Following my recent “Ten Top Cajun/Zydeco Tracks” article I’ve realised that there are some out there, among our readers, who share my passion for the music of Louisiana. Not just for Cajun music but for that whole melting pot of the sounds of the swamplands. With that in mind, I thought it was time to feature one of my favourite Louisiana artists here in our FORGOTTEN ARTISTS series. C.C. Adcock won’t be so much forgotten as never heard of for many but, if he has evaded your attention up until now, I urge you to check out one of the most exciting artists to emerge from Lafayette, Louisiana.
There can be no better description of Adcock’s music than this sentence written by Dan Forte in Vintage Guitar Magazine – “His it-ain’t-the-heat-it’s-the-humidity “swamp rock” occupies the space where R.L. Burnside and Doug Kershaw meet at the crossroads and sell their collective soul to Keith Richards”. It’s a great description and it perfectly sums up the music of a man who incorporates a little blues, a little Cajun and a whole lot of rock and roll into his particular brand of Americana.
Charles Clinton Adcock was born in Lafayette, Louisiana in 1971, Adcock was a prodigious guitar player from an early age and spent his teens backing the likes of Bo Diddley and zydeco artist Stanley Dural, better known as Buckwheat Zydeco. When he was twenty-two he came to the attention of British based Producer, Denny Cordell, who signed him to Island Records and whose son, Tarka Cordell, produced his eponymous debut album. The album was well-received in some circles, though its unconventional nature was never going to give it a broad-based appeal. One critic described it as “Dirty. In every sense of the word”! Adcock is not prolific when it comes to recordings. He has just three album releases to his name as an individual, and one of those is a re-issue. His debut album came out in 1994; six years later he re-released it, on the Evangeline label under the title ‘House Rocker’, and four years after that he released his second original album ‘Lafayette Marquis’, marking a move to YepRock Records. Since then, there have been no recordings under his own name – but he’s far from idle.
Adcock has become a successful producer in his own right, having produced albums by the likes of Steve Riley and the Mamou Playboys, Doyle Bramhall and James McMurtry. He’s also a successful composer of soundtracks for film and TV productions and, among others, was heavily involved in the compilation and production of the Grammy Nominated soundtrack album for the ‘True Blood’ TV series (in which he also made a guest appearance).
In 1998 Adcock and Steve Riley co-founded Cajun supergroup L’il Band O’ Gold, featuring legendary drummer Warren Storm, alongside such Cajun luminaries as David Egan, Dave Greely and Richard Comeaux. The band wanted to re-visit the swamp pop sounds of the 50s and 60s and re-invent traditional Cajun songs as roadhouse rockers and they have become one of the great bar bands of the Louisiana circuit. The band have recorded three albums to date, most notably 2009’s ‘Promised Land: A Swamp Pop Journey’, the soundtrack to a documentary, co-produced by Adcock, about life on the road with the L’il Band O’ Gold.
It seems that, for Adcock, live performance is what it’s all about for him as a musician. He has stated in the past that he sees no point in recording if the music fashion of the time doesn’t suit his music. It seems the reason for the ten-year gap between his debut album and the superb ‘Lafayette Marquis’ is that he couldn’t see a role for his brand of music when grunge and Indie rock was in the ascendant. Now that Americana, and roots music generally, has come more to the fore perhaps he could be tempted back into the studio for another C.C. Adcock album?!
It does seem that, while he clearly loves the studio, he prefers his work there to be in his role as a producer. When it comes to making music himself, he would seem to prefer the live circuit, particularly in his native Louisiana, where he regularly tours with his own band and with The L’il Band O’ Gold. This is a shame, not least because of the current circumstances that mean he won’t be able to tour – and we don’t have access to fresh recordings.
If you like your Cajun and Swamp Rock music you really need to listen to C.C. Adcock. He’s an exciting and innovative guitar player who couldn’t have originated anywhere other than the swamplands of Louisiana. I still haven’t given up hope of a follow up to ‘Lafayette Marquis’.