Give a kid from Georgia a piano, and he can change the world; a gay black kid from the segregated and strictly religious south, that is. Richard Pettiman yelled the soulful gospel singing he learned in church on top of R&B swing and the power of Fats Domino's rhythm section, conjuring a force that would later be known as rock n' roll.
Little Richard's uninhibited singing, aggressive piano playing, and flamboyant fashion set the standard for all who came after him in the world of pop music. He made rowdy barroom dance music acceptable on a bigger stage with the flashy performance style he took from the vaudeville shows he'd grow up attending. His impact is undeniable, leaving an impression on everyone from James Brown to the Beatles, to Prince and Madonna. That influence didn't pass Acadiana either.
Clifton Chenier's synthesized zydeco by mixing the old French tunes he heard as a child and combined them with the blues and rock n' roll of Little Richard. The late pianist left his mark on Cajun music as well, with accordion-driven interpretations of his signature tunes like "Lucille" and "Keep A Knockin'" ("Tu peux cogner mais tu peux pas rentrer") becoming fais do do standards.
The musical icon who undeniably broke racial and sexual barriers died late last week at the age of 87. I'll be paying tribute to Little Richard in this week's playlist. Many of his classic tunes that he first recorded in New Orleans at Cosimo Matassa's legendary J&M Studios as well as his songs done by some of our local artists are in the mix. You'll hear the Cajun country-rock of Belton Richard's "Lucille," a zydeco take on "Slippin' and Slidin'" by Lynn August, and Warren Storm's version of "Send Me Some Lovin". Other covers include the Balfa Brothers, Travis Matter, Elvis Presley, and John Lennon. Also in the mix are tracks by Blake Miller and Amelia Biere, Jeffery Broussard, and the Pine Leaf Boys who will all be performing for the live streaming edition of the Brooklyn-based Swamp in the City festival.
Live stream concerts in Lafayette this week
Tuesday, May 12 at 6:00pm
Wayne Toups Garage Sessions
Friday, May 15 at 7:30pm
Rock n' Bowl presents DG & the Freetown Sound
Friday, May 15 - Sunday, May 17 at 7:30 each day
Swamp in the City feat. Pine Leaf Boys, Jeffery Broussard, Blake Miller and Amelia Biere, Cedric Watson and more.
Friday, May 15 at 10:00pm
Lil Nate's Virtual Live Stream feat. Julian Primeaux