Rivers Studio Dispatch: Danny James and J. B. Fuselier

small_cfgTwo tracks this week from the Goldband Recording Corporation Collection (20245). These tapes were preserved in the Rivers Studio as part of a current Southern Folklife Collection digitization project, From the Piedmont to the Swamplands: Preserving Southern Traditional Music, funded by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

First, from FT6770, the great guitarist Danny James (née Danny James Sonnier). A skilled session player, James had a productive solo career as well, his signiture guitar tone sliding through swamp blues and boogie. Instrumentals like ”Switchit,” showcase James backed by a solid southern soul ensemble, including horns. 

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FT6770_Goldband Recording Corporation Collection (20245)Another treat in the studio last week was a tape by Cajun fiddler J. B. Fuselier and his Merrymakers. Fuselier was a popular and innovative musician, recording a number of popular Cajun hits in the 1930s and 1940s, adding drums and steel guitar to his traditional Cajun ensemble. After WWII, Fuselier joined with Iry LeJune and the Calcasieu Playboys and the two ruled the dance hall circuit until 1955 when LeJune was killed and Fuselier severely injured when hit by a car while changing a tire at night on a dangerous South Louisiana highway. Despite his injuries, Fuselier never stopped playing and recorded a number of sides for Goldband in the 1960s, including “Think of Me,” from FT6857. We love the steel guitar and accordion arrangement, and Fuselier’s lonsome vocals make this a Cajun honkytonk heartbreaker perfect for Monday morning. 

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FT6857_Goldband Recording Corporation Collection (20245)