What Music Defines Shreveport?
For months now, I've taken a look at Shreveport's musical history. From the legacy of Tillman Franks to how Shreveport inspired Sam Cooke to write "A Change is Gonna Come", a lot of stuff has happened in Shreveport over the decades. And still is, really. Just look at the phenomenal work of "new" artists like the Seratones, who are on the cutting edge of music today.
So, with rock and roll in the soul and a long musical history, I got to thinking...What songs define Shreveport? If I were going to make an album, what 12 songs would make the list? Who would make the list? Would I go with stuff that was recorded here? With artists from here? I mean, the possibilities are endless.
Here is my "Shreveport Compilation Album". Obviously, some well deserving folks and songs didn't make the list. But, I think this defines what we are, what we provide and our historical impact (both positive and negative).
1. Goodnight, Irene - Lead Belly
Lead Belly is one of the greatest and most influential artists of all time. He also happens to be a "Shreveport guy".
2. Elvis Presley - "Paralyzed"
One of Elvis' biggest career moments happened right here in Shreveport. The phrase "Elvis has left the building" was first uttered by KWKH's Horace Logan. Plus, Elvis quickly became a household name thanks to his time on the Louisiana Hayride.
3. Seratones - "Kingdom Come"
When it comes to new, cutting edge music, you can't have that conversation without mentioning the Seratones. The Shreveport band formed in 2013 and has since taken the world by storm, earning major recognition from music stalwarts like Pitchfork, NPR, Rolling Stone and countless others.
4. Lowell Fulson - "I've Got the Blues"
Stan Lewis spent decade making, releasing and distributing great music. And Lowell Fulson may be one of his most over looked artists. Lowell's time on Jewel Records was his most productive and amazing.
5. Dale Hawkins - "Susie Q"
You don't get much more Shreveport than Susie Q. Dale is a Shreveport guy. He co-wrote the tune with Stan Lewis. He recorded the track with another Shreveport guy, James Burton. It was originally cut at the KWKH studio. It is Shreveport, through and through.
6. Sam Cooke - "A Change Gonna Come"
Now, you may be thinking, "What does this song have to do with Shreveport?" Well, a rough night in Shreveport inspired Sam to write the song. If you don't know the story, read it here.
7. Kenny Wayne Shepard & Buddy Flett - "Honky Tonk"
These two Shreveport guys are amazing blues players and Grammy Winners. What's not to love?
8. Eddie Giles - "Losin' Boy"
The late, great Eddie Giles was a Shreveport staple for decades. Many knew him as the "radio pastor" but Eddie was so much more than that. He was a fantastic musician who made great music.
9. Jimmie Davis - "You Are My Sunshine"
The "Singing Governor" has a long history ALL over the state of Louisiana. But, spend a significant amount of time in Shreveport. His history is way too much to put here.
10. Hurricane Chris - "A Bay Bay"
I'm not the biggest rap music fan in the world...but its kind of hard to deny that it is a part of Shreveport's culture and musical heritage. One of that genre's biggest local successes is Hurricane Chris. This song was an international hit. It's music video was filmed in Cedar Grove.
11. Johnny Horton - "Honky-Tonk Man"
Johnny was a long time Hayride performer. He lived in Shreveport for most of his life. You can't make a Shreveport album without including Johnny. As an added bonus, this song was co-written by Horton and another Shreveport guy, Tillman Franks.
12. Hank Williams - "Love Sick Blues"
Probably the artists that put Shreveport and the Louisiana Hayride on the musical radar for most people is the one and only Hank Williams. Sadly, his Bossier City home was destroyed a few years back...but his legacy and Hayride history will live on forever.