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When it comes to music here in Pierre Part, in Belle River, or in South Louisiana a singer that comes to mind first is Don Rich.
Don Rich is a musician with the love of swamp pop music in his heart, in his blood and it runs through his veins. Having grown up with Don Rich, and having played music with Don Rich when he was fondly known as Doc by all his friends I can say that Don Rich is the original Don Rich. He was only 9-years old when he created a knowledge of Don Rich from the beginning.
The two of us, or should I say the three of us, cause if you looked at one you always saw Don Rich, and the other two. Of course he was known as Donald Richard back then. Carl Gauthreaux was always with us. He is a well known bass player in the area, and myself (Morgan Landry) at either Mr. Wilbert's place, the Country Club, at Don Rich's house or at my house.
Don Rich often says, "We were mostly at your house cause that's where all the instruments were at" which is very true. I started playing music in dance halls at the age of 11, my Dad played lead guitar, Don Rich was on drums, (one of the best drum players I've ever heard in my life), Preston Landry or his brother Ronnie Landry was on bass at one time or another when Carl Gauthreaux wasn't available. However, for the most part it Was Don Rich on drums, Carl Gauthreaux on Bass, me on rhythm guitar and my Dad on lead. Then there were times that it was a three piece band.
That is why I know Don Rich because I knew him when he was Donald Richard. That is why his 11th CD, Kinda Sorta doesn't surprise me because Don Rich is a true, dedicated musician, he has the love of music in his heart plus he can play and sing the music. He plays 7 instruments, he creates all the programming in his organ, which he plays very well and if you want to talk about music in Pierre Part, even in the entire State of Louisiana, there aren't many people in this world that can say they lived their dream -- and that is what Don Rich has done, he is living his dream. Don Rich has been wanting to play music professionally since the age of 9 when I first met him. I was only 11 at the time. This guy could hit every single note that Michael Jackson hit in any of the Jackson's songs and plus he was playing the music on a toy organ which he'd gotten for Christmas. Every time I hear the song by Alan Jackson, "Chasing that Neon Rainbow" I think of Don Rich.
The song on the New CD "Kinda Sorta" , the song titled "Keep a Knocking" brings back the past, it's like a rush back to 1967 when Don and I would play that Lil Richard song. The song, "Who's loving you now" sends chills down my spine. How many times I tried to hit those notes and just couldn't and Don Rich would just slide right in sounding so much like Michael Jackson back in those days. But , he's kept his unique style and he's made the song his own.
The title song of Don's new CD, "Kinda Sorta" is the perfect break up song. If you're down in the dumps, if you need something to smooth it over, this is the song to help soothe the heartaches, it's even the song to convince you to make that first step. It's a great song and a breath of fresh air and a slight break away from the traditional.
The song "Nobody but You" has a great beat, sets a great mood and is the perfect song to bring in the new year and bring in a new love or mend a broken heart.
Don Rich needs a Swamp Pop crown and I'm crowning him the King of Swamp Pop. Pierre Part is filled with talent and Don Rich has his share of that talent. If you're from Pierre Part or just visiting the area don't forget to see Mr. Swamp Pop in action, download Don Rich's Schedule and listen to a great singer, a great musician and the essence of Swamp Pop Music -- Don Rich.
-- Morgan J. Landry ---