Academic journal article Southern Cultures

Savoy-Doucet Cajun Band Sam's Big Rooster

Academic journal article Southern Cultures

Savoy-Doucet Cajun Band Sam's Big Rooster

Article excerpt

Savoy-Doucet Cajun Band Sam's Big Rooster

Arhoolie, 2000 CD 481, $16.00

Cajun and zydeco fans have plenty to pick from these days as excellent CDS continue to come out. Here we're highlighting three particularly good releases, but they're only the tip of the iceberg.

It takes guts to squeeze the history of zydeco onto nineteen cuts; such a compilation is bound to frustrate hardcore fans, who will debate the inclusion and exclusion of various artists and songs. Nevertheless Michael Tisserand, whose 1998 book The Zydeco Kingdom forms an ideal complement to Music From the Zydeco Kingdom, has chosen the selections with real flair. Right from the top he begins with the granddaddy of them all, Amede Ardoin in a 1929 recording of "Two Step de Eunice," and then moves through other giants like Zydeco Force, Queen Ida, Boozoo Chavis, Buckwheat Zydeco and, of course, Clifton Chenier. Yet this isn't just a compilation of zydeco superstars and their greatest hits. Tisserand also includes lesser-known acts, some field recordings, and some releases that have never achieved wide circulation. The liner notes are very good, setting both the larger context for zydeco's development and future, and providing interesting information about each act and song featured. This is both an excellent introduction to the variety of zydeco and a great party album.

Those seeking a more intimate acquaintance with an artist who appears on Tisserand's compilation can delve into Nathan and the Zydeco Cha Chas' latest release. Nathan Williams is widely recognized as one of zydeco's most creative current practitioners and best songwriters. …

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