Dialtone Records Release
Houston's Third Ward Blues

Joe Doucet

Houston's Third Ward Blues

"By the year 2004 I presumed to believe I had met all the great African-American blues guitarists who still lived in Houston's Third Ward, a legendary hotbed of talent since the era of Lightnin' Hopkins. But one November day there, a stranger stopped his car, walked onto the vacant lot where a colleague and I were photographing and interviewing a resident musician, and softly said, "I can play that guitar you've got."

Amused by his uninvited pronouncement, I handed him the instrument and said, "OK, show us." Without the benefit of a shoulder strap or amplifier, he launched into a muted yet impressive version of "Hideaway" by Freddie King, followed by an adept romp through Clifton Chenier's "Hot Tamale Baby." Though he was eager to perform yet another tune, I stopped him, stared with astonishment into his unfamiliar face, and blurted out, "Who are you?" "I'm Joe Doucet," the wiry little man responded with a grin, then added triumphantly, "And I told you I could play that guitar." 

As this recording demonstrates, he can sing too—and not just in English but also in the Creole French dialect that is his birthright. Mixing original compositions with interpretations from the wide-ranging repertoire he first mastered years ago working in various bands (including those of the aforementioned King and Chenier), Doucet is a living embodiment of some of the key permutations of classic blues from Texas and the upper Gulf Coast.

With superb supporting highlights provided by the versatile septuagenarian Earl Gilliam on keyboards, and the soulful O.S. Grant (Gilliam's former band-mate) on saxophone, Doucet's debut disc evokes a vintage sound. Its artful rawness is grounded in part in the electric blues heritage of inner-city Houston (where Doucet has lived since 1962) and in part in the zydeco, swamp pop, and solo acoustic traditions of rural southwest Louisiana (where he was born in 1942). 

Like some anonymous passer-by on a Third Ward street, the music of Joe Doucet could easily have remained an unknown. The fact that we now have it here to enjoy, preserved on this disc, is a special treat indeed." 

—Roger Wood, Author of Down In Houston: Bayou City Blues (University of Texas Press)

Track Listing

Play clip for Got You on My Mind 1. Got You on My Mind
Play clip for I Ain’t Going Down 2. I Ain’t Going Down
Play clip for Hey Leo 3. Hey Leo
  4. Scratch My Back
  5. Recitation
  6. Bad Luck
  7. Matilda
  8. If You Love Me (Like You Say)
  9. Just a Little Bit
Play clip for Walking with Franklin 10. Walking with Franklin
  11. Bird Without a Feather
  12. I’ve Got to Find My Baby
  13. Back at the Chicken Shack
  14. Rock Me Baby


Recorded at: Sugar Hill Studio. Recording Engineered by: Josh Applebee; Mastered and Mixed at: Sounds Outrageous, Lars Goransson; Produced by: Eddie Stout; Graphic Design: Den Zelig; Photos: Keely Stout; Guitar/ Vocals: Joe Doucet; Organ/ Piano: Earl Gilliam; Sax: O.S. Grant; Drums: Jackie Gray; Bass: Fred Arceneaux