LAFAYETTE, La. (Herman Fuselier, The Advertiser)- Fans and friends are mourning the loss of swamp pop legend G. G. Shinn, who died Tuesday after a long illness. A singer and trumpet player for more than 50 years, Shinn performed with the Fabulous Boogie Kings, TSC Trucking Company, Roller Coasters, Hot Damn Band and Chase.
Shinn’s wife, Sandra, reported the singer’s passing Tuesday afternoon on his Facebook page. Shinn, who lived in Monroe, would have turned 79 on Aug. 25.
Last year, Shin performed at a Festival International de Louisiane swamp pop show with Gregg Martinez and the Delta Kings, along with Johnnie Allan and TK Hulin. He was part of a “Blue-Eyed Soul Royalty in the Flesh” show at the Ponderosa Stomp, an annual celebration of classic blues, R&B, soul and rock ‘n’ roll in New Orleans.
The Ponderosa Stomp’s web site called Shinn “a preeminent vocal stylist and the ultimate blue-eyed soul singer who has the vocal chops, range and phrasing rarely found in one package.”
Longtime friend and singer Charlene Howard of Lafayette agreed, calling Shinn “larger than life.”
“He had a charisma that when he got on stage, he commanded that audience,” said Howard. “He wasn’t just a singer and entertainer. He had the ability to reach out and just grab the hearts of people. He could take them and make them feel what he was singing.”
At the age of 20, Howard had one of her first gigs at Shinn’s club, GG’s, also known as After Dark, on Johnston Street. Shinn hired her after an impromptu audition at his club.
“I sang in his band a long time. We all moved to Vegas. I was reluctant to go. But his family became my family.
“He taught me so much about professionalism, audiences and even how to hold my microphone, so it would be in front of my face. It sounds like little stuff, but it’s big stuff when you’re a singer.”
Gregg Martinez was still a teenager the first time he saw Shinn on stage. Martinez’s parents didn’t allow him to go to Signorelli’s in St. Martinville, the Southern Club in Opelousas and other popular dancehalls where Shinn performed.
But Martinez finally saw Shinn in 1975, after a gig at the After Dark.
“He went up there and sang Major Harris, 'Love Won’t Let Me Wait,’” said Martinez, who lives in Opelousas. “My mouth dropped to the floor.
“I had never heard a white man sing like that in my life. He took over the whole stage.
“He’s the most larger-than-life person I’ve ever met. I’ve met Donald Trump, Patti Labelle, the Four Tops and quite a few big stars over the years. He had that star power.”
Funeral services for Shinn are pending.
Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
- What to do if you win the Mega Millions Jackpot according to a financial advisor
- Facebook recruits EU veteran to help with tougher scrutiny
- China says ex-Internet czar on trial over corruption charges
- Australia lawyers' group: Draft cyber laws would curb rights