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Rounder's 40th
Anniversary photo
Monk Boudreaux &
the Golden Eagles
Scott Billington

Rounder Records is one of the longest-running independent record labels going, as well as one of the most successful. It began in the late '60s when three college friends -- Ken Irwin, Bill Nowlin and Marian Leighton -- altruistically sold records out of their VW hippie bus at Bluegrass festivals across the country to cover their incredibly modest and Spartan-like travel expenses. They loved the music. They are all self-made multimillionaires now. In 2009 their album featuring Robert Plant and Alison Krauss won Grammys for Best Album, Song and Duo. George Thorogood was their first big moneymaker. They were not then nor now all about only the money and success, however. They've always made it their business to record as much fine music as possible, almost as a public service as much as anything else. They're all fine, smart, savvy, and dedicated people who've survived many musical business battles and given many, many talented artists opportunities to pursue their dreams along the way. I was one.

One of my first production projects was "'Monk Boudreaux and the Golden Eagles." Rounder had a very nice series spearheaded by the great award-winning producer Scott Billington (today, the VP of Rounder!) called "Modern New Orleans Masters." He had hired me years before to do albums with J.B. Hutto, Sleepy LaBeef and a few others. At this time he was producing Johnny Adams, Irma Thomas, The Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Tuts Washington, James Booker and Buckwheat Zydeco, all the cream of the New Orleans crop. Monk was a much lesser unknown "Chief'" back then, but had a strong sense of Mardi Gras Indians' long tradition and its historical significance.

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