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“You Are My Sunshine”

“You Are My Sunshine”

Was anyone able to identify the presidents and governors pictured last week?

What … you wrapped shrimp hulls with it? No wonder I had a craving for shrimp all week!

From Hoover to Obama, and Long to Jindal, we went from prosperity to poverty; major war; post war prosperity; baby boomers; more wars; economical fluctuations, and whatever condition the country is in today. Your guess is as good as mine.

Last week I forget Governor Charles Roemer III, who served from 1998 to 1992, but he had long been forgotten anyway.

I lived through unimaginably technology discoveries in the shortest time span in the history of mankind. Writing this column, I need tools I have not yet mastered. (I cut and pasted the picture montages last week. Actually cut and pasted … as in scissors and glue! Camille was at school.)

Camille is my 15-year old granddaughter who helps me, that is, when her head is not buried in her IPod, IPhone, laptop, surfing Amazon, or texting with friends in California, Alaska, or in the next room. She is sometimes teenager grouchy, and I am old man grouchy, but we tolerate each other. (P.S. I love you!)

James Houston, “Jimmy Davis”, rose from poverty to college graduate; teacher; recording, radio and movie star; Shreveport Police Commissioner; Public Service Commissioner and two-term Louisiana Governor, (1944-1948, WWII battles and 1960-1964, Civil rights battles.) He ran again, unsuccessfully, in 1959.

His musical and political life is well known, so following are some of the personal encounters we had.
Jimmy had a camp on Grand Isle he often visited. Once at Leonard Autin’s grocery store in Golden Meadow he met a young musician, Harrison Anselmi, who was so shy that when asked to sing, he did so, but behind a door, heard but not seen.

Jimmy liked him and in the ensuing years often invited him to his camp. By that time Harry and I were playing with “Dudley Bernard and the Southern Serenaders”.

Harry described his experiences to me. “I would play guitar as he sang for about an hour, heard only by two cooks preparing a meal for friends Jimmy had invited. We performed again that evening, this time to a larger audience.”

Harry told me Jimmy liked Gene Autry songs. (Leroy’s notes: Him and Gene had both recorded for A.R.C. records in 1928, both managed by Art Slatery, both Jimmie Rodgers imitators, with yodels and all.)

“Gene’s company, Republic, is making a movie of my life, me playing me. I leave for Hollywood next week,” Jimmy told him. The movie was “Louisiana”, and seeing him act, I’m sure he was advised to not quite his day job.

Jimmy called Harry a few more times, and I was invited twice. Now Jimmy sang with a 2-guitar backup, the “Jimmy Davis Band” that no one knew about … until now.

By 1969, Doc Guidry, the great Cajun fiddler had joined “Vin Bruce and the Acadians”. Doc had played music for Jimmy Davis in his campaigns in 1944, 1960 and 1968 and were friends.

Our band was asked to play a charity concert at South Lafourche High School auditorium. There were other bands, but Doc said, “We need a headliner, and I can get Jimmy Davis.”

Sarcastically I asked, “Doc, why don’t you ask Hank Williams?”

He bluntly replied, “Well, no. 1, he’s dead, and no. 2, if asked, he’ll come. He’s going to announce for Governor and needs the publicity. No charge.”

Doc asked, and Jimmy came. He brought, at his cost, the original “Oak Ridge Boys”, who were years away from their hit “Elvira”. One of them whispered to me “you boys watch closely because he sometimes misses his time.”

I knew that from the camp, but one of the greatest country singers of all times, and he couldn’t keep time. The benefit was a hit and the house was packed.

Jimmy was accused of paving the road to Grand Isle to better access his camp. We did not care! We had a great highway to the Tarpon Rodeo, juke joints, girls in bikinis and the beach. What wonderful memories!

The Beach Boys walk into a bar. Round? Round? I get a Round? Get around! I’ll get a round.

BYE NOW.

Comments are welcomed at: leroymartin1929@gmail.com