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Blues On Stage
The Blues Foundation's 1999 "Keeping the Blues Alive Award"
Minnesota Blues Hall of Fame 2009 "Supportive of the Blues"
(Bayou Vista Records No cat#)
Review Date: Oct 2009
by Gordon Baxter
Lafayette, LA's Bluerunners were formed in 1987, but burst into the public limelight in 1991 with the release of their first album, which garnered favorable comparisons with Los Lobos. Fourteen years later, after several personnel changes, the Zydeco-based band show they are still hot with the release of their fifth album, "Honey Slides," the first on their own label.
The album sneaks up on you as "Working Man's Zydeco" fades up and shows that these snap beans certainly are not salty. Although this is straight Zydeco, the band often use Zydeco or Cajun as the backdrop for their own roots music which incorporates blues, rock, and country influences as well. Whilst this may sound a rather eclectic mix, it is unique, and very compelling. The second track, "The Gravedigger," provides a case in point, with its more rock-based groove, despite the accordion and rub-board being very much in evidence. An excellent reading of Canray Fontenot's "Coulee Rodair" makes the case for the Cajun influence, before "Ghost of a Girl" weighs in for the more countrified side of things.
Pick of the tracks is probably "Mardi Gras Jig" which is a cracking dance tune that will have you shuffling around in your seat, if it fails to get you on your feet. Also, do not be fooled by the "Jig" part of the song title, this is not your typical Irish type of jig. The only downside is that it lasts less than a couple of minutes. There are plenty more memorable moments elsewhere, too, before "Big Head" brings things to a nicely relaxed close.
The music on "Honey Slides" will most obviously appeal to those who like Zydeco and Cajun music. Those who like Los Lobos' approach will also find much to admire. More generally anyone with an appreciation of American roots music should find the Bluerunners very much to their taste. "Honey Slides" is 50-plus minutes of first rate entertainment.
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