Cajun and Zydeco – the dance music of South Louisiana – comes alive in this classic collection featuring some of the finest exponents of both styles. Full of infectious rhythms and impassioned playing, here are 19 tracks to get you off your seat.
Cajun and Zydeco music are two of the most thriving regional styles in the United States. Driven on by the accordion and violin, both Cajun and Zydeco music have enjoyed a recent renaissance thanks to many of the artists featured on this Rough Guide.
The collection starts with a bang, and the legendary accordion-playing of the ‘King of Zydeco’ Clifton Chenier. He single-handedly transformed the old-style music into the bluesy and rock-based zydeco led by the accordion and backed by heavy drums, guitar, electric bass and often brass. Keeping the tempo high is Buckwheat Zydeco today’s most successful zydeco group with a strong soul and R & B influence.
Following the intricate Cajun guitar-playing of David Doucet and the country-influenced Jimmy C Newman, the release introduces two of the finest groups of the genres. John Delafose and the Eunice Playboys represent highly rhythmic zydeco with an Afro-Caribbean flavour, while Beausoleil are one of the foremost progressive Cajun bands featuring Michael Doucet’s fiddling and David Doucet’s guitar playing.
Eddie LeJeune’s soulful accordion-playing precedes twotracks featuring the talents of Michael Doucet. Firstly a solo recording and then a piece with the excellent Marc Savoy and his wife Ann Savoy on guitar. The collection continues with Cajun stars Bruce Daigrepont, Wallace ‘Cheese’ Read and the great accordionist Nathan Abshire, as well as zydeco luminaries Nathan and the Zydeco Cha Chas and Steve Riley and the Mamou Playboys. The Rough Guide concludes with the country tinged sounds of Jo-El Sonnierb and the ‘Cajun Hank Williams’ D L Menard.