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Swamp-pop pioneer Warren Storm was born Warren Schexnider in Abbeville, LA on February 18, 1937; after beginning his professional career began at age 12 while filling in for his father, a drummer in the Cajun band Rayne-Bo Ramblers, three years later he signed on with the country group Larry Brasso's Rhythm-aires, followed by a stint with the Herb Landry Band. In addition to later fronting his own combo, the We-Wows, Storm became one of the top session drummers in southern Louisiana before making his solo debut in 1958 with the single "The Prisoner's Song"; the record went on to sell a quarter of a million copies, its fusion of R&B, country, Cajun and Creole sounds pointing the way for the emergence of the south Louisiana swamp-pop aesthetic. In 1962 Storm teamed with fellow regional legends Rod Bernard and Skip Stewart to form the Shondells, and in the decades to follow he released a series of solo singles and LP's including 1977's Boppin' Tonight, 1992's Night After Night and 1999's Live and In the Studio. In 1980, Storm teamed up with saxophonist Willie "Tee," and formed the group Cypress. While that band dissolved four years later, the duo continued collaborating until 1994. Following a stint with the Louisiana supergroup Lil Band O' Gold in 1998, Storm and Willie "Tee," reformed Cypress in 2004 and are in the process of completeing a new CD.
Warren Storm (born February 18, 1937, in Abbeville, Louisiana) is a drummer and vocalist, known as a pioneer of the musical genre swamp pop, a combination of rhythm and blues, country and western, and Cajun music and black Creole music.
Background and career
Born Warren Schexnider on February 18, 1937, in Abbeville, Louisiana, Storm learned to play drums and guitar from his father, a Cajun musician, and in the early 1950s Storm began to perform publicly with Larry Brasso and the Rhythmaires.
Around this time he befriended fellow Abbeville musician Bobby Charles, and the two would travel to New Orleans to hear black rhythm and blues artists in the local nightclubs. These visits to New Orleans greatly influenced Storm's musical tastes and his own drumming style. Storm cites New Orleans rhythm and blues musician Charlie "Hungry" Williams as a major drumming influence.
In 1956 Storm founded his own rhythm and blues/early rock and roll group, and in 1958 he began recording for Crowley, Louisiana, record producer J. D. "Jay" Miller. Miller convinced Nasco records of Nashville to release a 45 RPM record of Storm's version of the old country composition "Prisoner's Song"; the flip side was "Mama Mama Mama (Look What Your Little Boy's Done)." The release broke into the Billboard Hot 100 and both songs became lifelong standards for Storm.
Over the following years Storm recorded swamp pop music for numerous labels, including Rocko, Zynn, Top Rank, and Dot. In the early 1960s he teamed up with fellow swamp pop musicians Rod Bernard and Skip Stewart to form The Shondells, performing with the group and cutting tracks on the La Louisianne label until The Shondells disbanded around 1970.
Meanwhile, Storm released songs on several more labels, including ATCO, Sincere, and Teardrop, and, later, Premier, Showtime, Starflite, and Jin, among others. It was during this period that Storm recorded two more regional favorites, "Lord I Need Somebody Bad Tonight" and "My House of Memories."
During the 1980s and '90s, Storm appeared as a regular house musician at several south Louisiana danceclubs, and in 1989 recorded the Cajun Born LP for La Louisianne with fellow south Louisiana musicians Rufus Thibodeaux, Johnnie Allan, and Clint West.
Resurgence of popularity
Around 2000 Storm experienced a resurgence in popularity when he joined the Lil' Band of Gold, an all-star south Louisiana band that included, among others, guitarist C. C. Adcock, accordionist Steve Riley of the Mamou Playboys; fiddler David Greely; Richard Comeaux of River Road; and pianist David Egan of Filé.
On September 5, 2010, during his performance at the "Boogie for the Bayou" fundraiser event at Paragon Casino in Marksville, Louisiana, Warren Storm was inducted into The Louisiana Music Hall of Fame.