A seemingly endless parade of tropical storms sweeping into the Southeast and blanketing bayou country leads me to one conclusion. It’s time to shrug off the bad weather and listen to Memories, a new album on the Jin Records label from Louisiana swamp-pop legend Johnnie Allan.
Johnnie, who was born John Allan Guillot and is the offspring of Louisiana Cajun parents, has been a fixture on the regional music scene for many years. During his long career he’s performed just about every kind of music popular to the area, and along the way has become known as the ‘King of Swamp-Pop’.
This collection of 22 tracks offers up a sampling of Johnnie’s singing style through the years, with examples from every era of his colorful career. It also includes a variety of sounds that show his comfort with all kinds of material, as he crosses genres with ease. Examples range from the slow and bluesy “Come Sundown” to the rousing, rockabilly-styled “Lonely Weekend,” which was probably my favorite on the album.
He’s also never been afraid to tackle songs that might be more familiar to listeners from other sources, such as the exotic “Isle Of Capri,” or “Before The Next Teardrop Falls,” a number-one hit for Freddy Fender. Johnnie does a good job with both pieces, although his strength is still with songs that echo he strong swamp-pop roots. He’s at his best with regional standards such as his own composition, “Wanting To Get Over You.”
A lively collection of feel-good music from the bayou — and something that just might be what’s needed about now, when folks need a little something to forget their troubles.