The year was 1961 and I was an unemployed musician and I didn’t want to be. My full time and part time jobs brought home the bacon, paid the mortgage, the car and other notes but I felt unfulfilled without music in my life. Hold your horses!
Before 1962 was over, Wam! Bam! Holly Kazam! I was back in business, producing and recording hit records for Joe Barry and others with a new band and a re-entry into the world of Rock and Roll, Swamp Pop music and more years of country and Cajun music.
I felt the need for a more prestigious instrument to match my upgraded stature in the music world. Ahem! (“Pride Comes Before a Fall”—quote from the Bible.)
The Curoles were a prominent Cut Off family and my relatives by blood or marriage. Johnny Curole, now deceased, was my brother-in-law married to my wife Dot’s sister Adele, who is alive and well at 90 years old.
Noah Curole’s family was my cousins and Noah’s son Felix’s wife Annabel and I were distant cousins and classmates in grade school.
Bob Curole was a musician (electric bass) who as a teen played with the Rhythm Teens, a temporary name for obvious reasons which included Les Domangue (deceased), Mike Cuneo, Lloyd Toups, Lanny Boudreaux, and Carl Dufrene, most of whom joined me later in forming the Vikings.
Bob later played with Harry Anselmi’s band and the Country D.J.s with D.J. Collins (deceased) and Collins’ son Roddy and daughter Kelly. The D.J.s played on the casino ship LA Cruise which sailed out of Port Fourchon.
As a disc jockey on radio station K.L.E.B. in the late 50’s, Bob arranged a recording session with Floyd Soileau on Jin Records for his current band, the Delphis, with members Les, Lanny, Lloyd and Mike from his Teen band, plus Woody Goodroe and Don Stevens, and lead singer, my cousin, Joseph Barrios, aka Rocking Roland and Joe Barry.
The record was a local success, but for Joe the best was yet to come.
In the early 1960’s, Bob joined the U.S. Air Force, worked at a government radio station and played in the Air Force band. He was stationed in Formosa, China, and married native Rose. They had two children.
They later divorced and Bob, now ill and no longer able to play music, lives in Mathews with his companion, Lou.
While in the service, Bob decided to sell his Fender Precission bass guitar. I learned about it and bought it from his mother.
The bass was in immaculate condition because Bob was a very meticulous person. I remembered that after a job, he would carefully pick up his guitar, unplug his amplifer, let the tubes cool, wipe them clean and wrap them individually in velvet cloth.
I kidded him about it, but it sure beat my way of dragging and roughly throwing them in the trunk of my car to hurry and enjoy my final drink at the bar.
I now had a classy guitar and got a call from Huey Meaux from Houston for another recording session. The Vikings had already recorded 2 one million selling records for Joe Barry and Barbara Lynn so we were ready. He told me the artist was a singing piano player from Houston and he was going to make him a star.
He would later become a star, but not from this session.
The records received radio play in Houston but his stardom came later with “Room Full of Roses”, “Urban Cowboy” and “Gilley’s” dance hall. That was Mickey Gilley.
Huey would later also find fame for Freddy Fender, B.J. Thomas, Sam the Sham and Slim Harpo, but his life would end with shame and prison, but that’s future columns.
As I walked into the studio cradaling my bass, I heard his voice from the control room yelling: “What the heck is that? Where’s your old bass, the one we cut all those hits with?” (“Danger Will Robertson, Danger!” - Robby Robot)
Had I cast aside my old faithful friend (Kay) for a younger and prettier model (Fender) all for naught?
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Posted on Tue, May 31, 2016
by Leroy Martin, Contributing Writer