Category Archives: New Orleans

The Local Traffic

The Local Trafffic, circa 1967, from left: Mick Hassell, Buddy Bullard, Stormy Folse, Steve Morant and Mike Cottage
The Local Trafffic, circa 1967
From left: Mick Hassell, Buddy Bullard, Stormy Folse, Steve Morant and Mike Cottage

 Mickey Hassell singing with the Local Traffic, 1967
Mickey Hassell singing with the Local Traffic, 1967
The Local Traffic’s incredible single on the Black Light label has remained almost unknown until recently and never reissued or compiled since its original release in June, 1968. “Time Gone to Waste” is a wild original sure to take its rightful place at the top of ’60s psychedelia. I love how it ends with that roll on the tom-toms. The B-side is “Second Century”, slow and stately but also excellent. Two copies of the 45 attained huge sums at auction in 2009 and 2010; there’s no doubting the rarity or musical quality of this 45.

Myles Hassell, then known as Mickey Hassell, sent in the photos and memorabilia seen here and wrote this history about the group:

In the later part of 1965, The Local Traffic came into being in the living room of Mickey Hassell’s house on Citrus Road in River Ridge; a sleepy little suburb located about 7 miles west of New Orleans, in between Harahan and Little Farms. The members of the band included Mickey Hassell (lead vocals and guitar), Stormy Folse (guitar, organ, vocals, and saxophone), Mike Cottage (bass guitar and vocals), Steve Morant (lead guitar and vocals), and Buddy Bullard (drums). The band’s manager, Skip Robinson, also played tambourine during live performances.

Our band existed outside the mainstream of the traditional music genres one associates with New Orleans (jazz, R&B, funk, etc.). Instead, we were strongly influenced by the British Invasion bands and the psychedelic music scene. If it was far-out, we played it.

When we began playing music together, we were all in high school (ranging in age from 14-16). From the start, we did not have an easy go of it. Our musical instruments and sound system were second tier: a hodgepodge gathered from pawnshops, family members, and wages earned by working after school. We had to make do with what we had – pushing our instruments and equipment to the limit when we performed. Because we were all underage, many of the local music venues such as bars, nightclubs, and other places where liquor was served were off limits to us; and other doors were slammed in our faces because we were not members of the local union of musicians. Furthermore, nobody knew us; we didn’t even have a booking agent. But we were young, and nothing was going to stop us. Through the efforts of the band’s members and word of mouth, we started to find gigs at local CYO Dances in Harahan, Little Farms, Metairie, and Kenner, along with some frat parties and block parties—anywhere we could find an audience for our music. We were beginning to build a reputation for being a band of versatile musicians that worked up a sweat and put on a good show every time we performed.

Many of the bands in New Orleans frequented Tippet’s Music store in Orleans Parish. Being kids from the suburbs, however, The Local Traffic shopped at Werlein’s Music at Lakeside Shopping Center in Metairie, at that time an open-air facility. It was there that we met Andy Gallien, who was working in Werlein’s music department. Sometime during late 1966 to early 1967, Andy and Mike (our bass player) negotiated a way for us to lease some first-rate equipment—Fender and Gretsch guitars, Ludwig drums and Zildjian cymbals, Fender Dual-Showman and Fender Twin amplifiers, Farfisa keyboards, Shure microphones, a solid sound system, and all the electronics needed to make things hum. This equipment leveled the playing field for The Local Traffic, thus enabling us to stand toe-to-toe with well-known bands from New Orleans, Baton Rouge, and the Gulf South.

Local Traffic Black Light 45 Time Gone to WasteFrom 1967 on, The Local Traffic developed a reputation as a hard-driving force in the local music scene. This led to better-paying gigs at psychedelic teen clubs, such as The Purple Pickle in Slidell and The Hullabaloo Club in Metairie, along with high school dances and private parties. During this time, Bill Strong, a producer and promoter in the music business, approached us at one of our gigs, saying that he liked our music. Ultimately, we signed a recording contract with his company, Black Light Productions. At that time, we were still a cover band, and while we had dabbled in songwriting, we had neither practiced nor performed any original music. Therefore, we had some work to do for our upcoming recording session at the now legendary Cosimo Matassa’s studio on Camp Street in New Orleans.

Mickey wrote the chord progression, words, and melody for “Time Gone to Waste,” which was to be the A-side for our 45-rpm record. During this time, he was living in an efficiency apartment in the French Quarter, scratching out a living playing music, working as a roadie for a couple of bands from the area, and working at the PDQ Car Wash on Metairie Road. As the lyrics below reveal, the song’s imagery came from his mind and soul, his apartment, and life on the streets outside:

Before the flashing dawn, I put my new face on
And I take the time to pull out my mind and then
I can see once more the same mind I had before
In my single window pane with a crystal picture frame

Love lights the night before, it makes me think of you once more
And it leaves me senseless with a time relentless
I pick my eyes up off the floor, I throw them out the open door
And I laugh out crying instead of lying, I’ve got no use for lying

I sing out loudly mine, inside the flashing sign
It’s a neon stillness like a creeping illness
I see the carpets crawl up and down the patterned wall
And they leave me a taste of the time gone to waste

Buddy’s driving drumbeat and Mike’s punching bass line created a rhythm section with the power of a locomotive roaring at full throttle. The guitar work of Stormy and Steve slashed, soared, and intertwined with the rhythm section. Mickey’s vocalization was defiant, yet laden with emotion. As recorded, “Time Gone to Waste” was a kick-ass song—combining poetry with rock-and-roll and psychedelics, and capturing the energy, creativity, and musicianship of The Local Traffic.

Mike created an elegant bass line, then Mickey created the chords, lyrics, and melody for a song titled, “Second Century,” which became the B-side for our 45-rpm record. The song was about a woman who kept others at a distance via mind-games and who tried in vain to ignore the passing of time and her loneliness. The song’s chord progression was tempered by Buddy’s skillful drum work and accentuated by Stormy’s sensitive touch on the electric organ. Steve’s guitar solo was adept, and his harmonic coda ushered the song to a climactic tonal flourish. Mickey’s vocalization was melancholy and the lyrics were poignant:

Second century woman, Second century child
Talk with your mask and not your mind
Singing songs stolen out of time

I feel the thunder, of the senseless words
Open to those who sing your song
Not trying to but aging along

I’ve been playing your lovely games
And I’m tired of feeling just the same
I’m cracked just like a broken dream
That stopped for a while just to scream

Second century woman, Second century child
You can remain with yourself
You can remain with yourself in falling

Second century woman, with a hand of brass
Reaching out to turn to gold
In a world that makes you grow so old
You’ve gone and you’ve left it
How hard to forget where you’re at

Local Traffic Black Light 45 Second CenturyA limited number of 45-rpm discs were pressed on the Black Light label (the label is florescent and glows if you hold it under a black light), and “Time Gone to Waste” was introduced to the New Orleans market in 1968. The song got some airtime on local radio stations WNOE and WTIX, both during the day and on the underground broadcasts at night. Through local record stores, we sold some 45s to our fans, and the radio airtime helped us land some good gigs in the area. During this time, Mickey was becoming prolific as a writer of songs and lyrics, so we laid some more tracks at Cosimo’s recording studio; also teaming up with another local songwriter. None of the tracks made it outside of the four walls of the studio.

In early 1969, The Local Traffic played its last gig at a country club (now gone) near the current site of the Greek Orthodox Church on Bayou St. John, just off Robert E. Lee Boulevard in the Lakeview section of Orleans Parish. After our work was done, we sat on the bank of the bayou, smoking, drinking, and saying our goodbyes. Perhaps it was the strain of balancing divergent interests in music; maybe we were frustrated by the outcome of our efforts in the recording studio; perhaps we were exhausted from busting our chops in the music business in the Crescent City; or maybe it was just time to move on. Whatever the reason may have been, we parted company that night and went our separate ways.

Q. It’s amazing you were able to come up with a song as strong as “Time Gone to Waste” considering the band didn’t do originals in their live shows yet. Did you ever play that song live?

Thank you for your compliment about “Time Gone to Waste.” It was one of the first songs I had ever written. After it was released in New Orleans, we played “Time Gone to Waste” and “Second Century” whenever we performed.

Q. Were there other groups on the local scene that your band was either friends with or saw as competition?

We competed for jobs with bands from out of town, such as The Basement Wall and the Greek Fountains. There was plenty of local competition from groups such as The Palace Guards, Yesterday’s Children, The Clinging Vines, The Gunda Dyns, The Souls of the Slain, The Better Half Dozen, The Glory Rhodes, and Leaves of Grass and more. When I first set foot on the campus of the University of New Orleans, it was like “old home week,” because a lot of the local musicians were going to college there. We had all heard of each other, and got a chance to get to know each other, at that time. That’s where I met and became friends with Rickey Moore, drummer from The Better Half. I also got to know Frank Bua (drummer w/The Palace Guards and later with The Radiators), Camile Baudoin (later with the Radiators), Richard Morant (lead guitar with Yesterday’s Children; his brother, Steve, played lead guitar in the Local Traffic), Quint Davis (tambourine with Yesterday’s Children; started the Jazz Fest in NOLA). During this time, I did roadie work with The Palace Guards and Yesterday’s Children (when the Local Traffic was not working), so I knew the members of those groups pretty well.

Q. Were you in groups before or after Local Traffic?

Before the Local Traffic, I did not play music with anyone else, practicing guitar and singing by myself. After the Local Traffic, I was active as an “outsider” musician in New Orleans, making some studio recordings of songs I had written and trying to form some bands. Much of this activity was not noteworthy, but there are some things of substance. . . . In the late 60s – early 70s, I did some more recording work with Stormy Folse and Bill Strong at Cosimo’s, Butch Elliot (son of Ken Elliot aka Jack the Cat on the radio in NOLA) at his personal studio, and another studio, can’t remember the name, on Tulane Avenue (during these sessions, Rickey Moore, former drummer with the Zoofs and The Better Half was on drums). I co-wrote a few songs with some other musicians; I can only remember Eddie Volker (later with the Radiators). However, no records were released from these sessions.

At several gigs in the early 1970s, I sang lead in a band featuring Emile Guest (lead guitarist with Roger and the Gypsies), short-lived and I can’t recall the name of the group. I sang and played acoustic guitar at several local pubs, such as The Rear End in Lakeview. In 1973 – 1975, I sang lead and shared lead guitar duties with Stormy Folse (from the Local Traffic), in a cover band named Wet Leggs. From 1976 – 1978, I sang lead and played guitar in another cover band–Straight Whiskey–and Stormy played bass guitar. I hung up my rock-n-roll shoes in the later part of 1978, after earning an MA in English Literature and getting a job selling office machines. In 1987, I went back to college to earn an MBA, and taught in the English Department at the University of New Orleans. During that time, I picked up an acoustic guitar, writing several songs, singing and playing in private only for about six months. Since that time, I have not played music or written any songs.

Myles (Mickey) Hassell, April 2011

Thank you to Myles for the history and images, and also for kindly answering my questions.

Update, July 2012

Mike Cottage wrote to me:

I went on, moved to California in ’73 and was a founding member of Sneaker produced by Jeff “Skunk” Baxter. We had moderate success with a few hit songs, “More Than Just the Two of Us” and “Don’t Let Me In” (written by Walter Becker and Donald Fagan). You can view our web site for more songs and info: Sneaker has a number of videos on you tube if you search for Sneaker the band or type the song title “More Than Just the Two of Us”. And of course most of Sneaker’s songs are available on itunes.

Update, March 2016

Myles Hassell (Mickey) passed away on Wednesday, March 2, 2016 at the age of 66. I’d like to say that I really enjoyed speaking with Myles and learning about the Local Traffic and their single. Working with Myles on this article has been one of the highlights of my work on this website over the last 11 years.

Mike Cottage adds, “all of his band mates from the 60’s and the many friends he made through his journey will always be richer for having known him. Though he will always be with us, those who played music with Mickey will forever share in a special brotherhood and miss his creativity and brilliance. RIP Mickey. Thank you again for leading the way.”

At the Hullabaloo on Airline Highway, 1967 Note other shows by the Gaunga Dyns and the Leaves of Grass
At the Hullabaloo on Airline Highway, 1967
Note other shows by the Gaunga Dyns and the Leaves of Grass

Drits & Dravy

Drits & Dravy Another 45 Talk That Talk Part 1Just a few days after I added Nick’s article on former Daily Flash guitarist Doug Hastings’ time with Dr. John’s band in 1969, I picked up this single on the Another label by Drits & Dravy, one of Mac Rebennack’s many early releases before he moved to Los Angeles and assumed the Dr. John persona. It features Mac and Ronnie Barron putting down a long stream of quick rhymes and puns, many of which I can’t make out through the echo.

I’ve seen this as being from 1960, but I think 1962 is probably more likely, given that Dr. John mentions having the Drits and Dravy act at the same time he was cutting an unreleased LP for AFO.

Besides Mac and Ronnie, either of whom could be playing organ, I’m not sure who was on this session. It could have included some of his regular band at the time, such as Paul Staehle (drums) and Charlie Maduell (sax).

Another collaboration between these two which sounds very different is Ronnie Barron’s single “It’s All in the Past” written by Dauenhauer-Rebennack b/w “The Hip Parade”by Rebennack-O’Neil, from about 1963.

Drits & Dravy Another 45 Talk That Talk Part 2

The Better Half Dozen

“Kaiser” Frank Maier

A young Ed McNamara learned to play guitar when his family moved to Holland for a time, having no American TV to distract him. After returning to New Orleans, in 1965 he and bassist John D’Antoni were playing a set of surf instrumentals at a sweet sixteen party when they met vocalist Steve Sklamba, lead guitarist Mike “Mange” Mangiapane and keyboard player Frank Maier. Together they formed the Avantis, soon finding Tommy Hartdegen to play drums.

Since Frank couldn’t play with the group full-time due to high school commitments, Ted Genter joined on Farfisa. The band started rehearsing at Ted’s house on Bonnabel Street. By December of ’65, Rickey Moore replaced Tommy Hartdegen on drums. Rickey had been with the Coachmen, who later became Yesterday’s Children.

Ed describes the Better Half dozen as “a horn band without the horns!” They played live shows all over the area, including frat parties and socials, but more usually at clubs, with regular gigs at the Beaconette and at Gerald’s Key Club on St. Charles. Known for playing at extremely loud volumes, they inspired a dedicated following.

The band would buy instruments on layaway from Tippet’s Music, which allowed the band to take the instruments for the weekend, but they had to return them the following Monday until their balance was paid off. Ed played a Gibson ES 335, with Fender Dual 12″ Twin Reverb and Dual Showman amps.

Required to join the musicians’ union, one rule was ten union members had to be employed when playing the ballrooms in the big hotels. For rock bands without horn sections this was an antiquated regulation dating back to a time before amplified music. To skirt the rule, any band without a gig on a particular night would have some of its members attend another group’s live show. If a union rep showed up there’d be ten guys there able to present union cards.

Another way to make up the union numbers was to hire a second band to play during the headliner’s breaks. The Basement Wall (who Steve Sklamba considered to be one of the best groups in Louisiana at the time) hired the Better Half Dozen to play the breaks at a formal; the Better Half took the opportunity to steal the show! Ed remembers Barrie Edgar of the Basement Wall coming up to congratulate them afterwards.

In August of 1966 they met Steve Montagnet, a law student who was promoting live shows under the name Splendor Enterprises. The band had changed their name to the Forces of Evil early on, but at this point were still called the Avantis, a name out of touch with the times. According to Ed, Steve came up with the name the Better Half Dozen.

The band recorded four songs at Cosimo Matassa’s Camp Street studio, two originals that were part of their live set, and two covers. Steve Montagnet financed the session, and the group produced it with Cosimo engineering.

“I’m Gonna Leave You,” written by Steve Sklamba and Mike Mangiapane is an unrelenting two minutes of garage. “I Could Have Loved Her”, an original by Steve and Eddie, starts out slow before revving up, with fine harmonies over the driving rhythm.

The other two songs recorded at the session were covers of “Mister, You’re a Better Man Than I” and, interestingly, the West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band’s “Transparent Day”, featuring the group’s harmonies. These were never released, though an acetate of the songs may exist.

The 45 was released on the U-Doe label, run by Frank Uddo, who wasn’t much older than the band. Ed estimates they pressed up maybe 500 copies, and for the most part gave them away. Except for a little play on WNOE the single received almost no radio exposure, though I’m Gonna Leave You was a popular song at their live shows.

Ted Genter played organ on the session, but eventually left the band and Frank Maier became the full-time keyboardist. In January of 1967, Rickey Moore left to join the Zoofs, recording a 45 produced by Allen Toussaint, “Get to Know Yourself” / “Not So Near”, both originals by Mike Presti. The Better Half Dozen found a new drummer, Jay Guernsbacker, but when the Zoofs fell apart soon after the single was released, they took Rickey back into the band.

In 1968 Steve Sklamba left the band during a set break. The remaining five continued as the Better Half, but pressures of work, military service and college eventually finished off the band. Mike Mangiapane and Rickey Moore went on to record with Bobby Fonseca of the Palace Guard.

When the Better Half Dozen reunited in 1991, hundreds of people showed up. There was talk of them reuniting again for a gig at Ponderosa Stomp, but that hasn’t happened yet.

I recommend checking out the excellent interviews with Rickey Moore, Frank Maier and Steve Sklamba. Additional sources include my interview with Ed McNamara from July, 2007; photos from Brown Paper Sack, and 45 transfers by bosshoss and Don Julio.

The Glory Rhodes

Left to right: John Laviolette, Ronnie Tallent, Sal Serio and Allan Johnson
A later lineup of the group with what looks to be an acetate record.
New Orleans’ Glory Rhodes original lineup was Kenny Lyles (lead vocals), Frankie Spencer (lead guitar), Sal Serio (keyboards and rhythm guitar), John Laviolette (bass) and Greg Nobile (drums).

Their first 45 in January of 1966 covers the Animals’ “I’m Gonna Change the World”, with “Stay Out of My Way” on the flip.

The second, equally good, features two originals: Greg Nobile’s “Not that Kind of Guy” along with “Gonna Be Somebody” written by Nobile, Serio and Ken Lyles. Both sides use 12-string guitar.

These are the first two 45s on the U-Doe label, which would also release rare 45s by the Palace Guard and the Better Half Dozen.

Their next 45, on the related White Cliffs label, featured two covers, “One Track Mind” and “Run for Your Life”. In 1968 they signed to Atco for two releases which are much more pop in sound, with strings and horns. Ronnie Tallent became drummer and lead vocalist after Kenny Lyles left and is featured on the Atco 45s:

The band had a brief appearance in a schlocky 1967 feature, Hot Thrills and Warm Chills, though the music heard in the film is probably not them. Not a movie I’d highly recommend, but it does have a lot of good footage of the actual Mardi Gras, as well as an ending scene in a cemetery that might put you in mind of Easy Rider.

Later members included Allan Johnson on lead guitar and Kenny White of the Other Guys on drums.

Top photo courtesy of Laura Matherne Ditta, with more shots to come if we’re lucky! Thanks to Myeck Waters for cleaning up the original.

Jerry Lenfant sent in the photos from Rummel High School, all taken by Dalton Masson. Thanks to Mike Legendre for sending in the transfers of “Old Laces” and “I’m So Happy”.

The screen shots below of the Glory Rhodes appearing in Hot Thrills and Warm Chills are the earliest photos of the group I’ve seen.

The dancer is Darlene

The six photos below were taken by Dalton Masson at Rummel High School and sent to me by Jerry Lenfant.

John Laviolette on bass with Ronnie Tallent behind the drums

John Laviolette on bass with Ronnie Tallent behind the drums and Allan Johnson Frank Spencer partially seen on the right

from left: Sal Serio, Ronnie Tallent, Allan Johnson Frank Spencer and John Laviolette

from left: Sal Serio, Ronnie Tallent, Frank Spencer and John Laviolette

from left: Frank Spencer and John Laviolette

from left: Ronnie Tallent and John Laviolette

The Souls of the Slain

The Souls of the Slain in a New Orleans cemetery, August 1966, left to right: Billy Klause, Carl Flesher, Jim Hutchison, Jerry Heinberg, and Cornel LeBlanc.
The Souls of the Slain in a New Orleans cemetery, August 1966, left to right: Billy Klause, Carl Flesher, Jim Hutchison, Jerry Heinberg, and Cornel LeBlanc.

Souls of the Slain Rickshaw 45 7 And 7 IsThe Souls of the Slain cover two songs by Love on their only 45, released on the Rickshaw label. Besides a great version of “7 and 7 Is”, the flip “Can’t Go On” is their version of “Signed D.C.” with a new title.

“Gigging frequently at the Beaconette on the corner of Napoleon and Claiborne, the Souls of the Slain often squared off against future Radiator Frank Bua’s band and U-Doe recording artists the Palace Guards. Their shining moment was opening for the Blues Magoos at Ched’s on Canal and Claiborne. Jerry would eventually leave the band to be replaced by future Radiator Camille Baudoin, while later members included Richard Rhodes on guitar/sitar and Emile Guest of Roger and the Gypsies fame on guitar.” Quote from the Ponderosa Stomp website.

Carl Flesher wrote to me about the band, listing the original lineup as:

Cornel LeBlanc – lead vocals
Jerry Heinberg – lead guitar
Billy Klause – keyboards
Jim Hutchison- bass
Carl Flesher – drums

The Souls actually started in 1965, our first gig was on Tulane’s campus that year. Three of us, Jerry, Hutch and I were Tulane students. We all dropped out by 1966. Cornel was at LSU and Billy [Klause] was a senior in high school when we started; they were boyhood friends, having lived across the street from one another during their childhood.

Billy was classically trained, I don’t remember if any one else studied music. I did not. Just decided I could teach myself, which I did by watching every drummer in N.O.

The name of the band was Hutch’s decision/recommendation. At the time we decided on the name, Hutch was taking modern poetry in one of his English classes. Our name was the title of a poem he liked.

I left the band in late 67 and returned to New York where my parents lived. I was replaced by Billy Thomason at that time. I returned to N.O. in 68 to get married and finish my degree at Tulane.

The first photo ( a battle of the bands in a downtown hotel ballroom) does depict me; the second could not have been taken in 66 because I was still with the band. I believe that photo was taken in late 67 or early 68. I will search for a photo of the original band. I believe I have an ad depicting us playing at Ched’s on Canal in ’66.

I hate to complicate this but my wife and I remember another recording (45 rpm). I cannot honestly say if a 45 was released, I don’t remember. What I do remember is the muscle fatigue that comes from repetition while in a studio. I did not play on the recording you have pictured, so it must have been recorded after I left, especially since I do not recall covering those songs.

Carl Flesher

Poem: The Souls of the Slain by Thomas Hardy

Souls of the Slain at the WTIX New Orleans Teen Fair, 1966
Souls of the Slain at the WTIX New Orleans Teen Fair, 1966

Later guitarist Richard Rhode commented below and added some info in an email to me:

I came on after the 45 was released. We made some recordings both locally and at Robin Hood studio in Texas, but none were released. On the local sessions Billy played a great honky-tonk piano part in a song that Hutch wrote called “Minnie, Ms. Minnie”. (It featured a 4-part kazoo middle section. Only in the 60s.) He also played harpsichord on a re-arrangement of the Rolling Stones “Play With Fire”. It had a nice 4-part harmony in the chorus.

It was around that time Billy left the band because during the same set of sessions I played organ, harmonica, acoustic and electric guitar on another song written by Hutch. I don’t remember much about the Robin Hood session, but somewhere around here I might still have a CD (converted from cassettes) of some of the tracks from both sets of sessions. ( I say “might” because Hurricane Katrina intervened). The fidelity wasn’t all that good anyway.

I mentioned that after Billy left I doubled on organ and guitar. I have vivid memories of having to play songs like “Light My Fire” and Vanilla Fudge’s version of “You Keep Me Hanging On”. It was like a juggling act. Cornel was a big help during that time because he was a good rhythm guitar player … he should have played more.

I think there’s a tape/CD of Camille and I jamming for about an hour in his parents’ garage. (But again,Katrina). After I quit the SOS, I majored in classical guitar at Loyola University.

I played in other groups before and after SOS: “The Grendels”, “The Glass Can”, and “Oak Alley”. I quit playing cold-turkey about 14 years ago. Guess playing 15 minute versions of “Color My World” 3 or 4 times a week finally took its toll.

In September 2012, Bob Sehlinger wrote to me about the Robin Gibbs Band, a precursor to the Souls of the Slain:

The Souls of the Slain evolved from a group comprised of Tulane students variously call the Robin Gibbs Band or the Hollow Men. The group was formed by bassist Jim Hutchinson and lead guitar Robin Gibbs and also featured Dave Wadler on rhythm guitar, vocals by Randy Fertita, and later Peggy Hewitt, and myself (Bob Sehlinger) on drums.

At Mardi Gras in 1965 the group was playing at the Red Garter Club Patio on Bourbon Street, and had just lost its lead vocalist. Cornell LeBlanc, then a high school student, came to the club and approached the band during a break asking if he could sing a couple songs. He pretty much knocked everyone out and was subsequently asked to join the group. After the spring semester Robin Gibbs left Tulane and the group broke up. Subsequently Jim Hutchinson and Cornell Le Blanc went on to form the Souls.

Bob Sehlinger

Promo photo, 1966, l-r (corrected, but may still be wrong): Jim Hutchison, Billy Thomaston, Cornel LeBlanc (in front), Jerry Heinberg and Billy Klause.
Promo photo, 1966, l-r (corrected, but may still be wrong): Jim Hutchison, Billy Thomaston, Cornel LeBlanc (in front), Jerry Heinberg and Billy Klause.

Photos below from the Ponderosa Stomp at the Rock ‘n Bowl, on October 1, 2004. Drummer Billy Thomaston wrote: “the only person not playing at Rock-N-Bowl was then organ player Billy Klause, substituted by close & life long friend Sherman Bernard. The other guitar player is Camile Baudoin of the Radiators who joined after Jerry Heinberg left in late 1967.”

Thanks to Billy Thomaston and Carl Flesher for sending in the photos of the band.

Souls of the Slain at the Ponderosa Stomp, 2004

Souls of the Slain at the Ponderosa Stomp, 2004

Souls of the Slain at the Ponderosa Stomp, 2004

Souls of the Slain at the Ponderosa Stomp, 2004

Ponderosa Stomp, 2005

When I returned to New Orleans in April for Ponderosa Stomp, I remarked at the time how little it had changed since 1995, or even 1986 when I first lived there. It’ll never again be the city I knew. All the closely-knit neighborhoods destroyed, people killed or scattered around the country, it’s crushing to think about.

It’s good to hear Irma Thomas, Eddie Bo, Allen Toussaint and many others are safe and accounted for.

Betty Harris, Ponderosa Stomp at the Rock 'n Bowl, 2005
Betty Harris, Ponderosa Stomp at the Rock ‘n Bowl, 2005

Betty Harris may not be originally from New Orleans, but she made her best records there with Allen Toussaint. She was also one of the highlights of the Ponderosa Stomp this year, coming out of retirement after 35 years to just floor the audience with her voice and charisma. It was a really stunning performance by a true star who hasn’t lost the least bit of her abilities.

Ernie K-Doe's van
Ernie K-Doe’s gone but his van drives on
Irma Thomas at the Lion's Den
Irma Thomas at the Lion’s Den
Little Buck at Ponderosa Stomp, tearing through Cat Scream and Monkey in a Sack
Little Buck at Ponderosa Stomp, tearing through Cat Scream and Monkey in a Sack
Little Buck's horn section at Ponderosa Stomp
Little Buck’s horn section at Ponderosa Stomp
Dr. Specs Optical Illusion downstairs at Ponderosa Stomp
Dr. Specs Optical Illusion downstairs at Ponderosa Stomp – they reformed for the Stomp, the highlights of their set being both sides of their awesomely rare and great 45.
Barbara Lynn with Buckwheat Zydeco at the organ
Barbara Lynn with Buckwheat Zydeco at the organ
Plas Johnson warms up
Plas Johnson warms up
Eddie's records
Eddie’s records
Julie digging
Julie digging
Eddie back in April – he and his family are alive and well in Alexandria now, but they’ve lost so much