Join 3,372 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


Huey Meaux, record producer, dead at 82
April 26, 2011 5:18 PM   Subscribe

Louisiana-born, Texas-based record producer Huey Meaux, the so-called "Crazy Cajun", has died. He was the man behind Barbara Lynn's 1962 hit You'll Lose a Good Thing. Three years later, in a move to cash in on the British Invasion, he created a faux-British rock band called "the Sir Douglas Quintet" around San Antonio-born singer-songwriter Doug Sahm, and produced their hit, She's About a Mover. Meaux also produced Tex-Mex rocker Freddy Fender's bilingual hit Before the Next Teardrop Falls as well as Fender's Wasted Days and Wasted Nights. Sadly, however, Meaux had a very ugly darker side: he was arrested not once but twice on child-sex charges, doing prison time in the late 60s, and an 11-year bid from '96 to '07. Some of the ugly details of this side of his life are detailed in this Houston Press article from 1996, shortly after his arrest, which will pretty much make your skin crawl... Well, so long Huey.
posted by flapjax at midnite (50 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite

 
Yikes.

But "She's About A Mover" is a template for how to make a booty-shaking pop song.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 5:22 PM on April 26, 2011


Jeez. Shame when such horrible humans have a hand in such great music.
posted by jonmc at 5:32 PM on April 26, 2011


Such a strange mix of honoring the dead and pissing on their grave, this post is.

But interesting, nonetheless.

And it's true... you don't have to be a good person to do good things.
posted by hippybear at 5:37 PM on April 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


"Everybody knew Huey loved pussy, especially young pussy," says an acquaintance. "Hell, I think Huey may have loved young pussy more than he loved money. And he really loved money." Yeah, a real hero.
posted by joannemullen at 5:39 PM on April 26, 2011


Such a strange mix of honoring the dead and pissing on their grave, this post is.

Pissing on his grave? What? I'm just reporting the news. Just the facts, ma'am.

Yeah, a real hero.

Sorry, I missed the part where anyone called him a "hero"!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:41 PM on April 26, 2011 [7 favorites]


( I would add that the greatness of these records has more to do with the artists talent than with Meaux's)
posted by jonmc at 5:41 PM on April 26, 2011


I'm with jonmc. Fender was a talent of magnificent proportions (and huge personal demons of his own) who would have been a success with any producer.

I am just disinclined to honor anyone, no matter what their contribution in other domains, who could do what he did to kids. For some things, you are banned from the hall of fame.
posted by fourcheesemac at 5:44 PM on April 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


(Not to say I don't appreciate the balanced post, flapjax)
posted by fourcheesemac at 5:45 PM on April 26, 2011


I'm with jonmc. Fender was a talent of magnificent proportions (and huge personal demons of his own) who would have been a success with any producer.

I'd say that about Doug Sahm & Barbara Lynn, too.
posted by jonmc at 5:46 PM on April 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


When you mention The Sir Douglas Quintet, don't sell Augie Meyers and his Vox organ short. He had a big regional hit with "Hey Baby Que Paso" around 1990. Here he is with Doug Sahm, Flaco Jiménez, and Freddy Fender (The Texas Tornados.)
posted by Daddy-O at 5:46 PM on April 26, 2011 [4 favorites]


Not trying to defend the man's proclivities toward sex with children, it's always interesting to see people say that they believe ad hominem attacks are truly valid ways to approach someone's life and record. Excellent. I'll make a note.
posted by hippybear at 5:48 PM on April 26, 2011


( I would add that the greatness of these records has more to do with the artists talent than with Meaux's)

As would I, absolutely. Nonetheless, record producers (and they come in all varieties) have historically been instrumental in, if nothing else, getting the music out there into the world, and Huey Meaux was no exception. I thought Meaux's fake-British-band idea with Doug Sahm was particularly interesting: not your everyday producer kinda thing.

I am just disinclined to honor anyone, no matter what their contribution in other domains, who could do what he did to kids.

I hear that. And I guess making a Mefi post can be seen as a kind of "honoring". I'm certainly not "honoring" Meaux, as a human being, in that sense, however. But as with convicted murderer Phil Spector (who I also made one or two Mefi posts on), I think the fact that sometimes talented and noteworthy people in music can also be, well, hideous criminals is an interesting thing, and shouldn't necessarily be, I dunno, run away from, or not acknowledged at all, by, say, not making a mefi post about such people.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:51 PM on April 26, 2011 [5 favorites]


it's always interesting to see people say that they believe ad hominem attacks are truly valid ways to approach someone's life and record.

Again, hippybear... what? Ad hominem attacks? Who are you addressing, exactly? What are you talking about?
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:52 PM on April 26, 2011 [3 favorites]


For an attack to be ad hominem, the charge has to be untrue or unrelated to the case on the other side.

Also, the target has to be a hominem.
posted by fourcheesemac at 5:53 PM on April 26, 2011 [4 favorites]


I thought Meaux's fake-British-band idea with Doug Sahm was particularly interesting: not your everyday producer kinda thing.

Actually, flap, if you comb through mid-60's 45's you'll find a lot of faux-brit stuff (not as good as "She's About a Mover" granted) but again the greatness of these sides has more to do with Doug and Augie's talent than Meaux's.
posted by jonmc at 5:53 PM on April 26, 2011


if you comb through mid-60's 45's you'll find a lot of faux-brit stuff

Links, jonmc! i want links! (If nothing else, they'll help save this thread from recrimination-land...)

but again the greatness of these sides has more to do with Doug and Augie's talent than Meaux's.

Again, agreed!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:58 PM on April 26, 2011


I'm too bushed to provide links right now, but for starters "Lies" by the Knickerbockers, and even a cursory flip through comps like Nuggets, Back from the Grave, Rubble, etc will reveal tons of guys imitating the Beatles (mainly in hopes of being chased by mobs of screaming fans, and most of them realized that imitating the Stones and Yardbirds was easier and then created some great garage rock)
posted by jonmc at 6:03 PM on April 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'd say the charge of liking sex with children is pretty much unrelated to whether the man made music people enjoy and admire and consider worthwhile.

That's sort of the definition of ad hominem, isn't it? Exactly on parallel with people declaring John Edwards' advocacy for the poor null and void because of his affair.

Anyway, that's as much as I have to say about that. It's just interesting to see how that all works here on MetaFilter.
posted by hippybear at 6:03 PM on April 26, 2011


"She's About A Mover" is a template for how to make a booty-shaking pop song.

Polka with a rock roll beat. Based on sounds they heard in TexMex Polka dance halls.
posted by stbalbach at 6:04 PM on April 26, 2011


That's sort of the definition of ad hominem, isn't it?

No. No, it's not.

Exactly on parallel with people declaring John Edwards' advocacy for the poor null and void because of his affair.

I didn't suggest anywhere, in any way, that Meaux's producerly achievements were "null and void". In case you didn't notice, links to music comprise the lion's share of this post.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:07 PM on April 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


Polka with a rock roll beat. Based on sounds they heard in TexMex Polka dance halls.

True. So? It's a great sound that gets asses in motion. Great to see it popularized, so that other asses may also move.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 6:10 PM on April 26, 2011 [3 favorites]


Any post with Freddy Fender links in it is ok in my book. Thanks flapjax.
posted by puny human at 6:12 PM on April 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


I didn't suggest anywhere

Wasn't having this discussion with you, flapjax. I was debating someone who said that someone who had done bad things completely negated their other achievements, which wasn't you because you made this post.
posted by hippybear at 6:13 PM on April 26, 2011


Both Nuggets and Nuggets II are a seemingly never-ending source of 1960's psychedelic and garage-band wonderfullness.

I didn't know much about Doug Sahm except he was the dude in the Sir Douglas Quintet, after reading your link he looks like he's an interesting fellow in his own right.
posted by marxchivist at 6:13 PM on April 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


Freddy Fender - Silver Wings
posted by puny human at 6:14 PM on April 26, 2011


I didn't know much about Doug Sahm except he was the dude in the Sir Douglas Quintet, after reading your link he looks like he's an interesting fellow in his own right.

Start digging and listening, you're in for some treats.
posted by jonmc at 6:17 PM on April 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


Not trying to defend the man's proclivities toward sex with children, it's always interesting to see people say that they believe ad hominem attacks are truly valid ways to approach someone's life and record. Excellent. I'll make a note.

I'd say the charge of liking sex with children is pretty much unrelated to whether the man made music people enjoy and admire and consider worthwhile...

Anyway, that's as much as I have to say about that. It's just interesting to see how that all works here on MetaFilter.


Wow, hippybear, is this Bizarro Metafilter, or are you drinking while posting?

flapjax_at _midnite wrote an informative, balanced post about a musician who was also a convicted sex offender, and you use that as some kind of soapbox to go after all of Metafilter?

The post, as you note yourself, is about the man's "life and record." If he had left out the charges for which Huey Meaux was convicted, arrested and did time, do you really think that somewhere in the discussion someone wouldn't have mentioned them? This is Metafilter. People do their research around here. I'm pretty sure all of that would have come up.

Buy including that history in the post in this way, flapjax made sure we got to read the actual facts of the case against the man ourselves, as well as learn about his musical contributions, and draw our own conclusions.

I think it's a fabulous post.
posted by misha at 6:22 PM on April 26, 2011 [4 favorites]


I'll need to do Freddy Fender and Charlie Pride FPPs one of these days. Two of the best musicians to play white-boy Country music weren't even white. That, and Wayne Newton is a 6'4" American Indian from Virginia, and so's Link Wray, who lost a lung in Korea.
posted by Slap*Happy at 6:26 PM on April 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


Maybe you were addressing me hippybear. I think if you're assessing someone's life at the time of their passing then the whole habitually raped children bit is fair game for comment. If you disagree about this then, hey, we disagree. I didn't imply this made the music he produced better or worse and neither did flapjax, as he's just pointed out. While I'm at it, I didn't say that you had called him a hero either, flapjax, but I felt irony might be less gratuitous at that point than several other words I could have chosen instead. If I were to balance the good and bad this guy did in his life, well, producing a pop record by the Sir Douglas Quintet doesn't really counter all the other stuff. Not at all.
posted by joannemullen at 6:27 PM on April 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


Huey Neaux Meaux.

.
posted by rdone at 6:27 PM on April 26, 2011


more doug awesomeness - Nuevo Laredo
posted by askmehow at 6:30 PM on April 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


Since people are throwing it around, here's some info on Ad Hominem.
posted by Daddy-O at 6:41 PM on April 26, 2011


Oh, and here's Wasted Days, Wasted Lives Part 1 from The 22 FEB 96 Houston Press for anyone who wants to learn more about Huey Meaux.
posted by Daddy-O at 6:45 PM on April 26, 2011


Teenybopper!
posted by telstar at 6:46 PM on April 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


Oh, and here's Wasted Days, Wasted Lives Part 1 from The 22 FEB 96 Houston Press for anyone who wants to learn more about Huey Meaux.

Thanks, Daddy-O!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:05 PM on April 26, 2011


I'm too bushed to provide links right now, but for starters "Lies" by the Knickerbockers, and even a cursory flip through comps like Nuggets, Back from the Grave, Rubble

I would also say the Buckinghams, the Beau Brummels, and the Turtles (originally the Tyrtles) had all at one point been positioned, explicitly or not, as British.
posted by oneirodynia at 7:05 PM on April 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


Doug Sahm, previously
posted by dw at 9:59 PM on April 26, 2011


I was interning at a (different) recording studio in Houston when the 1996 arrest news broke. When that happened and when he fled, it was all we talked about for days.

A friend of mine told me that she'd walked in to Sugar Hill when she was 15 and wanted to be a singer. Said if she'd turned the other way down the hall when she came in, she'd've ended up in his office and could've ended up on one of those tapes.

I never knew Huey, but I knew a lot of people who did, including a lot of performers and engineers at Sugar Hill. The Press captured what I was hearing at the time, which was "we knew he liked young women, but we didn't know it was little girls."
posted by Mad_Carew at 10:23 PM on April 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


What a fascinating read that was flapjax, thanks for the interesting post. Prompted lots of google dredging and poking around. Man, what a dark story but also lots of interesting tangents.

Yeah, it sure sounds like Huey Meaux was a classic malignant narcissist. Ugh, what an evil man. Those poor kids he molested, betrayed, corrupted, exploited, got addicted to coke, all those lives he ruined with his vile perversion, including the son he adopted that had to learn about all this, shoulder the misery of it. My loving thoughts reach out to them. I hope they find a way to heal the wounds. Should any of the survivors of Meaux's sexual abuse read this comment, I highly recommend The Betrayal Bond and Malignant Self Love, especially the part about having a narcissist parent.

The poor mothers of the kids who found out their children had been raped, exploited, then videotaped. Betrayal on top of betrayal. What a multi-dimensional nightmare. The fact that this man is dead doesn't sanctify his criminal actions in the least, nor does it mean that there should be a reverential silence about this man's horrifically abusive life.

It's good to out abuse when it happens, let the sunshine in and light up the dark with truth. This is part of the excellence of transparency as a concept in many arenas, including political.

Guess Huey's biological family came from the part of France with my very favorite mustard, Pommery Moutarde de Meaux. I'll never see that jar the same again now.

Sad to learn about Jimmy Donley too: Born A Loser

A richly interesting blog post about Donley and Meaux. Blackburn asked Meaux if he had any idea that Donley would commit suicide and Meaux replied- "Well, yea, I figured something was troublin' him after he went and made hisself a rat poison sandwich and ate it. Face turned yeller and swolled up and he had to go into the hospital".

Apparently Meaux had a hand in the cajun zydeco hit My Toot Toot - Rockin' Sidney

Interesting to learn about faux British pop rock. That great She's About a Mover video with the woman dressed in armor standing there. Ha! Funny-weird. I'm glad Trini Lopez outed the group as faux Brit too. Can't help thinking being faux Brit must have been odd for a Texan.

Fascinating reading about hustler Meaux's hand in "swamp pop". Had to read up on that too: Swamp pop: Cajun and Creole rhythm and blues. Fats Domino - Before I Grow Too Old. More about swamp pop. Omg, that swamp pop! Amos Moses - Jerry Reed | Legends of the Swamp Pop Era Cookie and the Cupcakes.

Huh, the swamp pop era had legends. The world is amazing.
posted by nickyskye at 11:04 PM on April 26, 2011 [4 favorites]


My girlfriend and I bonded deeply over a Cookie & His Cupcakes song and collecting swamp pop records. We slow dance a lot.
posted by bonefish at 12:54 AM on April 27, 2011


I'll need to do Freddy Fender and Charlie Pride FPPs one of these days. Two of the best musicians to play white-boy Country music weren't even whit

Ain't nothing white about country music. It's one of many genres in the blues tradition. It's fantastically popular in Africa and the Caribbean (ever been to St. Lucia? It's their national music.) And it is the product of contributions of musicians of all colors reaching back more than a century.

But if you think Fender and Pride were good, wait til you hear Stoney Edwards.
posted by fourcheesemac at 4:41 AM on April 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


Stoney Edwards -- "Blackbird" (writer: Chip Taylor, 1976, charted at #41, caution, SLYT and contains the "n" word in a meaningful context).
posted by fourcheesemac at 4:43 AM on April 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


That's sort of the definition of ad hominem, isn't it?

No, not really. The personal criticism has to be irrelevant to the point debated to be ad hominem. When the point debated is the overall contribution made during a man's lifetime, and how and with what cautions we should acknowledge his passing in a public forum (where everyone is admitting the man had an exceptional influence in his profession) it seems to me being a rapist of children is a disqualification for full honors on the occasion of your passing.

I also second the many appreciations of FJM's post itself. I love this music more than almost any other music ever made. Texas/Gulf Coast pop of the 1960s-70s is my thing. I know every note on these records, have played most of these songs myself hundreds of times, and have actually met some of the musicians mentioned above (yeah, the famous ones).

But Meaux was a pedophile rapist. I can appreciate his talent without honoring his life.
posted by fourcheesemac at 4:52 AM on April 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


I never heard of "swamp pop" before. Just knowing that a type of music called that exists makes me happy.
posted by marxchivist at 5:02 AM on April 27, 2011


I never heard of "swamp pop" before.

marxchivist, wait'll you hear "pomp swap", that's the real shit. They leave out the "circumstance".
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:07 AM on April 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


Look what I can dig out of my local library, Pure Swamp Pop Gold. Looking forward to finding some gems.
posted by readery at 5:32 AM on April 27, 2011


An artful con man, Meaux would mockingly warn his acts, "I wouldn't sign that if I were you" at the contract table. Another time he said, "I like to keep my artists in the dark so their stars shine brighter."

As he sat in his office at Gold Star Studios, Meaux was momentarily silent as he listened to the questions from the other end of the line. Soon, says Gladson, Meaux resumed talking, telling the musician that the purpose of paragraph 19 was so that there would be no blank space between paragraphs 18 and 20.

posted by StickyCarpet at 5:53 AM on April 27, 2011


Meaux resumed talking, telling the musician that the purpose of paragraph 19 was so that there would be no blank space between paragraphs 18 and 20.

Don't you just love a good artist's contract negotiation?
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:05 AM on April 27, 2011


Random factoid: The journalist who wrote the Houston Press article, Steve McVicker, went on to write the book that was the basis for the film I Love You Phillip Morris.
posted by *s at 9:59 AM on April 27, 2011


I wonder what happened to Ben, his adopted son.
posted by aquanaut at 4:40 PM on April 27, 2011


« Older Dave Lowery, lead singer and guitarist in Camper V...  |  Despite the federal election f... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments