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Jimmy C. Newman may not be one of the best-known members of the Grand Ole Opry but he is one of that prestigious organization’s longest-serving artists. He was invited to join in 1956, just two years after his first country hit, “Cry, Cry Darling” on Randy Wood’s Dot Records.
In the late 1950s, Newman became a regular on the Louisiana Hayride and had a string of country hits including “A Fallen Star” that also crossed over to the Billboard pop charts. Another Newman song to chart (# 9, Billboard’s country chart) was “D.J. For A Day” penned by a then-unknown Tom T. Hall.
Newman was born in High Point, Louisiana, and by the mid 1960s, was incorporating in his performances more and more material that reflected his roots and early influences. Oh, and that middle initial “C” stands for Cajun.
He must hold some sort of record as to “HoF” recognitions, having been inducted into the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame, the Cajun Hall of Fame, the Cajun Music Hall of Fame, and the North American Country Music Association’s International Hall of Fame… with probably more yet to come.
The title of Newman’s latest CD, JIMMY C. NEWMAN SINGS SWAMP COUNTRY aptly describes where he feels most comfortable: country-tinged Cajun music, rather than straight-ahead country.
For the new album, Newman has assembled a great band of sidemen under the capable hand of producer Wade Bernard. We finally get to hear some of Newman’s original country/pop hits given the Cajun treatment, hence his description of his music as “swamp country.”
Standout tracks include the fun and danceable “Let The Meatball Roll” that leads off the twelve-song set with a strong backbeat and powerful sax and piano solos, setting the tone for rest of the CD. If you like you drown your sorrows to a slow waltz tune about lost love, you can’t do better than Newman’s version of the Dottie West classic “Careless Hands.” It’s the type of song you should listen to, played on a jukebox, as you drain your final longneck after the bartender’s last call.
“Cry, Cry Darling,” “Back Pocket Money” and “A Fallen Star” are here too, sounding new but, at the same time classic.
Jimmy C. Newman (“The Alligator Man”) has had more than 30 songs on the country chart, is now a 50+ year veteran of the Grand Ole Opry and continues performing today, one of the few remaining originators of swamp pop music from the 1950s.
JIMMY C. NEWMAN SINGS SWAMP COUNTRY lets us hear a true original put his personal spin on a fine set of Cajun country tunes.