Swamp Pop legend Johnnie Allan has appeared on over 30 LPs, 25 CDs and 58 singles for fans around the world.
Allan, real name John Allen Guillot, was born March 10, 1938, in Rayne, Louisiana. At age six, he got his first guitar and learned to play from his mother. By age 13, he was playing with Walter Mouton & the Scott Playboys, a traditional Cajun band. Two years later, he switched to Lawrence Walker & the Wandering Aces, another Cajun band. While still in high school, he played six to eight gigs a week. In 1956, he saw Elvis Presley perform live on the Louisiana Hayride music program, and shortly afterward, Allan began to play rock & roll music. In 1958, he left Walker to form the Krazy Kats. Allan and his bandmates changed their style to what would later become known as "Swamp Pop," a combination of Cajun melodies, country, rock and roll, and blues. That same year he recorded "Lonely Days, Lonely Nights" for JIN Records of Ville Platte, Louisiana with Floyd Soileau and "Letter of Love" the following year. During this time, Allan attended the University of Southern Louisiana in Lafayette, graduating with a degree in Education. Between 1967 and 1969, Johnnie Allan focused on his master's degree.
In the early 1970s, he recorded many notable swamp pop tunes. Six weeks into Allan's first teaching job, he was called into active duty in the National Guard during the Berlin Crisis. When he returned, he discovered that his band's song, "Your Picture," was on the radio. Through the '70s, Allan worked as a school administrator by day and performer by night. He became the premier authority on Cajun music and culture, writing several books on the subject, and has been honored by the Cajun French Music Association. A perennial favorite of Swamp Pop fans globally, Allan has performed in Europe many times. - M.B.