Gabriel Perrodin (August 17, 1937 – January 28, 2017), known as Guitar Gable, was an American Louisiana blues, swamp blues and swamp pop musician. He was best known for recording the original version of “This Should Go On Forever”, and his part in the vibrant swamp blues and pop scene in Louisiana in the 1950s and early 1960s.
He was born in Bellevue, Bossier Parish, Louisiana, United States. His father was Creole. Guitar Gable was influenced by the music of Guitar Slim, and was self-taught in playing the guitar by his mid-teens. He formed a group called the Swing Masters, and was later introduced to King Karl (born Bernard Jolivette). “Guitar Gable had been playing jobs with some little guy out of Lafayette,” Karl recalled to swamp pop historian Shane K. Bernard. “Anyhow, there was this priest, Father Millet, and one day he said, ‘I was told you was fixing to be in a band. I got a good boy. I would like for you to get together with him ’cause I don’t like the company he’s with’.” King Karl met Guitar Gable at a Swing Masters concert, and afterwards Gable left them to join King Karl, Gable’s brother Clinton “Fats” Perrodin on bass guitar, and drummer Clarence “Jockey” Etienne, to form the Musical Kings.
Introduced to the record producer J. D. “Jay” Miller, the Musical Kings eventually became the heart of Miller’s preferred studio musical ensemble. They backed musicians such as Lazy Lester, Classie Ballou, Skinny Dynamo, Bobby Charles and Slim Harpo. “I’m a King Bee” was written by Slim Harpo under his real name of James Moore. The song was recorded in March 1957 and was originally released that year as the B-side to his debut solo single, “I Got Love if You Want It”. Its popularity led to Excello Records swapping the sides over. The other musicians on the recording were Gable (guitar); Fats Perrodin (bass); and Jockey Etienne (drums).
Guitar Gable and the Musical Kings had earlier recorded their own debut single for Excello in 1956. His first track was the pacy instrumental “Congo Mombo”, which relied on the melody of “Frankie and Johnny”. The A-side of the single was “Life Problem”, which featured King Karl’s vocals. The follow-up release included the swamp pop classic, “Irene”, which later influenced Jimmy Clanton’s “Just A Dream”.
Subsequent releases followed a similar pattern with Gable’s Caribbean-laced instrumentals such as “Congo Mombo,” “Guitar Rhumbo” and “Gumbo Mombo,” pitched against rock and roll tracks including “Cool, Calm, Collected” and “Walking in the Park.” It was the blues influenced ballads including “Irene,” “Life Problem” and “This Should Go On Forever” that caused most interest. The latter track was recorded by Gable and his band in 1958, but did not find favour with Miller. A cover version was recorded by Rod Bernard, and it reached the Top 20 of the US Billboard R&B chart. Gable’s original was finally released in February 1959, but failed to match the success of Bernard’s cover.
Gable and Karl left Miller and Excello in disgust, and were reduced to issuing work on the much smaller labels of La Louisianne and Tamm into the early 1960s. Gable served in the armed forces but later continued with his own band, maintaining a following in local clubs until 1968. In the 1970s, Gable performed regularly with Lil’ Bob and the Lollipops, before he initially retired from performing in the 1980s.
In the 1990s, Guitar Gable was tempted back to the performing stage by C.C. Adcock.
Gable’s guitar work featured on Slim Harpo’s 2011 compilation album, Rocks.
Guitar Gable died in hospital at Opelousas, Louisiana, on January 28, 2017.
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