The Ponderosa Stomp Headliners Announced
Representing American music's Grand Canyonesque range of genres, from twangy guitar genius to bold, sassy R&B, Chicano rock, truckin' anthems, soulful southern songwriting and primal garage, fans would be hard-pressed to witness talent this heavy and diverse anywhere else.
The Stomp doesn't just blow minds in the evenings, au contraire, by day there is the American music history conference, presented in partnership with the Rock N' Roll Hall of Fame & Museum and the Louisiana State Museum, at the beautiful Cabildo in Jackson Square, in which the great producers, iconoclastic performers, journalists and notable music figures speak on panels and oral histories. There is a film series and a record hop for those inspired to add to their collections. That isn't all: the wonderful exhibit, curated by The Ponderosa Stomp Foundation, "The Secret History of Louisiana Rock 'n' Roll" is on display at the museum as well.
Duane Eddy's reign as King of Twang took off with the album "Have Twangy Guitar, Will Travel" which went to #5 on the charts in 1959. His sound came from his collaboration with a then DJ named Lee Hazlewood, driving hits like "Rebel Rouser" "Peter Gunn", "Cannonball", "Shazam" and "Forty Miles of Bad Road" and helping to popularize electric guitar. In 1994 Eddy was inducted into the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame.
Sugar Pie DeSanto's career began at a talent show when Johnny Otis spotted her talent (she won) and offered her a contract on the spot. She joined his revue and he nicknamed her Sugar Pie. While she is best known for hits like "I Want to Know", which hit #4 on the R&B charts in 1960, "Soulful Dress" in 1964, and duets with Etta James on "Do I Make Myself Clear" and "In the Basement, Part 1", she is a songwriter whose songs have been recorded by Fontella Bass, Little Milton, Minnie Riperton and The Dells.
Thee Midniters were one of the first Chicano rock bands to emerge from East LA in the 60s, paving the way for bands like Los Lobos. Their cover of "Land of A Thousand Dances" and the instrumental "Whittier Boulevard" put them on the map in 1965, but they became politicized and were early to write about Chicano themes, in songs like "Chicano Power" and "The Ballad of César Chávez". They integrated horns and diverse percussion producing a funky big band sound. Make no mistake; Thee Midniters are a stomping band with equal measures of soulfulness and booty-shaking rhythm.
Red Simpson is a giant in the wonderful world of truck driving music, contributing classics like "Roll, Truck, Roll", "Give Me Forty Acres", "I'm A Truck", "Diesel Smoke, Dangerous Curves" and "A Tombstone Every Mile". He started his career as a piano player in Bakersfield and surrounding towns, before being approached by Capitol Records producer Ken Nelson to record some trucking songs (Merle Haggard had declined). He was an immediate hit and created some of the greatest songs in the genre, inspiring younger bands like Asleep at the Wheel and Junior Brown.
Joe South is a incredibly prolific southern songwriter who gave us hits like "Down In the Boondocks", "Hush" (a hit for Deep Purple & Kula Shaker), "Walk a Mile in My Shoes" (for Vegas era Elvis) and "I Never Promised You a Rose Garden", a guitarist who played on Aretha Franklin's "Chain of Fools" and Dylan's 'Blonde on Blonde', a performer who had hits with "Don't It Make You Wanna Go Home" and "Games People Play". In the 70s South retreated to Hawaii to live in the jungle, but became active in music again in the 90s. This is a rare public appearance by a legend.
The Trashmen's deranged proto-surf rock launched in 1964 with "Surfin' Bird", later recorded by a gamut of bands, from The Cramps and The Ramones to Silverchair and thrash band Sodom. It makes perfect sense that one of the most stupendous surf bands would come from Minneapolis, thousands of miles from the nearest beach!