Johnny Jano, King of Louisiana Rockabilly
Johnny Jano

Johnny Jano was one of the little-known early rockabily artists whom Jay Miller brought into his small Crowley, Louisiana studio in the 1950's. Born Johnny Janot - he adopted the more convenient Jano for recording purposes - in Eunice, Louisiana he started in radio at an early age at his hometown's Keun featuring vocal and guitar. He also played over KSIG Crowley and became a DJ at Keun. By the time he recorded for Jay Miller he was also jockeying on KLOU in Lake Charles. He commenced recording with Eddie Shuler for Goldband in Lake Charles and is stayed there into the 70s. He became a radio salesman, working on KLVI in Beaumont, Texas; one of the most powerful stations covering the entire Gulf Coast. He also had a column in a local newspaper - Johnny's Jambalaya - and played local clubs at weekends, varying from a one-man show, using an electric drummer and alternating on piano and guitar, while also playing harmonica, to a four-piece group.

Johnny only made a handful of tapes for Jay Miller but two sides sent to Excello Records in Nashville were released. Apparently they didn't sell too well 'cause Jay never worked up another full session. Many tracks later released on various revival albums are "warm-up" items featuring a small, improvised studio backing; often Jay himself. A collection of 12 tracks has been issued on Flyright in 1977. Some of these tracks are different versions of the same song but in all cases Flyright claims that the titles are as they appeared on the original tape-boxes. Some songs were incomplete and others featured Jay's novel "slap-back" technique for a reverb effect.

On "Rocking And Rolling" and "I'd Make A Good Man For You" (both on the Flyright LP) the nucleus of the band is Guitar Gable's, although one of Jay's regular bass players, Rufus Thibodeaux was also present at the session. These are the two titles issued on Excello, although the former track reverted to its original title for issue, "Havin'A Whole Lot Of Fun." Johnny jano is one of the finest early rockabilly artists from Louisiana.

Bruce Bastin, 1977