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Warren "Storm" Schexnider is a Louisiana legend. At age 82 when this album was recorded, he's been creating music for more than 70 years - a milestone that's dubbed him the "Godfather of Swamp Pop" for his fealty to the indigenous music of the Acadiana region of south Louisiana and southeast Texas. Created in the 1950s and early 1960s by teenage Cajuns, swamp pop combines New Orleans-style rhythm and blues, country and western, and traditional French Louisiana musical influences.
Warren throughout his career has recorded on innumerable records, both on his own as a vocalist/musician, and as a studio musician on other albums. He continues to blaze a path for younger musicians, which is why one could say the universe had a plan that resulted in the album Taking the World, by Storm, new from APO Records. Recorded at Dockside Studio, Maurice, Louisiana in March 2019, the album was produced by Yvette Landry and executive producer Chad Kassem. Mastering was by Ryan K. Smith at Sterling Sound in Nashville. Now a 45 RPM dead-quiet double LP, with the music spread over four sides of vinyl, reduces distortion and high frequency loss as the wider-spaced grooves let your stereo cartridge track more accurately.
Warren Storm grew up in a Cajun household (he spoke only French until the third grade!) surrounded by music. His father, an Abbeville, Louisiana native, was a drummer, fiddler, and accordian player who indoctrinated his then 12-year-old son Warren into the biz with an impromptu Rayne-Bo Ramblers gig. By age 15, Warren was playing drums with Larry Brasso's Rhythm-aires. Throughout his adolescence Warren played with various dance hall bands, including with Fats Domino's drummer Charlie "Hungry" Williams. Warren became known as the top session drummer in the area; then just after graduation from Abbeville High School, Warren signed a recording contract. His first record, a 7-inch released in 1958, containing "The Prisoner's Song" b/w "Mama, Mama, Mama" sold a quarter of a million copies. His subsequent hits "So Long, So Long, (Goodbye, Goodbye)", "Birmingham Bar", "Lord, I Need Somebody Bad Tonight", "Things Have Gone To Pieces" and more led to Warren's induction into both Louisiana and Texas' Music Hall of Fame.
Yvette Landry, a singer-songwriter and musician, grew up in Breaux Bridge, Louisiana not far from the levees of the Atchafalaya Basin, North America's largest swampland. She fronts her own band, The Yvette Landry Band, and her debut award-winning album titled Should Have Known was released in 2010. (The album was named Offbeat Magazine's "Best Country/Folk Album" and Landry "Best Country/Folk Artist") She's been a familiar presence on stages at countless cultural festivals and venues - from the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival to the Bluebird Café in Nashville.
Still, when Warren Storm strolled unannounced into a gig she was playing in the spring of 2018, Yvette was at once a little nervous and starstruck.
When prodded to sing a signature tune of Warren's, "I Need Somebody Bad", off her newly-released album, she says, "I shut my eyes and belted it out." At the end of the night Warren approached her, shook her hand and said "I never heard a girl sing that song before. You did real good. Think I could have a copy?"
She complied and a friendship blossomed. As Warren thumbed through his accumulated memoriabilia Landry began noticing who she was seeing in photos: Willie Nelson, Ray Price, Hank Williams, Jr., Elvis and others.
The idea was born to compile Warren's stories and pictures for a book about his career spent performing with, and opening for some of the finest musicians in the world. That book became Taking the World, by Storm - A Conversation with Warren "Storm" Schexnider, The Godfather of Swamp Pop.
When the idea was proposed to reissue one of Warren's previous albums to accompany the book, Yvette and those working with her on the project went one bettter: record a new album with Warren, live in the studio, straight to 2-track tape, "just like he did in his early days." And so the recording process began. Next to become involved was Acoustic Sounds and APO Records owner Chad Kassem, who arranged for the album to appear on the APO label, to be mastered by Ryan K. Smith at Sterling Sound in Nashville, and to be plated and pressed on vinyl at Quality Record Pressings, renowned among audiophiles and music professionals for its fine-sounding LPs.
The core band for this album is an experienced crew: Eric Adcock (piano), Roddie Romero (electric guitar), Derek Huston (saxophone), Chris French (upright bass), and Gary Usie (drums). Special guests include vocalist Marc Broussard ("Mathilda"), Sonny Landreth (slide guitar on "Mathilda"), Beau Thomas (fiddle) and Richard Comeaux (pedal steel) on "Tennessee Blues", and Willie "Tee" Trahan (tenor saxophone on "In My Moments Of Sorrow" and "Troubles, Troubles"). Yvette Landry also sings with Warren on "Mama, Mama, Mama".
Lastly, the one-and-only John Fogerty (Creedence Clearwater Revival) was gracious enough to sing along with Warren's performance of "Long As I Can See The Light". Warren recorded a video with John in the mid-1980s ("My Toot Toot") and remains a huge fan of John's.
Warren Storm is a legend in Louisiana music, a swamp pop pioneer. As Yvette says, "He is a master who sings with excitement (like it was his first time) and reverence (like it is his last time)." Enjoy this musical gem and tribute to the swamp pop genre.
Praise for the 33 1/3 version of Taking The World, By Storm:
"Mr. Storm (or Mr. Schexnider, however you wish to call him) does not sound like an 82 year old. No way. He owns the mournful, inspirational Fogerty penned tune and not even Fogerty's own inserted verse diminishes (or matches) the power of the old guy's performance. Think Fats Domino and you get much of the picture. This is the real stuff... Now's the time for music that lifts the spirits and here's some that does just that! Mr. Schexnider is in fine voice here, soaring to hit all of the high notes and clearly enjoying the adulation coming from all of the participants. The energy kind of saps as side two rolls on, but on 'Prisoner's Song' the singer adds surprising color to the sunset of this classic regional genre. Same with the sound. Live to 2 track analog sound pleases the ears at low levels and no matter how loud you crank it. If I could rate these records separately for sound this one would be up at least a notch to 'noine' bordering on 10. Go high, go low, have a party with this album of honest music making." - Michael Fremer, Analog Planet, Music 8/11, Sound 8/11
- 200g Vinyl
- Double LP
- Dead-quiet vinyl
- Wider grooves allow more accurate cartridge tracking
- Reduced distortion and high frequency loss
- Mastered by Ryan K. Smith at Sterling Sound from analog tape recording
- Plated and pressed at Quality Record Pressings
- Old-style heavyweight tip-on gatefold jacket from Stoughton Printing
|Warren "Storm" Schexnider||vocals|
|Roddie Romero||electric guitar|
|Derek Huston||tenor/baritone saxophone|
|Chris French||upright bass|
|Sonny Landreth||slide guitar on "Mathilda"|
|Richard Comeaux||pedal steel guitar on "Tennessee Blues"|
|Beau Thomas||fiddle on "Tennessee Blues"|
|Willie "Tee" Trahan||tenor saxophone on "In My Moments Of Sorrow" and "Troubles, Troubles"|
|John Fogerty||guest vocals on "Long As I Can See The Light"|
|Marc Broussard||guest vocals on "Mathilda"|
|Yvette Landry||guest vocals on "Mama, Mama, Mama"|
- Long As I Can See The Light
- Lonely Nights
- Let The Four Winds Blow
- Tennessee Blues
- Mama, Mama, Mama
- In My Moments Of Sorrow
- Prisoner's Song
- My House Of Memories
- Troubles, Troubles
- Raining In My Heart