The Fabulous Boogie Kings will play from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. on Friday, October 30 at the VFW Hall at 5303 N.16th St. in Orange. Doors open at 6 p.m. The band roots reach back to the 1950s.

David Ball – For The Record

Some history will make its way to Orange this weekend.

And though some of the names have changed, the music lives on.

The Fabulous Boogie Kings will play from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. on Friday, October 30 at the VFW Hall at 5303 N.16th St. in Orange. Doors open at 6 p.m. It will be BYOB and the VFW will sell setups and beer. Tickets are $20 at Swamp Pop Sound Shop at 409-753-7773, or call Norman Guillot at 409-877-2676. Mid-County residents may call Linda or Clifton at 409-960-9732.

There will also be a costume contest with first, second and third place.

Guillot, the promoter, said this will be the first time he will bring the Boogie Kings to Orange and he plans to bring in more weekend entertainment and things to do in Orange County.

“I’m planning on doing some car shows, dances, and some regular shows with bands like the Boogie Kings, local country bands, and Willie Tee and Cypress and an Elvis impersonator this summer. I can also help people with a band for a party or whatever,” he said.

Guillot was born and raised in Orange. He retired from sales a few years ago and he wanted to do something to help bring entertainment into Orange. A friend since childhood, Jimmy Guidry, did a few shows and got Guillot started in promoting.

“He’s very good at what he (Guidry) does,” he said.

Guillot is also assisted in promoting shows by Don Crawford and Alex Villarea.

Guillot, himself, is also an entertainer. He sang for the Louisiana Hayride from 1976 to 1977 and a band named The Regals in Houston.

“It’s not a one-man deal. It takes a lot of time, leg work, and negotiations. I’ve learned the ins and outs about negotiations through sales,” Guillot said.

The Boogie Kings may be a group people haven’t heard in the last 30 years. They’ve been touring Texas the last five years and playing some private shows.

“This is what we listened to. We would dance to them across the river. It’s a great feeling to go back and hear that music and have our good times,” he said. “All the guys do a great job with the swamp pop and blue-eyed soul. I do have some tickets left; I’ll probably have them at the door and sell $25 per ticket. I’m hoping to be sold out.”

Though there have been some changes to the lineup of The Fabulous Boogie Kings, there are still some original members from the 1960s and 1970s, according to Guillot. Many singers have performed with them such as Parker James and Everett Brady. James has been with them since he was 19. Duane Yates brought James along and groomed him for The Boogie Kings sound.

“They are professionals from the word go,” Guillot said.

In an earlier article in The Record, Roy Dunn reported in Down Life’s Highway that longtime Boogie King Ned Theall, age 72, died in 2010.

“The death of Ned Theall, 72, caught me by surprise. He had lived the nightlife of a musician for years and in time that takes it’s toll,” he wrote. “Ned however, never smoked, drank, used drugs or abused food. I have been aware for many years of heart problems in his family history. My half-sisters, first cousins of Ned, fight the same problem that killed their father and Ned’s father – who were brothers, at an early age.

Ned’s brother Skip and I were the same age, Ned three years younger but always just a couple of grades behind us in school. He had a younger brother, Gary who is an attorney in Abbeville and a sister, June. His mother was head of the draft board in Abbeville.”

After serving in the Air Force, Ned became a college music professor but his call was always to play and write music. Several years ago, after playing with the Fabulous Boogie Kings since the 1950s, Ned bought and managed the popular group. Over the last few years we had visited about his hanging up his horn, which he played sparingly over recent times. Ned and the Boogie Kings put on a few “farewell” tours but he just couldn’t give it up. I can relate with that.

Ironically, just a couple of weeks ago Gene Bourgeois (Jivin’ Gene) and I were visiting about those long ago Abbeville days. Gene spoke of spending time in the Cajun town while visiting his grandparents, who lived there. He said he was impressed at age 12 and 13 by the Abbeville boys who had so much talent and who he found to be cool. He recalled not only Ned but also Bobby Guidry, aka Bobby Charles, and Warren Schexnider, aka Warren Storm who played drums in his father’s band before launching his career. Bobby Charles had just written and recorded “See You Later Alligator,” followed by many other songs recorded by others. Ned brought his trumpet everywhere he went.

“Gene became like a little brother to me. His mom and dad always put me up when I blew into Port Arthur. Gene learned to play a guitar that came from my boarding house roommate’s brother. While visiting Harry Waddell’s folks in Rock Island, his brother Tom gave Gene’s brother Kenneth a guitar. Gene picked it up and learned to play on it and as they say, the rest is history,” Dunn wrote.

Ned was best known as the longtime leader of the Fabulous Boogie Kings, the legendary Hall of Fame “blue-eyed soul” band. Ned dedicated his life to a body of work that will not soon be duplicated or surpassed. His incomparable talent lent itself to the genius that was Ned Theall. Through his horn, composing and arranging, he created a sound that was the soul of Louisiana which was his gift to the fans and musicians worldwide that he touched and inspired along the way. He wrote such songs as “Philly Walk” and “I Love That Swamp Pop Music.” He will be remembered as one of Louisiana’s great musicians. He truly was the Boogie King.

Through the late 1950s and 1960s the band played every Saturday night at the Big Oaks Club on Interstate 10 near Orange. The band built a large following. They entertained on the beach in Galveston every Sunday where they drew thousands of youngsters from Orange, the Houston area and into Central Texas. The band later played throughout the country with long engagement in California and Las Vegas and recorded more than 20 albums and 200 songs.
He is survived by his wife Rene, who says the Boogie Kings will continue as a group. He leaves four children and several grandchildren.

Ned was a rare talent. I had known him all of my life. Often when he was in the area he came by the office to visit. He’s the first of a very talented group of young men to die who started their brand of music in our little Cajun town. Bobby Charles, who wrote hits for Fats Domino, Willie and other stars, is the only one who still lives in Abbeville.

According to a Wikipedia article, The band formulated in Eunice, La. in 1955 as teenagers first consisting members Doug Ardoin, Skip Morris, Bert Miller and Harris Miller.

In the mid-1960s, the band expanded to include Ned Theall, a trumpeter from Abbeville, who ultimately became the group’s leader. Because of Theall, and his tremendous musical arrangement skills, the band changed its style of music from swamp pop, to a more successful, blue-eyed soul sound of music. In early 1965, the band released its first self-titled album on the Jin label and recorded at Floyd Soileu’s studio in Ville Platte, Louisiana. During this time, the band was provided strong leadership from front man Clint West (Born “Clinton Joseph Guillory” August 11, 1938). West booked the Boogie Kings in venues outside the Evangeline Parish and Acadiana area. West’s vocals on songs such as “Try Me” and “Big Blue Diamonds” provided enormous success for the Boogie Kings. Despite the overwhelming success brought on by the leadership of Clint West, the band separated from its front man (West). Clint West then led his own version of the Boogie Kings, “The Fabulous Kings.” and has been honored with several Hall of Fame Honors for his musical talents.

The band began to feature trumpeter G.G. Shinn on vocals, who had previously been only an occasional vocalist. By May of that year, Jerry LaCroix, (performing under the name Jerry “Count” Jackson) joined the group. Jerry and G.G. sang several numbers as a duet, a feature only rarely seen in American rhythm and blues, and probably unique in the South at that time.

Over the years the band has has lineup changes, several recordings, musical evolutions, club shows, and many reunions and they’re still around decades later.

In fact,  on May 16, 2010, at the LMHOF Louisiana Music Homecoming held in Erwinville, La., the Boogie Kings, and Ned Theall himself, were inducted into The Louisiana Music Hall Of Fame, honoring their 55 years of excellence and crowd pleasing music.

The “Fabulous Boogie Kings” is a registered trade name in the state of Louisiana.

“My main goal is to see all my friends are the area schools out dancing, having a great time. It will be a fun night,” Guillot said.