Tuesday, August 22, 2017



The Ponderosa Stomp has added “legend” (NPR) and Queen of Memphis Soul Carla Thomas; Fat Possum and recording artist Don Bryant, who released a “marvelous” (Rolling Stone) new album ‘Don’t Give Up On Love;’ Thomas has been back in the spotlight with her hit song “B-A-B-Y” prominently featured in the film Baby Driver, but rarely known to make public performances. Bryant, songwriter for Solomon Burke, Albert King and wife Ann Peebles’ hit “I Can’t Stand the Rain,” saw his new album “Don’t Give Up On Love” earn praise from the likes of NPR Music, Rolling Stone, Paste, Uncut, MOJO, and more. Thomas and Bryant join already announced headliners Gary U.S. Bonds, Roky Erickson playing 13th Floor Elevators songs, The Mummies, Barbara Lynn, Roy Head, and Doug Kershaw, among others at the two-night concert October 6 and 7 at the Orpheum Theater in New Orleans, LA.

Spotify playlist of Ponderosa Stomp performers, including new additions: https://play.spotify.com/user/ponderosastomp/playlist/2ptcXdd2KlAA3ZVaxA9IU4

Ponderosa Stomp 2017 teaser video (OK to share): https://vimeo.com/226954586

The Ponderosa Stomp Music History Conference has been finalized October 5th and 6th at Ace Hotel New Orleans. It includes in-depth interviews with Carla Thomas and her sister Vaneese, “Tighten Up” soulman Archie Bell, Louisiana Cajun rock & roller Doug Kershaw, “Quarter to 3” hitmaker Gary U.S. Bonds, and a tribute to Norton Records’ late Billy Miller. It will also delve deeply into the untold stories behind records by Little Richard, Ray Charles, Allen Toussaint, Rufus Thomas, Presley, and other greats.

Also recently added to perform at the Stomp concert are Vaneese Thomas, sister of Carla and daughter of rock & roll DJ and rhythm & blues player Rufus Thomas; Charles Connor, original drummer for Little Richard and creator of the “Choo Choo Train” stick style.

Bios on all Stomp performers: http://www.ponderosastomp.com/concert_2017.php

Tickets and more information are available at http://PonderosaStomp.com

2017 Ponderosa Stomp Music History Conference Schedule


10:00 - 10:45 am
Bourbon Street Parade: A Look at Bourbon Street Clubs in the 60s
Featuring “Wacko” Wade, George Porter, Jr. and Moderator David Kunian
Bourbon Street’s musical past is easy to lose in the glare of neon lights and fluorescent drinks. A
close look reveals that the tourist attraction was a vital source of work and a training ground for
the Crescent City’s rhythm and blues artists. From his drum kit behind Freddie Fender and others,
“Wacko” Wade Wright saw the strip transform from District Attorney Jim Garrison’s vice raids
through the passage of civil rights legislation in the 1960s. The incomparable bassist George
Porter, Jr. played in the house band at the Ivanhoe six nights a week in the early years of
desegregation on Bourbon. When Allen Toussaint heard the group he brought them into the studio
and introduced the world to The Meters, who went on to become one of New Orleans’ most
celebrated acts. David Kunian, Curator of Music at the New Orleans Jazz Museum, leads the
To explore this subject further, go to the “Bourbon Street Parade” tour on ACloserWalkNola.com ,
the interactive map of New Orleans music history. You can follow it on a desktop or on a mobile
device as you walk through the area.

11:00 - 11:45 am
The Gospel Truth of Rosemont Records
Featuring Al Taylor, James Williams, Andrew Jackson and Moderator Brice White
This panel will examine the history and importance of Rosemont Records, which released gospel
and rhythm & blues records in the 1970s and 1980s, as well as one of the first New Orleans hip
hop records. Rosemont owner and engineer Al Taylor will be joined by James Williams, guitarist
and leader of The Electrifying Crown Seekers, and Andrew Jackson, leader of The Famous Rocks of
Harmony. Panel will be moderated by music historian, record producer, writer, and DJ, Brice White.

12:45 - 1:45 pm
South Rampart Street Stroll: The Music and Geography of South Rampart Street
Featuring Bruce Raeburn, Deacon John Moore, Richard Campanella and Moderator Jordan Hirsch
The office towers and parking lots on South Rampart Street in New Orleans today obscure its
remarkable history. Once brimming with honky tonks, dance halls, and shops, this strip was vital
both to the birth of jazz and the development of New Orleans R&B -- the neighborhood was home
to Louis Armstrong and, later, Professor Longhair. The story of “back o’ town” New Orleans, from
Black Storyville to Chitlin Circuit dances to barroom gigs by the likes of Roy Brown, traces the
emergence of the “New Orleans sound” in R&B. The sound would fill the nation’s radio waves and
jukeboxes after World War II, even while much of the neighborhood was bulldozed. Deacon John
Moore, bandleader of nearly fifty years and President of the New Orleans Musicians’ Union, will
share Rampart Street lore and discuss with Richard Campanella, author and geographer at the
Tulane School of Architecture and Dr. Bruce Raeburn, author and Director of Special Collections
and Curator of the Hogan Jazz Archive at Tulane University. Writer and advocate Jordan Hirsch
To explore this subject further, go to the “South Rampart Street Stroll” tour on
ACloserWalkNola.com , the interactive map of New Orleans music history. You can follow it on a
desktop or on a mobile device as you walk through the area.

2:00 - 2:45 pm
I’ve Got Reasons: The Return of Mary Jane Hooper
Featuring Mary Jane Hooper and Moderator Neil Pellegrin
Mary Jane Hooper, née Sena Fletcher, is a favorite of record collectors. Called the "Queen of New
Orleans Funk" by some, she performed and recorded with such greats as Allen Toussaint, Eddie Bo,
Lee Dorsey, Wardell Quezergue, Willie Tee and the great James Black as her drummer. Although
most of her recordings were done at Cosimo Matassa's studio, she also recorded at other facilities
like Studio in the Country and Sea-Saint Recording studio. She recorded under the Scram, Power,
Power-Pac, and World Pacific labels and was part of the famed Triple Souls background singers
made up of herself, Inez Cheatham and Mercedes Morris who did background for such artists as
Johnny Adams, Lee Dorsey and others. Wanting to expand her musical wings, she toured with a
well-known rock and roll band called the "Q" in the 1970's. After leaving the music business, she
became a well-known and respected newscaster on WTIX-AM radio, Vice President of a local
advertising agency and a Senior Marketing Consultant for a nationwide telecommunications
company. She will be interviewed by WWOZ disc jockey and vinyl aficionado Neil Pellegrin.

3:00 - 3:45 pm
Willie Knows How: An Oral History with Willie West
Featuring Willie West and Moderator John Broven
Willie West has been making music for over 50 years. After putting together his first band, the
Sharks, as a teenager in Raceland, Louisiana, Willie recorded at Cosimo Matassa’s studio, worked
with such greats as Wardell Quezergue and Allen Toussaint, and released records on a number of
labels, including Rustone, Frisco, Deesu, Josie and Warner Bros. And all of this was before he was
lead vocalist for The Meters when they performed on Saturday Night Live. Willie will be interviewed
by the venerable John Broven , author of South to Louisiana: The Music of the Cajun Bayous and
Rhythm and Blues in New Orleans.

4:00 - 4:45 pm
It Came from Philly
Featuring Archie Bell and Winfield Parker, with Moderator Jason Hanley
Though Archie Bell was born in Texas and Winfield Parker is from Maryland, both artists are
celebrated exponents of the Philadelphia sound. While touring in support of “Tighten Up,” a number
one hit on both the pop and R&B charts, Archie & the Drells met Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff,
Philadelphia's leading songwriting and production team. Their partnership would produce classics
such as "I Can't Stop Dancing" and "(There's Gonna Be A) Showdown," which was later
re-invented by the New York Dolls. Winfield Parker was the flagship artists for Baltimore’s Ru-Jac
label before hooking up with Jimmy Bishop of Philadelphia’s soul station WDAS. From there, he
collaborated with Barbara Mason and charted with “S.O.S. (Stop Her On Site).” In his over 50-year
career he has worked alongside such greats as Little Richard, Otis Redding, and Ike and Tina
Turner. Moderating the discussion will be Dr. Jason Hanley , the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and
Museum’s Vice President of Education and Visitor Engagement.

5:00 - 5:45 pm
The RAM Records Story
Featuring Margaret Lewis, Alton Warwick, Roy “Boogie Boy” Perkins, V.J. Boulet and Moderator
Michael Hurtt
This panel shines a spotlight on the Shreveport label RAM Records. Alton Warwick, the co-owner
of RAM who built the label’s studio, will be joined by Margaret Lewis, a RAM recording artist,
producer, and award-winning songwriter; Swamp-pop pioneer Ernie Suarez , otherwise known as
Roy “Boogie Boy” Perkins ; and V.J. Boulet of Bobby & The Riff Raffs. Musician and musicologist
Michael Hurtt , who is currently at work on a book about Detroit’s Fortune Records, will moderate.

6:00 - 6:45 pm
Tales of A Louisiana Man: An Oral History with Doug Kershaw
Featuring Doug Kershaw and Moderators Deke Dickerson and Dave Stuckey
Doug Kershaw, the singer, songwriter and master fiddler known as the Ragin’ Cajun, has had an
extraordinary career. He was a regular on the Louisiana Hayride and a member of the Grand Ole
Opry before recording hits “Diggy Liggy Lo” and “Louisiana Man” – the latter being the first song
broadcast back to Earth from the moon by the Apollo 12 astronauts. His appearances on television
shows such as The Ed Sullivan Show , The Tonight Show starring Johnny Carson, and The Johnny
Cash Show brought Cajun music to a national audience. He will be interviewed by musicians Dave
Stuckey and Deke Dickerson.


10:00 - 10:45 am
The Man Behind the Montel & Michelle Labels: An Oral History with Sam Montalbano
Featuring Moderator John Broven
Sam Montalbano, known in the music business as Sam Montel, has done it all. He ran Deep South
Studio in Baton Rouge and worked with artists such as The Boogie Kinds, Sugar Boy Crawford, and
Slim Harpo. He owned the Montel and Michelle record labels, putting out regional and national hits
such as Dale & Grace’s No. 1 “I’m Leaving It Up To You.” As a concert promoter, he brought national and international acts to Baton Rouge, including Jimi Hendrix, Otis Redding, Ray Charles, and The Who. Montalbano will discuss his record labels and the South Louisiana music industry with John Broven , author of South to Louisiana: The Music of the Cajun Bayous and Rhythm and Blues in New Orleans.

10:55 - 11:50 am
Last Train from Kicksville: A Tribute to Billy Miller of Norton Records
Featuring Miriam Linna, Todd Abramson, James Marshall, Deke Dickerson and Moderator Michael
This panel will honor the late Billy Miller, described by David Fricke as “a collector and scholar of the raw, fundamental and unapologetic in rockabilly, R&B and garage punk who shared his knowledge and passions with the exuberant, addicting force of a true fan.” Miller, with Miriam Linna, founded Norton Records, which has been releasing important and often forgotten music for over 25 years, and was a heavy influence on the Ponderosa Stomp. Linna was the first drummer for the Cramps and later played with Miller in a band called the A-Bones. She is joined on the panel by James Marshall, a former New York Times critic and former owner of Lakeside Lounge in New York and Circle Bar in New Orleans; Todd Abramson, WFMU DJ and the former talent booker at Maxwell’s, the famed Hoboken, New Jersey nightclub; and Deke Dickerson, a musician, writer, and music historian. Musician and musicologist Michael Hurtt will moderate.

12:35 - 1:20 pm
Evie Sands Oral History
Featuring Moderator Sheryl Farber
Evie Sands made some of the finest blue-eyed soul singles of the '60s. A cult figure of vintage pop,
Sands was born in Brooklyn but came of age in Los Angeles, recording “Take Me For a Little While”
and “Angel of the Morning” before they became hits. She retired from performing in 1979 to
concentrate on writing and producing, but waged a triumphant comeback in the late '90s and has
been at it ever since. Sands will be interviewed by the Grammy-nominated producer, writer and
editor Sheryl Farber.

1:30 - 2:15 pm
Make it Sound Like a Train: An Oral History with Charles Connor
Featuring Moderator David Kunian
As the drummer in Little Richard’s band the Upsetters, Charles "Keep A Knockin’" Connor is
credited with introducing the hugely influential "Choo Choo Train" style – successive eighth notes
with a loud back beat – into the rock ‘n’ roll lexicon. He went on to drum behind legends such as
Sam Cooke, Jackie Wilson, and James Brown, who credited Connor with being “the first to put the
funk in the rhythm.” Fittingly, his drumsticks are on display at the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame
Museum. Connor, a New Orleans native, was inducted into the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame in
2010. He will be interviewed by David Kunian, the Curator of Music at the New Orleans Jazz

2:25 - 3:10 pm
Forever Young: An Oral History with Reggie Young
Featuring Moderator red kelly
You may not know his name, but you know his music: Reggie Young has appeared on over 100
chart hits, in multiple genres, in a career spanning more than 60 years. A guitar great, he appeared
on the Louisiana Hayride before moving to Memphis and recording with Hi Records’ Willie Mitchell.
In 1964, when the Beatles tapped Bill Black as an opener on their U.S. tour, Young, who was
Black’s guitarist, left the studio for the road. He went on to became a top session man in Memphis
and then Nashville, playing on hits for Elvis Presley, Aretha Franklin, Neil Diamond, and Dusty
Springfield, among many others. Music archaeologist and blogger red kelly will talk to Young about
his extraordinary and influential life in music.

3:20 - 4:05 pm
Walking the Dog: Growing Up with the “World’s Oldest Teenager” Rufus Thomas
Featuring Carla and Vaneese Thomas and Moderator Andria Lisle
Carla and Vaneese Thomas, stars in their own right, will discuss growing up with their father,
Memphis R&B and funk pioneer Rufus Thomas, “the World’s Oldest Teenager.” The elder Thomas
had hits with “Walking the Dog” and “Bear Cat,” both recorded with Sam Phillips, as well as hits on
Stax Records such as “The Funky Chicken.” Carla Thomas, whose first duet partner was her late
father, has been hailed as the Queen of Memphis Soul since 1961, when her sweet, yearning ballad
“Gee Whiz (Look At His Eyes)” became a pop and R&B smash. One of the first essential signings at
Stax, she served up a string of hits throughout the ‘60s including “Let Me Be Good To You” and
“B-A-B-Y.” Vaneese Thomas cut two sizable R&B hits of her own in 1987, “Let’s Talk It Over” and
“(I Wanna Get) Close To You).” Her 2016 album “The Long Journey Home” was widely acclaimed.
Writer, curator, and musicologist Andria Lisle moderates.

4:15 - 5:00 pm
I Wanna Holler: An Oral History with Gary U.S. Bonds
Featuring Moderator Todd Abramson
Gary Anderson, better known as Gary U.S. Bonds, will look back at his storied and pioneering
career. In 1960 he recorded his first single “New Orleans,” which became a national hit. He followed
up with the even bigger hit “Quarter To Three,” which inspired Dion and the Belmonts’ “Runaround
Sue.” After years of touring with artists like B.B. King and recording additional albums, Gary left his
record label but continued to perform. A chance meeting in New Jersey led him back into the studio
in 1981 to record the successful “Dedication” album with Bruce Springsteen & Steven Van Zandt.
The record included the hit "This Little Girl," a song Springsteen wrote for Bonds, which brought
him back into the spotlight. Bonds will be interviewed by WFMU DJ Todd Abramson , the former
talent booker at Maxwell’s, the famed Hoboken, New Jersey nightclub.

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