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vendredi 18 octobre 2019

CAROL FRAN/ Louisiana Swamp blues

CAROL FRAN/ Louisiana Swamp blues

Carol Fran, certainly one of the Queen of the Louisiana Swamp blues, was born Carol Anthony Martin in the city of Lafayette, at the very heart of the Cajun country, on October 23, 1933. Her mother wanted her to be a classical pianist and Carol followed piano (and dance) lessons at a very early age. But as she told in an in-depth interview to Living Blues Magazine (n°116), she hated those piano lessons and instead lent an ear to R&B local and national acts, particularly Ella Mae Morse, Dinah Washington or Camille Howard.
            Anyway, she was already a proficient piano player when, at just 15!, she started to play in the Louisiana clubs with the Don Coway Orchestra. Don encouraged her to sing and soon she was fronting the band and garnering good followings. Another step and Carol was hired by Bubba Lutcher's (brother of Nellie and Joe) agency from Lake Charles and she started to tour across the South West from Texas to California before settling awhile in New Orleans. There she sang in many cabarets of the French Quarter with many bands, those of Edgar Blanchard, Sugar Boy Crawford and even Guitar Slim, becoming a very favorite female singer of Bourbon Street and, of course, she married in New Orleans to saxophonist Bob François. She then dropped her maiden name and began a new career under the name of Carol Fran, thinking François was too difficult to pronounce in Texas or California!
            A two years and fruitful contract with the main venue of Ciudad Juarez at the Mexican border and Carol was at last recorded in 1957 by the ever smart Jay Miller from Crowley who recognized in Carol a major talent. The nice swamp pop ballad Emmitt Lee, penned by Carol and issued by Excello was a modest local hit but the driving and witty Knock Knock enjoyed a wider success and the song is still a Swamp blues/rock classic.
            Carol signed then a contract with the Lyric label from Lake Charles: The great pretender was a smash hit from Houston to New Orleans and Carol became a major New Orleans artist, singing at the Dew Drop Inn and the Sugar Bowl clubs and appearing with Earl King, Lee Dorsey, Joe Tex... This is on a tour with the Joe Tex Revue that she appeared in New York at the famous
At the Apollo. Courtesy Living Blues
Apollo Theatre and signing with the Port Records label for which she recorded her smoldering Crying in the Chapel, an instant hit that would be very soon recorded by Elvis Presley. She toured the USA from coast to coast with the Joe Tex Revue until, tired of the hectic life on the road, she settled in Miami and around 1977 in Houston, to be closer to her kinfolks. At that time, the opportunities were scarce but Carol formed a duo with her second husband, ace Texas guitarist Clarence Holliman. Her early records having a great reputation in Europe, she was "re-discovered" by local producers and Carol and Clarence started to appear in festivals all around the USA and Europe, recording a string of mostly excellent albums for Black Top and JSP.
            After the death of Clarence Hollimon in 2000, she was devastated but managed to pursue her career, touring Europe and recording a very emotional album Fran-Tastic backed by Louisiana guitarist Selwyn Cooper. She relocated in Lafayette, appearing in festivals all over the world and on records by Grady Gaines, Bob Corritore or Anson Funderburgh. She gained a National Endowment for the Arts Awards in 2013.
                                                                       Gérard HERZHAFT
A lot of thanks to Benoit Blue Boy, Apesville and Mike K. from Australia for their help and loan of rare records.

Carol Fran, vcl; band. Crowley, La. 12 June 1957
01. Tomorrow
Carol Fran, vcl; John Johnson, g; Guitar Gable, g; Fats Perrodin, bs; Clarence Etienne, dms. Crowley, La. 22 February 1958
02. Emmitt Lee
03. One look at you daddy
Carol Fran, vcl; band. Crowley, La. 18 June 1958
04. I quit my knockin'
If we should meet again (Thanks to Apesville for sharing this rare track)
Carol Fran, vcl; band. Crowley, La. 24 February1959
05. Knock knock I & II
06. Emmitt Lee's come back
Carol Fran, vcl; band. Crowley, La. March 1960
07. One more chance
08. Run a while (Running and hiding)
09. Hold me
Carol Fran, vcl; band. Lake Charles, La. 1961
So tired of crying
10. Just because you're mine
Carol Fran, vcl; Cookie Thierry, t-sax; Sheldon Dunaway, t-sax; Ernest Jacobs, pno; Marshall Ladee, g; Joe Landry, bs; Soko Richardson, dms. Lake Charles, La. 1962
11. The great pretender
12. Please stand by me
Carol Fran, vcl; band. Lake Charles, La. late 1962
13. After a night out
It's you (Thanks to Apesville for sharing this rare track)
Carol Fran, vcl; band. New York City, 1964
14. Crying in the chapel
15. I'm gonna try
Carol Fran, vcl; Sammy Lowe Orchestra. New York City, early 1965
16. It's my turn now
17. You can't stop me
18. A world without you
19. I know
Carol Fran, vcl; band. New York City, late 1965
20. Any day love walks in
21. Just a letter
Carol Fran, vcl; band. New York City, 1966
22. So close
23. Out of sight, out of mind
Carol Fran, vcl; band. New York City, March 1967
24. My runaway heart
25. C'mon let's make up
26. You're my pleasure
27. A woman in love
28. I was such a fool
29. Roll with the Punches

15 commentaires:

  1. CAROL FRAN/ Louisiana Swamp Pop!PEhmAYbI!D8tdDIj1oHNT37UHxG8Hz-vFgYM88xKcrr-M972Y_yk
    OK? And thanks for the feedback

  2. bonne journee a toi Gerard;merci pour ce nouveau post;bon weekend.

  3. Merci beaucoup monsieur, vous êtes très généreux avec les informations que vous nous donnez, ceux d'entre nous qui veulent connaître le blues et je tiens également à mentionner leur excellent travail GRANDE ENCYCLOPEDIE DU BLUES.
    J'ai acheté votre traduction en espagnol.
    Je vous salue avec admiration et respect de l'Argentine.

  4. Thanks so much, Gerard. Long time Fran fan, but a lot of these tunes are hard to find. Coincidentally, I last saw her perform several,years ago at an Excello reunion during the Blues & Bbq Fest in NO, which starts tonight.

  5. Many thanks Gerard, I'm looking forward to listing to this over the weekend.

  6. Merci Gerard, content de pouvoir découvrir ces faces des années 60. Je connais Carol Fran à travers ses enregistrements pour Black Top dans les annes 80-90, avec l'excellent Clarence Holiman. Bonne continuation.

  7. Juan Urbano Lopez1 novembre 2019 à 09:19

    Thanks for this, Gerard. I was lucky enough to watched her perform in an Excello Records Reunion in 2015 in New Orleans with Lazy Lester and Classie Ballou, backed by the late Li’l Buck Sinegal. Thanks as usual! Warm regards, Juan

  8. Gérard, Thank you for the early Carol Fran recordings. I love them.

  9. Excello (TN) 45 - 2133 : Carol Fran -If We Should Meet Again (1958)
    Beau Monde (CA) 45- 1934 : Carol Fran - It's You (1962) need a label shot of this)



    1. Thanks a lot, Apesville! You are really filling a gap in Carol's discography!

  10. Thank you (all) so much for this compilation! I love her love her love her. I already knew I loved her tho' I had already heard a handful of her tracks, so this almost complete set is a wish come true. Cheers from Australia