It’s no wonder many so many artists and listeners in Acadiana continue to be drawn to the Bobby Charles songbook. When it comes to Louisiana music, lyrics have always taken a backseat to the beat and groove. Bobby Charles has been an exception. His songs are catchy yet touching, quality of writing one could attribute to icons like Hank Williams and Buddy Holly. No other Louisiana songsmith has been as successful or prolific as Charles, other than perhaps Allen Toussaint or Fats Domino.
His music has been synonymous with South Louisiana swamp pop and r&b, as well as the roots-rock scene of the 1970s. Through word of mouth and the eventual reissue of his classic self-titled album, Bobby Charles gained a new generation of fans. Local artists such as the Lil Band o Gold and Roddie Romero have also helped to keep his songs alive. One of Romero's signature songs is his take on "I Hope", an almost forgotten single Charles released in the late 60s.
The ACA will present Before I Grow Too Old: The Music of Bobby Charles. Roddie Romero will host the event along with an all-star cast of performers. Some of the featured singers include swamp-pop legends Tommy Mclain and Warren Storm, guitar wizard and Charles sideman Sonny Landreth, and local country crooner Dustin Sonnier. Romero and his band will showcase the late singer/songwriter's large body of work which spans several decades and musical genres.
For this week's playlist, I compiled a mix of essential Bobby Charles music along with some familiar and rare covers by other artists. You'll hear classic tracks like Fats Domino's "Walking to New Orleans", Clarence "Frogman" Henry's "But I Do", and Mclain's "Before I Grow Too Old". A few lesser-known collaborations with Charles are in the mix which includes songs he cowrote with David Allan Coe, Neil Young, and Rick Danko of The Band. Other Bobby Charles renditions by Joe Cocker, Doug Sahm, and Shannon McNally are also on the playlist.
Live music in Lafayette this week
Thursday, December 5 at 8:00 pm
The Listening Room feat. Lance Dubroc
Thursday, December 5 and Friday, December 6 at 7:30 pm
Before I Grow Too Old: The Music of Bobby Charles
Acadiana Center for the Arts
Friday, December 6 at 5:00 pm
Christmas with the Boss: Keith Frank and the Pine Leaf Boys
Saturday, December 7 at 9:00 pm
Marc Broussard plus D.G. and the Freetown Sound
Rock n' Bowl de Lafayette
Sunday, December 8 at 1:00 pm
Sheryl Cormier & Cajun Sounds