Louisiana's LeRoux album front cover Louisiana's LeRoux album front cover

Musicians:

Jeff Pollard - Electric and Acoustic Guitars, Lead Vocals
Leon Medica-- Bass, Vocals
Rod Roddy - Rhodes Electric and Acoustic Pianos, Clavinet, Oberheim Synthesizer, Vocals
David Peters - Drums and Percussion
Bobby Campo - Trumpet, Flugelhorn, Flute, Congas, Percussion, Vocals
Tony Haselden - Electric Guitars, Vocals

Louisiana's LeRoux

Songs (Written By):

  1. Take A Ride On A Riverboat (J. Pollard)
  2. Love Abductor (J. Pollard, L. Medica)
  3. New Orleans Ladies (L. Medica, H. Garrick)
  4. Crazy In Love (J. Pollard, P. Harrison)
  5. Slow Burn (J. Pollard)
  6. Snake Eyes (J. Pollard)
  7. Backslider (J. Pollard)
  8. Bridge Of Silence (J. Pollard)
  9. Heavenly Days (J. Pollard)
  10. I Can't Do One More Two-Step (J. Pollard)

All arrangements by LeRoux.



Recorded in 1978 at Studio in the Country, Bogalusa, Louisiana

Produced by Leon S. Medica
Engineered by Warren Dewey - Assistant Engineers: Brad Aaron and Bill Evans

Mixed At Westlake Audio, Los Angeles, California
Engineer: Warren Dewey - Assistant Engineer: Steve Hodge

Mastered at Capitol Studios, Los Angeles, California
Engineer: Hally Traugott

Art Direction: Leon Medica and Dean Torrence
Photography: Norman Seeff
Cut Glass Photograph: Bill Eastabrook
Design and Graphics: Dean Torrence
Calligraphy: Alice McEuen

Management: Aspen Artists Management, Inc., William E. McEuen
Booking Agency: Athena Artists, Chet Hanson

Krewe of LeRoux:
Sound Mixer: Bill "Hollywood" Bennett, Lighting Design: Lewis Mundinger, Road Manager: Danny Kertacy

Very special thanks to: John T. Frankenheimer, Rupert Perry, Paul Tannen

Thanks also to: Hoyt Garrick, Mrs Bateman, Raymond Parker, L D Pollard, Nauman Scott,
Stader Richardson, Danny Kertacy, Richie and Jane Cicero
 

Capital Records Press Release

LeRoux takes its name from the Cajun French term for the thick and hearty gravy base that's used to make gumbo, a vitamin-laden soup that's actually of Bantu origin. It's an appropriate moniker for this six-man aggregation of writers and musicians who call Baton Rouge, Louisiana their home.

The band's music, transferred to vinyl with the release of their debut LP on Capitol, Louisiana's LeRoux (April 1978) is chock full of thick and hearty instrumental textures that pull from blues, R&B, funk, jazz, rock, and Cajun roots. Their sound is laced with multi-layered four- and five-part harmonies served up in a wide range of imaginatively arranged songs, and seasoned with years of collective experience on the road and in the studio.

Most members of LeRoux—vocalist/keyboardist Rod Roddy, vocalist/reed & horn player/percussionist Bobby Campo, drummer/percussionist David Peters, and leader/bassist/producer Leon Medica—have for some time been the main in-house rhythm section at Studio In The Country (SCI) in Bogalusa, Louisiana (Kansas and Stevie Wonder have worked on projects there). They've backed scores of artists at the tucked-away facility, including Clifton Chenier and Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown, and they've done extensive session work at studios such as Deep South in Baton Rouge and Applewood in Golden, Colorado.

Jeff Pollard, LeRoux's chief songwriter, lead guitarist, and lead vocalist, has put in five years of session work at SIC and Deep South and before joining up with Medica and crew, he fronted the Levee Band, an acoustic unit that built a constituency around the Southern club circuit. The newest member of LeRoux, vocalist/guitarist Tony Haselden, has contributed to recent albums by Donna Hold and Benny Spellman and has done a lot of road work during his 14 years as a professional player.

The genesis of LeRoux goes back to Gatemouth Brown's summer 1977 State Department-sponsored musical goodwill tour of Africa. Gatemouth had approached Medica before the tour, asking him to put together a backing band for the excursion. At the same time, Medica, using studio time he'd accumulated in payment for his production work at SIC, was producing some demos of original tunes by Pollard, using his players for the backing tracks. The combination of musicians clicked, so they dubbed themselves The Jeff Pollard Band and hit the road to Africa, opening each Gatemouth show with songs of their own before backing the headliner on his set.

Back in the States, Medica, who'd previously done some demo work for Screen Gems-EMI Music (song publishers), took the Pollard demos to Nashville, where Paul Tannen of Screen Gems-EMI heard them and signed Pollard to a staff writer's contract. With support from Screen Gems-EMI, the band returned to the studio to re-record the demos. Because they had more time to develop the vocal and instrumental arrangements, the new tapes had much more cohesion, more of a "band" feel than the original tapes. The decision to team full-time as a recording and touring unit was quickly made.

As The Jeff Pollard Band, the five musicians gigged all over the South, packing clubs either with Gatemouth or on their own during the early part of Fall 1977. Between dates, Medica flew to Colorado to contribute some bass parts to the new Dirt Band LP at Bill McEuen's Aspen Recording Society Studio. Medica just happened to have copies of the newest Pollard tapes, and after McEuen and Bill Roberts of Aspen Artists' Management (the same firm which manages the Dirt Band and Steve Martin) gave them a listen, Roberts assumed the band's management from Medica.

Tannen, back at Screen Gems-EMI in Nashville, was likewise impressed with the new tapes and passed them on to Screen Gems-EMI execs in Hollywood, who flew the band to Los Angeles for showcases at the Improvisation club and at Studio Instrument Rentals' Hollywood soundstages. After a final showcase appearance, opening for Muddy Waters at Hollywood's famous Roxy, the band signed a long-term recording deal with Capitol Records, which outbid several major labels.

LeRoux went back to Studio In The Country last winter, where, following the addition of guitarist Tony Haselden to share lead and rhythm interplay with Pollard, the group cut its debut Capitol LP. Pollard wrote 9 of the album's 10 songs (the tenth was penned by Medica and Hoyt Garrick). The LP showcases tight harmonies, extremely proficient musicianship, and vast arrangement abilities. "Take a Ride On a Riverboat" opens with bright a cappella vocals that slide smoothly into the track's funky rhythm. "Love Abductor" is a great piece of burning funk sparked by low guitar lines, and "New Orleans Ladies" is a respectful ballad with a beautiful multi-tracked flute solo. "Slow Burn," which is kicked off with Medica's bass lines popping off-beat accents to set up the backbeat rhythm, showcases the band's instrumental versatility with fierce drums-bass-guitar-piano-trumpet-dual-guitar soloing. The band's vocals on "Heavenly Days" are slightly gospel-flavored, and "I Can't Do One More Two-Step" is a jumping tune based on early Mardi Gras rhythms.

Complementing the sound of Louisiana's Roux is Medica's creative yet economic production and engineer Warren Dewey's precision at the recording console. Along with vocal and instrumental multi-tracking, there's some use of phasing, echo and other effects, and the various percussive accents are well-blended in the final mix. Louisiana's LeRoux sounds vital and alive, a blend of toughness and tenderness that's purely Southern yet several stages beyond basic 12-bar boogie. So get ready for your ride on a riverboat—your ticket's inside the cover (for which photos were taken by Norman Seeff). You may not be able to out-hustle the dandy Mississippi gamblers on board, but the musical gumbo served up is (as they say down in the Quarter) "Magnifique!"

(April 1978)

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