Monday, July 18, 2005

Count Rockin' Sidney - Deedie Deedie Da

All Hail the Count!!
Straight outta the Turban Hall of Fame, I bring you the mighty Count Rockin’ Sidney! Regular readers of Funky16Corners (site and or blog) will be hip to the fact that I dig all things New Orleans, but this record should serve notice that the Big Easy ain’t the only place in Lousiana from whence great records sprout. I first heard the mellifluous name of Count Rockin’ Sidney (aka Sidney Simien) back in the mid-80’s during the brief but frenzied ‘Toot Toot’ craze/war. There he was, cranking his accordion alongside competing versions of the zydeco novelty ‘My Toot Toot’ by Fats Domino. Jean Knight, Boozoo Chavis and Jimmy C. Newman among others. The first time I heard the tune, I thought to myself “Now here’s a song I can get sick of REALLY QUICKLY...”. As a result, I quickly forgot everything about Count Rockin’ Sidney (except for his name, of course) until the late 90’s when I happened upon a funk record by his highness on a French comp. That tune ‘Bury The Hatchet’ (on the Bold label) was a laid back, swampy dose of funk with an anti-Vietnam twist. When I later tracked down the 45, I discovered that the flip side ‘Back Door Man’ (not the Howlin’ Wolf/Doors tune) was also quite delicious in that funky way. Count Rockin’ Sidney (previously just Rockin’ Sidney) had previously recorded for the Fame, Jin (who also released a 45 by Warren Lee) and Rod labels. His 1963 recording for Jin, “You Ain’t Nothing But Fine” was later covered by the Rockpile and the Fabulous Thunderbirds . He hooked up with the Goldband label in 1965. Goldband was founded in the mid-40’s, releasing country and Cajun records (most notably Cajun legend Iry Lejeune)., and moving into swamp pop, R&B, zydeco, soul and funk through the 50’s and 60’s (releasing records by Phil Phillips and a young Dolly Parton among others). So...I’m out digging at a record show a few years back and discover this little gem in a pile of unsorted 45s (along with a copy of the Count’s ‘Soul Christmas’ – see me in December for more on that one...). I plopped in on the old GP3 portable and was pleased with the results. I slid the dude the princely sum of $2.00 and took this gem home where it could keep my other Louisiana 45s company. But back to the record... As the needle drops, the listener is greeted by a cry of –

“Hey Count Rockin’ Sidney! How ‘bout singin’ Deedie Deedie Da one time fo’ us?”

The crowd shouts in agreement and the Count obliges.. The label says that the track was recorded live at the Casa Blanca in New Iberia, LA. I’m willing to bet that it’s “live” in the studio, but it doesn’t really matter in the end. Count Sidney and band are working a mixture of rock and soul (nuthin’ wrong with that now, is there?). The Count wails on vocals and combo organ, with the guitar, bass and drums reduced to a bass-y rumble underneath. The lack of clarity in the recording suggests a ready made for AM radio feel, that I’m sure sounded great rattling jukeboxes across Louisiana and eastern Texas. Though the lyrics are your basic slightly suggestive dance craze boilerplate, Count Sidney’s vocals are top notch, and the record has a great house party feel that ought to get the feet moving at your next ripple and potato chip party. As I said, Count Rockin’ Sidney went on to much success as a blues and zydeco artist, winning the 1985 Grammy for best Ethnic or Traditional Folk recording for ‘My Toot Toot’. Sadly, Sidney Simien passed away in 1998.


Blogger guapo said...

Too much! Music simply doesn`t get any better than this! This is the best song I have ever heard!

7/19/2005 04:28:00 AM  
Blogger Larry Grogan said...

Really? Cool...

7/19/2005 08:52:00 AM  
Blogger Todd Lucas said...

Love it, right up there with The Mighty Hannibal's "Jerkin' The Dog" and this one has mucho organ, always a plus.

7/19/2005 09:45:00 AM  
Blogger guapo said...

I love Hannibal too. It must be a turban thing!

7/19/2005 01:34:00 PM  
Blogger Dan Phillips said...

Is that a turban or an adult diaper on the head of the Count?
Serious, Larry, another great find.
Rockin' Sydney's pre-zydeco period was his best.

7/19/2005 10:57:00 PM  
Blogger Larry Grogan said...

Dan, the craziest thing about that turban (and it's a pretty crazy turban) is that if you enlarge the picture, there's a little typewritten label on the front that says 'Count Rockin Sidney'. You can kind of see it if you look closely.

7/20/2005 08:28:00 AM  
Blogger tokyocrunch said...

Blew the panels off old Philco (our converted antique radio mp3 server)! Keep up the good work.

7/20/2005 11:35:00 AM  

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