Zydeco: The Essential Collection
by Mark E. Gallo
Review date: March 2003
"Keeping the Blues Alive Award"|
Achievement for Blues on the Internet
Presented by The Blues Foundation
In the easiest terms, one can think of Zydeco as Cajun infused with the blues. The accordion is still the centerpiece instrument, though fiddles are replaced in many instances by the rubboards. As Nathan and the Zydeco Cha Chas demonstrate on their opening "Let's Go," horns and a funky backbeat move the music in a direction entirely different from the French home base. There are a few players who drift back and forth across the border, of course. Geno Delafose and French Rockin' Boogie, Steve Riley and the Mamou Playboys, and Bruce Daigrepont make appearances on this, as well as on the Cajun collection. If you're looking for something that separates the two musics, look no further than the rockin' Buckwheat Zydeco. There's still no one better. His 1983 anthem "Zydeco Boogaloo" threatens to blow all the buttons of his accordion. His closing "Hot Tamale Baby" is more of the same. Boozoo Chavis and the Magic Sounds is a name that oughta grab a few memories, too. His "Lula Lula Don't You Go To Bingo" has one foot in the tradition and the other in the rhythm and blues prominent in New Orleans in the 60s. The great Beau Jocque & the Zydeco High Rollers offer a deep blues on "I'm On The Wonder," a blues with that "Somebody Loan Me A Dime" kind of groove. Then they kick it lively for "Give Him Cornbread." The soulful Lynn August and the Hot August Nights do "I'm A Hog For You," and Li'l Brian and the Zydeco Travelers check in with the way funky "Bad Time Woman."
Like the Cajun collection, this covers the 1980s through 2000 and offers a fine sampler of not only the label's, but the genre's best. Highly recommended.
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