Floyd Soileau

Born: Nov. 2, 1938 in Ville Platte, La.

Floyd Soileau was born in a small community near Ville Platte, Louisiana. He grew up speaking Cajun French and did not speak English until attending school.

 

In his junior year of high school, he did an afternoon Cajun music show as a part-time job with KVPI radio in Ville Platte. After graduating from Ville Platte High in 1956, he opened a small record store, Floyd's Record Shop. He discovered that although people were still interested in them, Cajun French records were no longer being produced. Floyd went into business as a producer and released his first record on the Big Mamou label by artists Austin Pitre and Milton Molitor. In 1957 Floyd launched his own label, Swallow Records.

 

The now-legendary Swallow Records has released 265 45rpm single records and 151 albums of Cajun French music, including recordings by Adam Hebert, Belton Richard, Dewey Balfa, and the Balfa Brothers, Nathan Abshire, Jambalaya Cajun Band, Paul Daigle & Cajun Gold, D.L. Menard, and many more.

 

In 1958 Soleau also started Jin Records with artists such as Clint West, Tommy McLain & the Boogie Kings, Lil' Bob & The Lollipops, Warren Storm, Skip Stewart, Rockin' Sidney, Rod Bernard, and Johnny Allan. Jin Records was a significant part of the development and popularity of what would eventually come to be known as Swamp Pop music.

 

In 1975 Soileau established another label, Maison de Soul, devoted to Creole and Zydeco music, which included such artists as Clifton Chenier, Rockin' Dopsie, Keith Frank, Chris Ardoin, Zydeco Force, Jeffery Brousard, and others. His Swallow Publications also publishes books on the Cajun French language, Cajun Dictionary, and Self-Taught Cajun, many by Rev. Jules Daigle. He also published Jeff Hannusch's "I Hear You Knockin'," the story of early New Orleans rhythm and blues.

GG Shinn - Harlem Shuffle - The Boogie Kings