Liner Note Author: Tony Rounce.
Photographer: Paul Harris .
Chances are, you've never heard of Warren Storm. The closest thing he had to a national hit was "Prisoner's Song," a single that peaked at 81 on the Hot 100 in 1958, but he never stopped recording, either as a drummer -- he sat in on sessions by Slim Harpo, Lazy Lester, and Lightnin' Slim for Excello Records -- or as a singer. His first patron was J.D. Miller, one of the great Louisiana recordmen, but in 1964 he struck up a partnership with Huey P. Meaux, who would regularly record Storm over the next 22 years. These sides came out on a variety of imprints -- first Sincere, then Tear Drop, then Crazy Cajun, then Starflite, with stops at Kingfish and American Pla-Boy -- and Ace's 2015 compilation, The Bad Times Make the Good Times sorts through this mess, winding up with 44 songs recorded between 1964 and 1986, including a couple of archival and unreleased cuts. Meaux always made sure he cut Storm on a threadbare budget, so the sonics here range from appealingly trashy to cheaply clean and, similarly, there's a variety of sounds. Storm is anchored in swamp pop and everything that entails, so he's comfortable with New Orleans R&B, Texas blues shuffles, country ballads, Roy Head ravers, and Sir Douglas Quintet-styled rockers -- every kind of sound that satisfies the circuit that stretched around the Gulf of Mexico from Louisiana through Texas. Meaux also made sure Storm dabbled in trends, pushing him to the truly weird "Sitting Here on the Ceiling (Ain't It Weird)" and Dan Penn's "My Far Away Cow," a 45 that showed up under an alias called Abel on Crazy Cajun, but this oddity isn't as disarming as the truly terrible production of the early '80s, where the roots rock is nearly undone by badly panned stereo, overly hard drums, and tinny keyboards. Listen through the production and it's easy to see that Storm remained what he always was: a genial, ingratiating singer who embodied much of the wild wooliness that's real Texas and Louisiana roots music. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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