Monday, June 14, 2010

Leroy Martin on Delta

Leroy Martin and The Rebels

Delta 705

KTIB Thibodaux

CP-1462 ~ Keen Teen Baby

CP-1463 ~ Upon This Day

Born in Golden Meadow in 1929, Leroy was mesmerized at an early age by the hillbilly recordings of Jimmie Rodgers. Many years later he repaid this inspirational debt when he presented his rare Jimmie Rodgers picture record, given to him originally by Jimmie’s widow, to the Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville.

Leroy started playing music seriously in 1947, as a guitarist with Dudley Bernard ‘s combo the Southern Serenaders, waking up to his native Cajun music only when Vin Bruce began recording for Columbia in the early fifties. In 1954 Martin left the Southern Serenaders to get married, and spent his honeymoon in Memphis, where he saw the last Barnum and Bailey vaudeville show and met the young Elvis Presley. Music was at the crossroads, and Leroy was there. Quickly displaying his musical vision, he formed the Rebels in 1955 to play « semicountry and rock » - in other words, rockabilly. Two years later he made his first record, « Keen Teen Baby »/ »Upon This Day », which he released on his own Delta label. « It was meant to sound like ‘Decca’, « he says of the name, « only major labels were selling then. I pressed 500 copies and was left with 400 ! ». After this he played with the local Dominoes group before joining the Vikings, who were backing his cousin Joe Barry.

Leroy made his name as a record producer in the early sixties, first with Vin Bruce (« Jole Blon » for Swallow) and then with Joe Barry (« I’m A Fool To Care » for Jin). Often using Cosimo’s studio in New Orleans, he also supervised sevral sessions for Cajun record man Huey Meaux, notably with Jimmy Donley, Mickey Gilley, and Barbara Lynn. He had not forsaken his own recording career ; as Lee Martin he had a handful of worthwile swamp-pop singles for Jin, including Jimmy Donley’s « BornTo Be A Loser » and Rollee McGill’s georgeous « There Goes That Train. » Later he recorded for the Houma label owned by Eldridge Robichaux and Rod Rodrigue. More recently he has been content to act as manager for Vin Bruce, and to play bass guitar in Vin’s group. Through the years Leroy has maintained an active interest in radio. Making his debut in 1948, he became a well-known disc jockey over KTIB Thibodaux, hosting the « Leroy Martin Show » and playing country and Cajun records. As the « Cajun Cousin » he still broadcast weekly over KTIB. He has also composed over eighty songs, written columns for several Louisiana weekly papers, and even compiled a Vin Bruce discography? Incredibly, his involvment in music has always been secondary to his vocation as chief deputy assessor of Lafourche Parish.

Credit Leroy Martin picture and bio : John Broven : from his book South to Louisiana: The Music of the Cajun Bayous.

Lee Martin Jin discography

Jin 149 - 61
Lee Martin and The Vikings :
I Lost Again / Change Of Heart

Jin 159 - 62
Lee Martin and The Velvet Tones
Lover's Plea / Born To Be A Loser

Jin 167
Lee Martin and The Velvet Tones
Sixty-More Or More / Lonely Hearts Club

Jin 169
Lee Martin
There Goes That Train / Have You Ever

Jin 175
Lee Martin
Tell Me Lies / Anyone Can Write A Love Song


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