Monsoons and horizontal rain didn’t stop swamp pop hero Warren Storm, when he, Willie Tee and Cypress played the Sheraton New Orleans Fais-Do-Di Stage Saturday afternoon at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival presented by Shell.
Storm still has the voice and jet-black hair he had as a young singer in the late ‘50s and early ‘60s, and he sang Larry Williams’ R&B classic “Slow Down” like he was living and loving its every lascivious thought.
Swamp pop has been described as Fats Domino meets the fais do do, so it’s closer to the early days of rock ‘n’ roll than the raw, distorted sound the term evokes.
That focus invites Cypress to make good and corny choices, and they made both.
“The Twist” is too familiar to feel fresh again, no matter how well sung it is, so it was as flat as “Slow Down” was exhilarating.
As the rain lightened, Cypress made the dubious decision to stick to their set list and the scheduled waltzes sung by Tee that would have been welcome relief for dancers on a hot afternoon.
For a crowd coming out of hiding, there was little entice them to stop and watch.
The band is at its strongest with Storm singing and Tee on sax. That lineup can make 50-year -old songs sound fresh. When the focus leaves Storm, Cypress is a good cover band.