The Subdudes at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, April 2009
|Origin||New Orleans, Louisiana|
New Orleans R&B
|Labels||East West, High Street, Back Porch, 429|
|Associated acts||The Radiators
|Past members||Johnny Ray Allen|
The Subdudes (stylized[clarification needed] as The subdudes) are an American roots rock group from New Orleans. Their music blends folk, swamp pop, New Orleans rhythm and blues, Louisiana blues, country, cajun/zydeco, funk, soul and gospel with harmonic vocals. Their sound is notable for the band's substitution of a tambourine player for a drummer. The subdudes formed in 1987 through a music venue in New Orleans called Tipitinas.
The Subdudes often credit their songwriting to the group as a whole, although the primary songwriters are Tommy Malone (brother of The Radiators guitarist Dave Malone) and John Magnie. Current members of the band are Malone, vocals, acoustic, electric and slide guitars; Magnie, vocals, accordion, keyboards; Steve Amedée, tambourine, drums, other percussions, and vocals; Tim Cook, percussion, bass and vocals; and Jimmy Messa, bass and guitar. They are an Americana band with a rock-based sound that also shows soul, gospel, blues, cajun/zydeco, country, and other American roots music influences. Their former bass player was Johnny Ray Allen, who had not been with the band since the band's 1996 farewell tour (documented the next year on the Live at Last CD) until a brief reunion in 2014. Willie Williams also contributed to three albums: Annunciation, Primitive Streak and Live at Last as a second guitarist.
After regrouping in 2002 (first as The Dudes but then re-adopting the name 'subdudes' in March 2003), Bob Dylan's guitarist Freddy Koella helped produce Miracle Mule. The album Behind the Levee (2006) was produced by bluesman Keb' Mo' and yielded a minor hit, "Papa Dukie and the Mud People" (better known by its refrain, "Love is a Beautiful Thing"). Released in late 2007, the album Street Symphony was recorded in Nashville, Tennessee at Blackbird Studios during March 2007 and was produced by George Massenberg, who has worked with Little Feat. Released in late 2008, Live at the Ram's Head is available on CD or as a two DVD set, with one disc being the live show from "The Ram's Head" in Annapolis, Maryland, and the second DVD being Unplugged at Pleasant Plains, with interviews and live studio footage from the recording of Street Symphony in Nashville.
Most recently (2009), the band's self-produced Flower Petals was recorded in Magnie's basement studio then mixed in Miami, Florida by The Albert Brothers and Steve Alaimo. The album was a departure for the band, much more country-oriented than previous releases. The cover art was by William Matthews, a Denver, Colorado artist well known for his Old West-style paintings. Flower Petals was originally slated to be recorded as the follow-up to Miracle Mule in 2004 but was nixed by the band's record company at the time, Back Porch Records. Five years later, the band members financed the recording themselves then shopped around the completed tapes.
The Subdudes' stature as New Orleans musicians has recently been reflected by their inclusion individually and as a group in the HBO series Treme.
After a hiatus since 2011, the original line-up reunited, with Johnny Ray Allen on bass, in March 2014. Johnny Ray Allen died at age 56 on August 8, 2014. The band has continued to tour with Tim Cook on bass.
- 1989: The Subdudes (East West)
- 1991: Lucky (East West)
- 1994: Annunciation (High Street)
- 1996: Primitive Streak (High Street)
- 1997: Live at Last (High Street)
- 2004: Miracle Mule (EMI/Back Porch)
- 2006: Behind the Levee (EMI/Back Porch)
- 2007: Street Symphony (EMI/Back Porch)
- 2008: Live at the Ram's Head (Biographica)
- 2009: Flower Petals (429 Records)
- Subdudes at Allmusic.com
- from an interview with Tommy Malone on episode 196 of the Americana Music Show, published June 16th, 214
-  at subdudes.com
- Alison Fensterstock, "The subdudes' Johnny Ray Allen mourned, remembered by friends, bandmates", The Times-Picayune, August 11, 2014.
- Scott Iwasaki, "Subdudes will duck into Park City for a three-night run", Park Record, January 6, 2015.
- "The Subdudes at Allmusic". Retrieved 2012-02-20.
- "The Subdudes Discography". Retrieved 2012-02-20.