|Intro||American country, cajun and rockabilly musician|
|A.K.A.||Alfous Glenn Ferrier|
|Was||Musician Singer Country musician|
|From||United States of America|
|Birth||19 August 1935, Montgomery, Louisiana, USA|
|Death||6 January 2015, Natchitoches, Louisiana, USA (aged 79 years)|
Al Ferrier (August 19, 1934 – January 6, 2015) was an American country, cajun and rockabilly musician. He became known as "The Cajun Rockabilly" or "King of Louisiana Rockabilly," as he blended Cajun music and Swamp Blues with rockabilly influenced by Carl Perkins.
Life and career
Al Ferrier was born Alfous Glenn Ferrier on August 19, 1934, in Montgomery, Louisiana, into a musical family. His father played the fiddle and his mother played the guitar. He had seven brothers and three sisters, two of whom were also musicians—Brian, a guitarist, and Warren, a fiddle player and double bassist. Brian once played briefly with Hank Thompson's band.
In his childhood, Ferrier liked the music of country singer Jimmie Rodgers and banjo player/country musician Grandpa Jones, who at the time was a member of the Grand Ole Opry. Later, he developed a liking for the music of Hank Williams.
With his parents, Ferrier often attended the local barn dances, where he also performed.
Ferrier started playing guitar at the age of eleven, accompanying his brother Warren, who played the fiddle. When he was 13, he left school without a qualification to work in a sawmill. He maintained a busy schedule in his early years; he with his two musician brothers would get up at 5 am and go to Alexandria, Louisiana, to play in a radio show, and then come back to work at the sawmill until evening.
At one point, Ferrier left his hometown and lived for eighteen months in Gadsden, Alabama, where he appeared for the first time in a national radio show Midway Jamboree on WGWD.
Back in Alabama, during a power outage at the sawmill, Ferrier went home and wrote his first song, "Let's Go Boppin' Tonight". The song was a hit in the community and the three brothers started playing it around the local clubs, with people dancing to it and requesting it. During that period, they performed four or five nights a week.
In the 1950s, Local Cajun star Jimmy C. Newman introduced the Ferrier brothers to Eddie Shuler, a TV repairman who had built a primitive recording studio to the rear of his repair shop in Lake Charles, Louisiana. Ferrier was signed by Shuler and subsequently made his first recordings on Shuler's Goldband Records, in March 1955.
Shuler gave them Clarence Garlow's recently recorded R&B hit "No No Baby" (Folk Star 1199) for their first record. Ferrier founded the band The Boppin 'Hillbillies with his two brothers and Joe Roy (piano), Ross Harbour (drums), and David Gregory (bass.) Their first session took place in the spring of 1955 when the song "No No Baby" was recorded. The Ferriers transformed this R&B song to raw swampy rockabilly with rhythm from Al and Brian's guitars. The song was released as the first single in April 1956.
With Shuler, they would go to perform in Horace Logan's radio (KWKH) and TV country music show Louisiana Hayride in Shreveport, Louisiana. Logan introduced Ferrier to some young musicians on the show—Johnny Cash, Elvis Presley, and Carl Perkins—before they were big. Sometimes, they would call Ferrier up to sing, which he did, while Warren played the upright bass and Brian played the guitar. Presley heard Ferrier's song "Let's Go Boppin' Tonight" and wanted to send it to his producer Sam Phillips to record it. Ferrier, however, refused to give his consent, believing that he could do it himself—a decision he regretted later.
In the following years, Ferrier recorded for various labels, including Rocko Records, Zynn, and Goldband Records. In 1957, he recorded Hey! Baby on Excello Records. The following year, he released Let's Go Boppin Tonight on Goldband Records, which was followed by Kiss Me Baby in 1959 on Rocko Records. In 1977, he recorded the album Boppin' Tonight with Warren Storm on Flyright Records. The album featured songs written by J. D. Miller. One of the songs, "You Win Again" was written by Hank Williams. Ferrier stayed with J. D. Miller for the remainder of the 1950s, with further recordings being released on Miller's own labels (Rocko, Zynn), in a more mainstream rock 'n' roll style.
In 1987, Ferrier recorded Dixie, a 16-track album on Rockhouse Records. This was soon followed by Greetings From Louisiana LP for Floyd Soileau's label Jin Records, in 1990. The album featured Jesse Parker (bass), Sammy Nix (drums), Wesley Ferrier (guitar), and Eddy Stewart (keyboards).
Ferrier retired professionally in the early 1960s but continued to play in a family setting. His recordings were being released up until the early 1990s, with the most recent one being Legendary Al Ferrier With Louisiana Swamp Cats, with Goldband Records.
In 1980, Ferrier received an award from the mayor of Natchitoches City, Louisiana, honoring his 25 years in the music business. After his brother Brian died in October 1981, the Boppin 'Hillbillies broke up, however, Al Ferrier formed a new band and continued his musical career. From 1980 onwards, he performed many times at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival.
His European popularity took him to the Netherlands in 1987, where he performed at the Rockhouse Rock 'n' Roll Meeting in Zwolle.
In 1996, Ferrier switched to gospel and released the album Help Me Keep the Faith on Goldband Records.
Ferrier died on January 6, 2015, in Natchitoches, Louisiana, at the age of 79.