Ten volumes into their seemingly never-ending, always-excellent By the Bayou series, Ace returns to R&B for Mad Dogs, Sweet Daddies & Pretty Babies. Like nearly all of its predecessors, this is primarily archival – i.e., there aren't a lot of familiar names, but there are acts that have popped up on previous Bayou installments because, at this point, it's been proven that the well is deep but not fathomless. Newly discovered cuts by unknowns can hardly be called "recycling," and this, like its cousins, is pretty close to straight-up aural dynamite.
CDs from this collection began to appear in the sale of one after the other in early 1998. The collection was designed primarily for fans of blues and those wishing to join him in France, Canada and other French-speaking countries, as its literary part was originally made in French and it seems and has not been translated into other languages.
In the 1950s, tenor-saxophonist Ben Webster was at the peak of his powers. His musical personality really featured two separate emotions: harsh and tough on the faster pieces and surprisingly warm and tender on the ballads. Webster uses the latter voice throughout this two-LP set. On all but four of 20 selections, Ben is backed by a string section arranged by Ralph Burns (except for "Chelsea Bridge" which was arranged by Billy Strayhorn) and, although clarinetists Tony Scott and Jimmy Hamilton and pianists Teddy Wilson and Hank Jones are heard from, the focus is otherwise entirely on the great tenor. The final four numbers, which matches Webster with Wilson in a stringless quartet, also stick to ballads. Music that is both beautiful and creative.
Letting the good times roll again, with this second visit to the dynamic South Louisiana R&B scene there is no waver in the quality of music. We’ve added the work of another Louisiana record man, Sam Montel from Baton Rouge, to the vast stockpile of material in the vaults of J.D. Miller, Eddie Shuler, Floyd Soileau and Jake Graffagnino. Sam (originally Montalbano) got into the music business when his childhood friend Jimmy Clanton hit the charts. Sam became his road manager and the whole scene got into his blood. He decided to start his own record label when only 18 years old. His first release, Lester Robertson’s ‘My Girl Across Town’, is included here, as is a previously unissued outing from Robertson.