Following June and July touring in Australia and New Zealand, Lafayette’s Lil’ Band O’ Gold returns to the Manship Theatre for what promises to be a genuine house-rocking Louisiana Friday night.
The multi-generational supergroup features singer-guitarist-producer-composer C.C. Adcock, classic swamp-pop singer and drummer Warren Storm and Cajun singer-accordionist Steve Riley. Also aboard Lil’ Band O’ Gold’s swamp-popping rock ’n’ roll train are singer-pianist-songwriter David Egan, saxophonists Dickie Landry and Pat Breaux, singer-guitarist Lil’ Buck Senegal, pedal-steel player Richard Comeaux, bassist Dave Ranson and sometimes vocalist Tommy “Sweet Dreams” McLain.
Adcock conceived Lil’ Band O’ Gold as an all-star collective of his regional music heroes. It’s the band of his dreams. Neither his solo career nor his studio work as the producer of Florence + the Machine, Neko Case, Nick Cave and others nor film and television scoring and production, including HBO’s True Blood, can keep Adcock from Lil’ Band O’ Gold.
“It’s something everybody in the band always makes time for,” he said last week from Lafayette. “We got a special thing going and it becomes more special each year.”
Of course, Storm’s drumming is a major ingredient in the group’s mojo. The 75-year-old Abbeville native’s beat can be heard in 1960s swamp-blues recordings by the likes of Lazy Lester, Lightnin’ Slim, Katie Webster and Lonesome Sundown.
As a vocalist he released dozens of records under his own name, including 1958’s “The Prisoner’s Song.”
“Warren, he’s the last man left standing, and he still sounds so good,” Adcock said. “And it’s not like anybody’s propping him up. Every night he’s out there killing it.”
Following the recent death of The Band’s Levon Helm, Adcock can’t think of anyone who can do what Storm does.
“He plays like he’s singing,” Adcock said. “Even all the cats I know, the hipsters, great drummers, who sit on the side of the stage and watch Warren play, they can’t re-create it. Warren plays a lost style that helped make rock ’n’ roll.”
The New Jersey-based Shanachie Entertainment released Lil’ Band O’ Gold’s self-titled album debut in 2000. The group’s recordings also include a track with Robert Plant for 2007’s multi-artist Goin’ Home: A Tribute to Fats Domino.
The band also appears in The Promised Land: A Swamp Pop Journey, a 2009 documentary that screened at the Cannes Film Festival. The Promised Land CD soundtrack and Lil’ Band O’ Gold’s third CD, a collection of Domino songs called Plays Fats, will be released in the U.S. later this year, Adcock said. Plays Fats grew from the group’s participation in Goin’ Home.
“We did the tribute, so we hung out with Fats, and that really inspired it,” he said.
Adcock admits that he’s frustrated that Plays Fats hasn’t yet been released domestically despite being available in, for instance, Australia and New Zealand.
“It’s not like I’m just stuck here in Lafayette,” he said. “I have a lot of people I can call, who I have called about the Band O’ Gold. Every time I play it for somebody, they become our new biggest fans. But that doesn’t materialize into getting the right deal.”
Instead of releasing Plays Fats himself or giving it to an independent label, Adcock added, “I was looking for something slightly more prestigious and somebody who really cared. I think it’s an important band.”
Guests for Plays Fats include big names Plant, Lucinda Williams and Ani DiFranco.
“After we did Promised Land, we rattled off a bunch of Fats Domino songs in our own style,” Adcock said. “You can’t do too much to a Fats song because they’re already immaculately perfect. But we had some fun and put our own little slant on it.”
Adcock’s enthusiastically at work on his third solo CD, the follow-up to 1994’s House Rocker and 2004’s Lafayette Marquis. The project’s producers include ’80s rock star Billy Squier.
“People think of me as being a blues or roots guy, but I love Billy Squier records as much as I love Slim Harpo records,” Adcock said. “Anybody who lives down here who had access to a Trans Am and a trip to Destin knows what Billy Squier sounds like. ‘The Stroke’ is Slim Harpo for the ’80s.”
During this year’s New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, Squier joined Lil’ Band O’ Gold for the group’s show at Frenchmen Street bar and music venue d.b.a. He sang Led Zeppelin’s “Whole Lotta Love” and his own hit, “Everybody Wants You.”
Also making guest appearances that night were Florence Welch (the Florence in Florence + the Machine), DiFranco and Oscar-winning Irish singer-songwriter and leader of the Frames, Glen Hansard.
“All those people sat in,” Adcock said. “It was a crazy night.”