Thursday, September 14, 2023

La Croix - La Croix (1972 us, marvelous rhythm 'n' blues, brass rock)


Jerry LaCroix was born October 10, 1943 in Alexandria, LA, and a 30-mile journey from his kinfolk's home in nearby Jena. His first musical exposure came by way of family. At early age LaCroix moved to Port Arthur and attended Port Arthur and Port Neches schools, he graduated from Port Neches-Groves High School in 1961 before going to Lamar University.

Although he was never a household name in his own right, LaCroix's soulful vocals made him a favorite performer for those in the know -- a group that, early in his career, included Columbia president Clive Davis, who not only presided over White Trash's deal with the label's Epic subsidiary, but ended up playing matchmaker between LaCroix and Blood, Sweat & Tears after White Trash fell apart. Although he'd just released his own solo album, 1974's 'The Second Coming,' he decided to abandon promotional efforts because, as he put it, "Blood, Sweat & Tears was going on a world tour and I hadn't seen the world."

Staying with the band long enough to contribute to their 1974 'Mirror Image' album, LaCroix soon left because, as he told Swampland, "they weren’t really a kick-ass band like White Trash was and I wasn’t happy." But just as quickly as he left one band, he joined another: Rare Earth's manager soon came calling, and as LaCroix recalled in the same interview, "He flew me out to L.A. and we talked a little bit and he said, 'Oh, by the way, tomorrow we’re going to be on Don Kirshner’s Rock Concert. You want to sing with us?' No rehearsal, no nothing. I just got on live TV and sang 'Get Ready.' He said and then, day after tomorrow, we’re going on tour. So I had to learn all of their songs in two days."

While LaCroix continued to enjoy local legend status in the Louisiana and Texas Gulf Coast region, he turned his back on the music industry after the '80s; at one point, he told Swampland, "I was living up in Oregon cutting wood. A guy had a 2000-acre ranch. It was just pristine but it wasn’t music." Returning to Texas to care for his ailing father, he started a new band, but he harbored no delusions of grandeur regarding that stage of his career. "I'm doing a compilation tape of things I've recorded in the past. A little package to give more or less as souvenirs to people who come to see us. Demos, if somebody wants to hear something," he mused in one late interview. "I'm also working on an anthology. I'm getting my own CD burner so I can make my own CDs and do them out of the back end of the Winnebago."

After the turn of the century, LaCroix dedicated himself to caring for his elderly mother, but in the summer of 2010, his own health took a turn for the worse. Local musicians banded together to help raise money for his medical care after he suffered congestive heart failure; he recovered enough to perform at his induction into the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame in January of 2012, but over time, his condition continued to deteriorate.

The man behind one of Southeast Texas' most noted, soulful voices enchanted the area for more than four decades, the "blue-eyed soul brother" never fully recovered, he passed away on May 7th, 2014.
1. On The Road Again - 3:25
2. Drivin' Wheel (B. B. King, JulesTaub) - 5:15
3. A Little Bit O' Trust (Edgar Winter, Jerry La Croix) - 4:39
4. New Orleans Song - 3:57
5. Marshall's Tune (Marshall  Cyr) - 3:25
6. Tired Of Feeling Sorry For Myself - 3:23
7. Ninety-Nine And A Half (Eddie L. Floyd, Steve Cropper, Wilson Pickett) - 3:41
8. Sexy Linda Lee - 2:50
9. I'd Like To Write A Song - 3:12
10.All Join Together - 6:30
All songs by Jerry La Croix except where stated

*Jerry La Croix - Lead Vocals, Harp, Saxophone, Piano
*Barry Rillera - Lead Guitar, Backgound Vocals
*Bobby Ramirez - Drums, Congas, Percussion
*George Sheck - Bass
*Jon Smith - Saxophone, Backgound Vocals
*Tilly Lawrence - Trumpet, Percussion
*Marshall Cyr - Trumpet, Percussion
*Jose Silva  - Bass (Tracks 1,2,7,9,10)
*Michael Omartian - Piano (Tracks 3,6)
*Greg Mathieson - Piano (Tracks 9,10),  Organ (Track 7)
*Gordon De Witty - Organ (Track 2)

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