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James Floyd Soileau Edit Profile

Music company executive

James Floyd Soileau, music company executive. Named to Louisiana Hall of Fame, 1992; recipient Contribution to Cajun Music award Cajun French Music Association 1991, Acadiana Lifetime Achievement award Festival Internationale de Louisiana, 1994; named Louisiana Honorary Economic Developer ambassador State of Louisiana, 1985.

Background

Soileau was born in Faubourg, a small community between Ville Platte and Washington, Louisiana. He grew up speaking Cajun French and did not speak English until attending school at the age of 6 years.

Education

Graduated from high school, Ville Platte, Louisiana.

Career

In his junior year of high school, he did an afternoon Cajun music show as a part-time job with KVPI radio in Ville Platte. After graduating from Ville Platte High in 1956, he opened a small record store, Floyd's Record Shop and discovered that although people were still interested in them, Cajun French records were no longer being produced. In 1957 Lawrence Walker and Aldus Roger helped Floyd launch his own label, Swallow Records.

Over the past 40 years, Swallow Records has released 265 45rpm single records and 151 albums of Cajun French music, including recordings by Adam Hebert, Belton Richard, Dewey Balfa and the Balfa Brothers, Nathan Abshire, Jambalaya Cajun Band, Paul Daigle & Cajun Gold, D.L. Menard, and many more, plus recordings by the Cajun French story teller, Marion Marcotte. 1958 saw the beginning of Jin Records with artists such as Clint West, Tommy McLain & the Boogie Kings, Lil' Bob & The Lollipops, Warren Storm, Skip Stewart, Rockin' Sidney, Rod Bernard, Johnny Allan and others making significant contributions to what was the, then, controversial swamp pop music. In 1975 he established his Maison de Soulrecord label,devoted to Creole and Zydeco music, including such artists as Clifton Chenier, Rockin' Dopsie, Keith Frank, Chris Ardoin, Zydeco Force, Jeffery Brousard, and others.

He has always encouraged his artists to compose new songs to record, and his Flat Town Music Company now publishes over 2800 songs, a majority of which are Cajun, swamp pop, and zydeco songs. His Swallow Publications now publishes two books on the Cajun French language, Cajun Dictionary and Cajun Self-taught, both by Rev. Jules Daigle, and Jeff Hannusch's "I Hear You Knockin'", the storyof early New Orleans rhythm and blues.

He operated Swallow Recording Studios in VillePlatte for over 15 years,and sold his last studio in 1975 to Ronnie Kole, who moved the studio to Slidell. That year he opened and vinyl record pressing plant and printing company for Lp jackets and labels, the only such facility in Louisiana. The plant closed in 1994.

Eventually, the store would close but the online mail order business still continues. Floyd was inducted into the Acadian Museum in Louisiana on October 19, 2002.

Works

  • Other Work

    • Producer, public over 400 recordings.

Membership

Director Sacred Heart School Foundation, Ville Platte, since 1995. Member Evangeline County Tourism Commission, Villa Platte, 1994-1995. Member National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, National Publishers Association, Association for Indiana Music, Broadcast Music, Inc.

(songwriter, public).

Interests

  • Other Interests

    Fishing, hunting, rv traveling.

Connections

Married Jinver Ortego Soileau, July 11, 1959. Children: Catherine Soileau Sylvester, Connie Soileau Fontenot, Cindy Soileau Habetz, Christopher.

father:
Henry Hildevert Soileau

mother:
Alida (Roberie) Soileau

spouse:
Jinver Ortego Soileau

children:
Catherine Soileau Sylvester Soileau

Connie Soileau Fontenot Soileau

Cindy Soileau Habetz Soileau

Christopher Soileau