to blossom. Landry is also an educator at The University of Louisiana at Lafayette and an author of children’s books accepted into the Library of Congress. Landry soon came up with the idea to write a book about Storm’s career as he performed with some of the finest musicians in the world including Willie Nelson, Ray Price, Hank Williams Jr., and Elvis. That book was finalized as “Taking The World By Storm – A Conversation with Warren “Storm” Schexnider, The Godfather of Swamp Pop”. This album is a musical companion to that newly completed biography. “With Warren being 82 and still sounding incredible, we made a decision to record a new album. A record like the ones Warren had recorded many times in his career…straight to two-track tape, no digital overdubs, all in the room like in the good old days”.
Landry assembled a band including Storm, vocals; and several members of her own band The Jukes including Eric Adcock, piano; Roddie Romero, guitar; and Derek Huston (who played with both The Iguanas and James Hunter), sax. The rhythm section of Chris French, bass; and Gary Usie, drums complete the core unit. Everyone wanted to play with Storm and guest musicians include guitarist Sonny Landreth; pedal-steel player Comeaux; fiddler Beau Thomas; and saxophonist Willie “Tee” Trahan. Guest vocalists Marc Broussard, John Fogarty, and Landry also take their turns, but all other songs are sung by Storm.
Those first two songs recorded in 1958, “Prisoner’s Song” and “Mama, Mama, Mama” are still among Storm’s most requested and they are included; the latter sung by Landry and credited to producer J.D. Miller who also used the alias Jerry West. Also from his record labels and credited to him are “Troubles, Troubles”; “In My Moment of Sorrow”; and Slim Harpo’s “Rainin’ in My Heart”.
The set list is rounded out by “Mathilda” also recorded in 1958 and sung here by Broussard; Earl King’s “Lonely Nights”; Dave Bartholomew’s “Let The Four Winds Blow”; Bobby Charles’ “Tennessee Blues”; Merle Haggard’s “My House of Memories”; and John Fogarty singing on his own “Long As I Can See the Light”.
This album should be cherished as Storm is the consummate swamp pop performer. This just might be the Historical Album of the Year.