Louisiana native Jimmy C. Newman started performing (and recording!) 'way back in the 1940s, but it wasn't until the mid-1950s that he finally made a mark... By the decade's end he had a couple of hit records under his belt, and had become a cast member of the Grand Ole Opry. Newman's Louisiana roots gave him a reputation as Nashville's resident cajun (that was the "C" in stage name...) and over the years he came to record a wide variety of regional music, in addition to the honkytonk and country ballads of his Opry years. Here's a quick look at the work of one of Louisiana's best-known sons...
Jimmy "C" Newman "The Cajun Country Music Of A Louisiana Man" (Edsel, 1998)
A strong selection of Newman's hits from the late '50s and '60s, many laced with Cajun-style fiddles and a long Louisiana drawl. Newman worked in obscurity for about a decade before his breakthrough in the mid-1950s; his early hits were musically strong and fairly rough hewn; it's pretty remarkable, though -- and something of a testimony to the former power of regional fan bases -- that a guy with such a pronounced lisp could have done so well on the charts. On his mid-50s singles for the Dot label, Newman's slurred "s" and "st" almost constantly; although by the time he signed to Decca in '61, he'd smoothed his impediment out, along with some of the rougher, more honkytonk edges in his music. This is a pretty nice collection of a well-known Nashville second-stringer; Newman never topped the charts, but he snuck into the Top Ten consistently throughout his career. The only downside of this disc is that none of his material on MGM (from 1958-60) is included, so there's an unfortunate gap of a few years... (Did he have a lisp then, too... or not??) Overall, though, this is a good collection for fans of hard country as well as the rootsier side of the Nashville Sound.
Jimmy "C" Newman "Bop A Hula" (Bear Family, 1990)
If the Edsel Records collection above whet your appetite, but left you wondering about Newman's other oldies -- the lesser hits and dimly remembered album cuts -- then this 2-CD set by the great Bear Family will come as a revelation. Forty-seven songs, all vintage corn.
Jimmy C. Newman "The Original Cry, Cry, Darling" (Jasmine, 2009)
An interesting classic country reissue... Louisiana's Jimmy C. Newman added a dash of regional charm as Nashville's resident cajun, but eventually he became just as cheesy and tame as the rest of the mainstream country crooners of the 1960s... Still, at the start of his career he had a little more bite and a little more grit to his songs, as this collection of his earlier, more honky-tonk, recordings shows. This includes the original versions of several songs later re-recorded during his stint on Decca... Worth checking out, for sure!
Jimmy C. Newman "The Happy Cajun" (Varese Sarabande, 2002)
Jimmy C. Newman "...Sings Cajun" (Ace, 1998)
Jimmy C. Newman "This Is Jimmy Newman" (MGM, 1959)
Jimmy C. Newman "Jimmy Newman" (Decca, 1962)
Jimmy C. Newman "Folk Songs Of The Bayou Country" (Decca, 1963) (LP)
Jimmy C. Newman "Artificial Rose" (Decca, 1966)
Jimmy C. Newman "...Sings Country Songs" (Decca, 1966)
Jimmy C. Newman "A Fallen Star" (Dot, 1966)
Jimmy C. Newman "Cry, Cry Darling" (Dot, 1966)
Jimmy C. Newman "Country Crossroads" (Dot, 1966)
Jimmy C. Newman "The World Of Country Music" (Decca, 1967)
Jimmy C. Newman "The Jimmy Newman Way" (Decca, 1968) (LP)
Jimmy C. Newman "Born To Love You" (Decca, 1968) (LP)
Jimmy C. Newman "The Jimmy Newman Style" (Decca, 1969) (LP)
Jimmy C. Newman "Country Time" (Decca, 1970) (LP)
Jimmy C. Newman "Sings Cajun" (La Louisiane, 1974)
Jimmy C. Newman "Progressive Country" (Plantation, 1976)
Jimmy C. Newman "Greatest Hits" (Plantation, 1976) (LP)
Jimmy C. Newman "Cajun Cowboy" (Plantation, 1978)
Jimmy C. Newman "The Happy Cajun" (Plantation, 1979)
Jimmy C. Newman "Cajun Country" (Delta, 1981)
Hick Music Index