"Deep in the cypress swamps near Lake Pontchartrain, well before they were swamps, it was written on stone—a prophecy that three kings would come to shape the sounds that would become the benchmark of music we know as the blues. They would begin their journey together under many names (The Louisiana Legends and The District Court among them) but only after fulfilling the prophecy could they let the world know that they, indeed, are The Hoodoo Kings."
—Dusty Hoover in the liner notes
The Hoodoo Kings are three spry veterans sparked to new heights in a fresh collaborative effort. In bringing together elder bluesmen Eddie Bo, Raful Neal and Rockin’ Tabby Thomas with a band of younger cohorts, they capture the simmering essence of Louisiana. With a strong sense of place evident in all thirteen tracks, Hoodoo Kings aims at a new generation of fans for these three legends. On their first Telarc release, Bo, Neal and Thomas visit New Orleans (Professor Longhair's “Big Chief”), play songs by Louisiana’s Sonny Landreth and Lenny McDaniel, and jam on their own Crescent City originals (“I Am the Hoodoo King” and “Hard Times”). Other highlights include new arrangements of the Sonny Curtis classic “I Fought the Law” and Bob Dylan’s “If I Don’t Be There By Morning” (previously covered by Eric Clapton). Hoodoo Kings was produced by Randy Labbe. Vocalist/keyboardist Eddie Bo was born in 1930 in New Orleans, Louisiana. As a session musician and recording artist he scored Top 40 R&B hits with “Hook and Sling” and “I’m Wise” (made famous by Little Richard under the name “Slippin’ and Slidin’”). During the 1950’s, Eddie Bo led a group of stellar New Orleans sidemen around the country backing such vocalists as Ruth Brown, Joe Turner, Johnny Adams and The Platters. Known for his big barrelhouse style, he has become the dean of New Orleans piano. Born just outside of Baton Rouge in 1936, Raful Neal took up harp at age 14, schooled by local player Ike Brown and influenced by Chicago mainstay Little Walter. At 17, Neal formed a band with Lazy Lester and played the local circuit. When Lester left for Chicago, Buddy Guy took his place. The year Neal got married, Little Walter performed in Baton Rouge and invited the band to move to Chicago. Buddy Guy did move to Chicago the next year, but Neal declined. Today, he is perhaps best known for being the father of a brood of successful blues musicians, including Telarc recording artist Kenny Neal. A leading figure of Baton Rouge’s blues scene, vocalist/guitarist Rockin’ Tabby Thomas has been playing for years. He had a hit on Excello Records in 1962 with “Voodoo Party” and little bits of regional success after that, but for the most part he had to work other jobs to support his family. In 1983, he opened his own blues club in Baton Rouge. With blazing support from guitarists Greg Hoover and Denny Breau, bassist Dan Corbett, drummer Darren Thiboutot and backup vocalist Kelly Jones, Hoodoo Kings is sure to inspire a new blues audience. Look for Eddie Bo, Raful Neal and Rockin’ Tabby Thomas to tour the United States in 2001.