LeRoux’s First New Album in 18 Years Serves Tasty Gumbo of Blues, Southern Rock and Zydeco

Until Friday, I had never heard of LeRoux, aka Louisiana’s LeRoux. Then I came across their great song Lucy Anna and featured it in my latest Best of What’s New installment. The tune, which has a nice Little Feat vibe, is from the Baton Rouge-based group’s new album One of Those Days. Earlier today, I found myself in the car and spontaneously decided to listen into the album. All it really took to realize I’m going to dig this music were the first minute or two of the opener and title track – sometimes you just know right away!

Released on July 24, One of Those Days is LeRoux’s first new album in 18 years since 2002’s Higher Up. Prior to that, five of their six earlier records came out between 1978 and 1983. What evidently were the band’s most active years coincided with the period that lasted until their first breakup in 1984 after they had been dropped by their label RCA. However, they already regrouped in 1985. As explained on their website, the band took their name from “the Cajun French term for the thick and hearty gravy base that’s used to make a gumbo,” a rich, thick soup with meat or shellfish and vegetables that’s popular in Louisiana.

LeRoux (from left): Front: Tony Haselden (vocals, guitars) and Jim Odom (guitars); Back: Randy Carpenter (drums), Joey Decker (bass, backing vocals), Jeff McCarty (vocals), Mark Duthu (percussion), Nelson Blanchard (keyboards, vocals) and Rod Roddy (vocals, keyboards)

It doesn’t look like LeRoux ever had a significant national breakthrough, at least not based on chart performance. Their most successful single, which somewhat ironically was titled Nobody Said It Was Easy (Lookin’ For The Lights), peaked at no. 18 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 – to be clear, I’m not saying this makes them a bad band. After all, I wouldn’t be writing about them if I thought they suck. I’m simply stating some facts.

As you would expect from a group that has been around for more than 40 years, LeRoux have seen many changes in their line-up. Apparently, two of the co-founding members, Tony Haselden (vocals, guitars) and Rod Roddy (vocals, keyboards), are still around. The current line-up also features Jim Odom (guitars), Nelson Blanchard (keyboards, vocals), Mark Duthu (percussion), Randy Carpenter (drums), Jeff McCarty (vocals) and Joey Decker (bass, backing vocals). Except for Decker who joined in 2014, most of the other members have been with the band for at least 10 years.

Let’s get to some music. A great place to start is the aforementioned opener and title track co-written by Odom and Haselden. Here’s the official video. I just love the warm sound, the guitars and keyboard work. I can hear some Allman Brothers and some Doobies in here. What a great tune! Why aren’t these guys better known, or is it just my ignorance?

No One’s Gonna Love Me (Like The Way You Do) is another great tune. It was written by Dustin Ransom, who per Wikipedia is a Nashville-based multi-instrumentalist, producer, vocalist, arranger, music transcriber and film composer – jeez, I guess they forgot to add over-achiever! And, oh, yeah, he’s 33 years old. Man, check out these harmonies and tell me this doesn’t sound friggin’ awesome!

Next up: Don’t Rescue Me, another Odom-Haselden co-write. This one reminds me a bit of Lynyrd Skynyrd. No matter what influence may be in there, it’s just a solid tune – love that opening guitar riff, and there’s more great harmony singing!

On After All, LeRoux are slowing it down a bit. Coz you gotta take a break from going full throttle every now and then after all! 🙂 The tune was co-written by Randy Sharp and Donald Anderson. According to Wikipedia, over the past 40 years, Sharp’s songs have been performed by the likes of Linda Ronstadt, Blood Sweat and Tears, Edgar Winter and Emmylou Harris.

Here’s one more: Lifeline (Redux), a groovy rocker co-written by Odom, Haselden and McCarty. Apparently, it’s a new version of a tune the band initially recorded for their fifth studio album So Fired Up from 1983, the last release prior their first breakup.

“It’s the best combination of LeRoux’s musical palette and represents the abilities of the band better than any album we’ve probably ever done,” Haselden notes in a statement on the band’s website. “It covers a wide spectrum of blues, southern rock, and zydeco.” Now you know from where I got the inspiration for the post’s headline!

I can’t speak to other LeRoux records, but what I do know is One of Those Days is a great-sounding album I’m very happy I found. Last but not least, I should also mention some notable guests: Blues guitarist Tab Benoit; original Toto vocalist Bobby Kimball; and Bill Champlin, former longtime keyboarder and guitarist of Chicago.

Sources: Wikipedia; LeRoux website; YouTube

15 thoughts on “LeRoux’s First New Album in 18 Years Serves Tasty Gumbo of Blues, Southern Rock and Zydeco”

  1. Really tight band…you are right…I get a Little Feat feel out of some of it.
    That is odd I’ve never heard of these guys…especially tied to Nashville.

    I’ll keep my eyes out for them…Great choice Christian!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. While they have been around for 40-plus years, it seems to me they never really broke through nationally.

      I haven’t listened to any of their earlier records (yet). But I’m really excited about this album. I love the sound of the music, and their harmony is great as well.

      The one tune that does remind me of Little Feat is “Lucy Anna.” Since I had included it in my previous Best of What’s New, I skipped it here.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I still can’t believe I haven’t heard of them because of the Nashville connection. Little Feat is a perfect comparison for that one song.

        The sound is a classic sound no doubt…with people who know their instruments. I was going to post a Little Feat song this week at some point.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. It’s a shame they never broke….but like Little Feat…many times the best group of pure musicians never do…I’m sure they have a big fan base though.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Well, I guess the music business can be pretty unfair.

        I just listened to the album’s title track again – great guitar sound, great singing, great melody. This should be a hit, for crying out loud! And it’s not, and I’m afraid it won’t be – it’s a shame!

        Liked by 1 person

      4. I hate when that happens. On my island album I posted Big Star on Friday…a band that should have ruled the seventies airwaves but their record company (Stax…for a power pop band!) couldn’t distribute the record…the best band you never heard. Kids wanted the album…went to the record shop only to find NO Big Star records.

        I know exactly what you are talking about…yea the business is NOT fair. The way they sound they should be heard nationally.

        Liked by 1 person

      5. That is really cool! I love the first shot of the tube amps also.
        It was cool showing that old pic of them…I’m glad they are still at it.

        Liked by 1 person

      6. BTW, I’m currently reading your post about Big Star. I had seen it earlier but couldn’t get to it at the time and then kind of forgot. So thanks for the reminder! 🙂

        Anyway, you’re right, this seems to be another stunning example of a band that should have been popular. I had never heard of them before. Based on the album’s first three tunes, they really sounded great!

        Liked by 1 person

      7. Oh dude…you dont’ have to read it…just listen some to Big Star if you haven’t! You are a Beatles fan…you will like them I believe. They influence everyone from REM to current Indie music.

        These kind of bands are what I call lost causes…I like fighting for lost causes…that is why I brought up Big Star…some bands not as worthy make it while really talented ones sometimes don’t….like we said very unfair.
        This band is super talented and it’s a shame.

        Liked by 1 person

      8. I’m currently listening to the album and just left a comment. They sound terrific, and I’m really inn complete disbelief this band never broke through. I think you’re right part of the explanation must have been Stax, a label I otherwise absolutely admire!

        Liked by 1 person

      9. Kids would hear their music on the radio…get to the record store and no Big Star records to buy.

        Their next album is rated even higher…Radio City.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. This Southern rock group deserves a spot. I first heard of them in the beginning of the 80ths – in their own way, they had the potential of the Allman Bros. or Lynyrd Skynyrd – and then they just faded away. Its hard to believe that this group didn’t made it any farther. Time to listen to them again…

    Liked by 1 person

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