LONG’S STORY SHORT
Mercurial former Louisiana Gov. Earl Long went out in a blaze of ingloriousness in 1960, nine days after an unlikely win for a seat in Congress — he bet on himself and won $24,000 — and about a year removed from that infamous, spittle-flying meltdown against segregationists in the Legislature and commitment into not one but three mental institutions. Oh, and we haven’t even gotten to his lady friend, Bourbon Street stripper Blaze Starr. New Orleans native and author Jason Berry, who helped blow the lid here in Lafayette on the Gilbert Gauthe pedophile-priest scandal a quarter century ago, places Uncle Earl stage center in the two-act play, Earl Long in Purgatory ($10 softcover, UL Press). Berry is a student of Louisiana political history, and he captures in the play the linguistic and, more important, emotional cadences of the north Louisiana populist, who after his death finds himself in a holding pattern between heaven and hell, ruminating, fulminating and rambling as he comes to terms with his life and seeks salvation. Earl Long in Purgatory filters the essence of Huey Long’s little brother into a work that rages and whispers, capturing the endearing and befuddling extremes that marked the political and private life of the three-time governor. — Walter Pierce
I’M LOOKING THROUGH YOU
Since infectious is cliché, let’s call the songs on The Viatones new record contagious. Either way these British Invasion-inspired tracks pay homage to good songwriting, deft musicianship and clever arrangements. And band founder and rhythm guitarist Blayze Viator nails John Lennon’s nasal-toned tenor. Yes, the Beatles’ influence is heavy, and that’s not a bad thing. Yet these lads are non-sectarian, drawing from the sounds, tonal tendencies and instrumental proclivities of not only The Beatles, but The Rolling Stones and The Kinks, as well as the mop-topped facsimiles that followed their advance guard to our shore almost a half century ago. Derivative? Not quite. These guys were born somewhere between New Wave and grunge, far removed from contemporary infatuation with early British pop. But the style imbues the album; it is their thing, their shtick — beginning with the opening song, “I Know I’m Wrong,” which sounds like an out-take from Rubber Soul (the seminal Beatles record, in this unrepentant Fab Four fan’s opinion, thanks, as the legend goes, to Bob Dylan introducing them to marijuana). The CD-release show for Introducing The Viatones will be held April 23 at Blue Moon Saloon. The record is currently available for $10 on iTunes and can be purchased at the Blue Moon show; it will be widely available in local stores after that. — WP
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