Various Artists
"The Cosimo Matassa Story "
Proper Records

It's About Time, (12/04/07)

Cosimo Matassa was the recording engineer and owner of the legendary J&M Studios in New Orleans who was pivotal with aiding the development of the New Orleans R&B, Funk, and Soul sounds of the 1950s and '60s, as well as the '70s, '80s, and '90s.

Fats Domino and Little Richard waxed some of their best hits at Cos' studios, and monstrous producers and musicians like Allen Toussaint, Dr. John, Wardell Quezergue, Lee Allen, Deacon John, George Porter Jr., and the Nevilles created that unmistakable Crescent City groove there. It's unfathomable as to why Matassa is not nearly as well known as his contemporaries, plus, why is this man not in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame?

Cosimo got his first taste of the music business in 1945 when he founded his studio. In 1955 he moved to the more technically advanced Cosimo Recording Studio and over the next decade the non-stop hit making singles raged on, on those seven-inch forty-fives by greats like Lee Dorsey, Earl King, Art Neville, Eddie Bo, Pee Wee Crayton, Smiley Lewis, Guitar Slim, Dave Bartholomew, Lloyd Price, and even T-Bone Walker recorded there. In 1966 Cosimo moved his studios again, unfortunately this effort ended in failure as Matassa's studios went out of business near the end of the 1960s. Cosimo trudged on and got himself involved at Sea-Saint Studios with Allen Toussaint and went on to record mega-stars like the Neville Brothers, Dr. John, La Belle, and even ex-Beatle Paul McCartney in the 1990s.

There were so many hits coming out of New Orleans and this was why many other record labels were so very interested in coming to hear what had become known as the "Cosimo Sound." Many of the classic New Orleans hits are captured on this nicely packaged four-CD box set which is available as an import from the U.K. on Proper Records. So what you get here are a mega-dose of Fats Domino's hits, Little Richard's breakthrough with "Tutti Frutti," Bobby Charles' original "See You Later, Alligator," Smiley Lewis' "I Hear You Knocking," and Lloyd Price's "Lawdy Miss Clawdy," and so much more, thus making this sweet box set, The Cosimo Matassa Story, a must-have addition to your CD collection. Last but not least, it is about time that someone (specifically Proper Records) has finally documented and has given Cosimo Matassa the appropriate notoriety and due that he most definitely deserves. Amen for that!

Bob Putignano: