Cookie and the Cupcakes
Cookie and the Cupcakes from Lake Charles, Louisiana, is best known and loved for recording the unofficial anthem of swamp pop music.
The band started as the Boogie Ramblers, led by Shelton Dunaway. Huey "Cookie" Thierry joined in 1952 and shared lead vocals and tenor sax with Dunaway. Other original members were Sidney "Hot Rod" Reynaud (tenor sax), Marshall Laday (guitar), Ernest Jacobs (piano), Joe "Blue" Landry (bass) and Ivory Jackson (drums).
They started playing as the house band at the Moulin Rouge Club in Lake Charles in 1953. The group became a popular regional live act and toured with big names like Jerry Lee Lewis and Fats Domino. In 1956, Cookie became the frontman and the band's name changed to "Cookie and the Boogie Ramblers." Soon after, the band switched to its final name after hearing it shouted in jest from an audience. The next year, they recorded their signature song, "Mathilda." The record rose to #47 on the Billboard pop chart in early 1959 and is regarded as the unofficial anthem of the swamp pop genre. They followed up with several singles, including "Belinda," "Betty and Dupree," and the Billboard Hot 100 hit "Got You on My Mind."
Cookie and The Cupcakes is also the backing band for the classic recording "Sea of Love" by Phil Phillips, which has sold millions of copies. Many legendary musicians, including Del Shannon, Tom Waits, and Robert Plant, have covered the standard.
In 1965, Cookie moved to California and was replaced as lead singer by "Little Alfred" (or "Lil' Alfred") Babino. The group continued for several years but dispersed in the early 1970s.
Cookie reunited with the rest of the band in the1990s and played festivals with them until his death in 1997. Lil' Alfred continued to lead the band, performing at clubs in Louisiana and southeast Texas until he died in 2006. - M.B.