"Allons en Louisiane" is the perfect vehicle to introduce music fans to cajun/zydeco music and to offer additional insight to the music, culture and geography of South Louisiana, the hot bed of cajun culture.
Disc 1 of the Rounder Records double CD set is a CD ROM offering sights, sounds and cultural information on South Louisiana. Included in the CD ROM is a tour map that includes key restaurants, clubs and places of interest in each town along the highways and byways of the bayou country. To learn more about the area and culture, there are numerous photos and information on the musicians, clubs and musical styles that cover the area, as well as a pictorial of Mardi Gras celebrations in Eunice, Louisiana and near Opelousas, Louisiana. For the aspiring cajun chef, the CD ROM offers cooking instructions for Crawfish Etouffe', Sauce Piquant and zydeco master, Boozoo Chavis' personal gumbo recipe. There is also a dance instruction section where wannabe cajun hoofers can learn the Traveling Two Step or the Nouveau Zydeco Running Man. Anyone who has spent time in Southern Louisiana will see some familiar sights. At the same time, people who have never been to the area will certainly have their interest sparked by what they see. It is clear that the South Louisiana natives definitely know how to party!
Disc 2 provides the listener with a variety of music from the area by some of the region's most popular traditional and contemporary performers. Songs on the CD range from the pure cajun sound of Beausoliel ("Bon Temps Rouler") and the cajun folk of Balfa Toujours ("Restez, mom et pop, restez") to the traditional zydeco of Boozoo Chavis & the Magic Sounds ("Who Stole My Monkey?") and Geno Delafose & French Rockin' Boogie ("Je va's jamais la voir encore"). The CD introduces some of the more contemporary "cutting edge" zydeco performers including Li'l Brian & The Zydeco Travelers ("H-Town Zydeco") and Chris Ardoin & Double Clutchin' ("Lake Charles Connection"). On a sadder note, the CD includes a song by the late Beau Jocque & The Zydeco Hi-Rollers ("Going To The Country"). Beau Jocque tragically passed away last September from a heart attack the morning after what turned out to be his final performance at the Mid-City Lanes Rock n Bowl in New Orleans.
The combination of music and video offered by "Allons en Louisiane" provides both the neophyte and hard core cajun/zydeco fan with something to add to their knowledge and appreciation of the people and culture of South Louisiana. If you give it a try, I am sure you will soon be shouting "E'toi"!!!
This review is copyright © 2000 by Dave "Doc" Piltz, and Blues On Stage, all rights reserved.