While some of today’s zydeco sounds not far removed from hip hop and rap, it is a joy to find artists who music is still inspired and shaped by the creole music’s roots and traditions. Not to say that they simply recreate old recordings, but rather they bring their youth and passion to the more traditionally oriented songs perhaps, but they play with a zest that makes the music sound as fresh as any ‘contemporary’ zydeco.
One such artist is Jeffery Broussard, whose late father Delton led the Lawtell Playboys. Broussard and his band, The Creole Cowboys, have a terrific new release on Maison de Soul, Return of the Creole, that reaches back into zydeco roots for a throughly entertaining and lively recording. Broussard is quite an accordion player, playing the button or diatonic accordion while supported a solid backing band that includes Classie Ballou Jr. on bass.
The recording has quite a varied repertoire with interpretations of songs associated with Clifton Chenier and Boozoo Chavis, cajun classics and originals including one instrumental on which he plays fiddle. The set opens with a nice take on a Clifton Chenier waltz, Tante Nana, taken at a nice tempo and sung wonderfully. It is followed by a spicy rendition of Allons a Lafayette, with a solid creole rhythm replacing a cajun band’s less syncopated attack. Baton Rouge bluesman, Tabby Thomas is the source of the bluesy zydeco shuffle I Love Big Fat Women, as he celebrates the meat shaking on their bones.
The title track is an instrumental old-style waltz that morphs into a hot two-step whose melody evokes Clifton Chenier’s Zydeco Cha Cha. Another original, the mid-tempo lament, Tu Connaitre Ça Fait Mal (Oh You Know It Hurt), follows after which a lovely instrumental Pinky’s Heavenly Waltz, follows with some nice guitar from Scott Ardoin. A lively Boozoo Chavis rocker Prier Pour Moi (Pray For Me), is followed by a feature for Broussard’s old-fashioned sounding zydeco fiddle on Canray Fontenot’s Old Carpenter’s Waltz.
Madeleine is a lively updating of Adam Hebert’s cajun recording and followed by covers of Boozoo Chavis and Buckwheat Zydeco (Hard to Stop is a nice rocker) before his driving original, Ole Blue, an adaptation of Nathan Abshire’s Pinegrove Blues. The disc closes on a bluesy note as he provides a strong zydeco twist on Sam Cooke’s Bring it On Home to Me. It is a solid end of the 15 strong performances contained here. I don’t believe I have had the pleasure of seeing Jeffery Broussard perform, but this is a terrific recording to appeal to fans of zydeco everywhere. His website is http://www.jefferybroussard.com/.
This was a purchase. Image of Jeffery Broussard courtesy of his website.