A Quick Study in Raunchy, Cajun-Fueled, Post-WWII Blues with Classie Ballou


May 2, 2017 | by Andrew K. Lau

Look folks, breaking up can be difficult on the old noggin. Oftentimes you feel as though you’ve been wronged, framed, two-timed and mentally knuckle-dusted. There are those types of jerks who wanna go out and get all physical, if not with their accuser then maybe with some random fool down at the local watering hole. That kinda redemption is problematic.

Then there are those who can channel their frustrations into some kinda creative endeavor, like a quality gut-bucket blues cut. All it takes is a stinging, dirty guitar run, a piano, maybe a bass drum and snare but certainly a few sympathetic friends to sing back-up and, in this case, spelling out your thoughts on the matter. Louisiana’s Classie Ballou falls into the latter category with this little nugget, the 1956 B-side to his first single. “D-i-r-t-y D-e-a-l” is a quick study in raunchy, Cajun-fueled, post-WWII blues and probably recorded with one microphone… because two mics would ruin everything, just like that dame who did him wrong. Ballou hasn’t always played dirty, “Classie’s Whip” from 1968, is almost polar opposite in execution: precise, sharp, and clean. All in all, this guy can play regardless of his relationship status.

So, if you ever find yourself caught up in a whirlwind of face-saving revenge on a guy or gal over some relationship infraction, do yourself a favor and give this jam a listen instead. If anything, Ballou’s ragged solo alone will ease your conscious and mend your sorry-ass broken heart.

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