Eighty-five year old Henry Grey only reinforces the connection with his two contributions, "Times Are Getting Hard" and "How Could You Do It". Born in Louisiana, Grey played with Howlin' Wolf from 1956-1968 in Chicago and a variety of others across the country, including Jimmy Reed, Bo Diddley and Billy Boy Arnold, showing just how much Louisiana gets around.
While the men make some great contributions, including Buddy Flett playing all the instruments on his own aptly titled "Livin' Ain't Easy", the women of Louisiana, and in particular Carol Fran, are present and accounted for as well. Ms. Fran has had to overcome many of the same problems Flett did after she suffered a stroke, but listening to her sing on this disc you'd never know she'd been sick a day in her life.
She starts off with "Tou' Les Jours C'est Pas La Meme" (Everyday Is Not The Same), a bilingual blues/cajun tune that will blow you away. While she does a great job of performing both it and her second tune, "I Needs To Be Be'd With", I was just as impressed by the fact they are both her own tunes. Why this woman has not achieved international, let alone national fame is beyond me. Just listening to her you can feel the amount of presence she possesses and I can only try and imagine how amazing she must be in person.
Of course, the same goes for everybody on the disc. Each of them: Little Freddie King, Paul "Lil Buck" Sinegal, Sonny Landreth, Dwayne Dopsie, Larry Garner and Charlene Howard, whether we've heard their names before or not, have distinct personalities that shine through during their performances. Unlike so much of our cookie cutter world today where everything sounds the same, looks the same and tastes the same in order to make sure nobody is offended, and nobody is ever satisfied, Louisiana is full of a variety of tastes, sounds and sights. The musicians on this disc, and the colourful, flamboyant art included as part of the CD's packaging, might only be a small sampling of that wonderful diversity, but compared to what you'll normally hear or see around you, it will be like a cornucopia of delights.