Various Artists: Music From the Zydeco Kingdom


By Brad Engler

Yeah, it’s a party.

Music From the Zydeco Kingdom is a free for all. It jumps you out of your seat repeatedly, and rocks you into a groove a few times, too. Some of the tracks are straight outta the archives, including what is considered, (at least according to the liner notes,) to be the first zydeco recording ever, Amédé Ardoin’s “Two Step de Eunice.” The album doesn’t necessarily flow, but there are enough spectacular performances to make it worth the while of any zydeco fan, enough 12 bar tracks for a blues fan, and enough cool guitar shit and good feeling for a reggae fan to light up and kick back, if they so desire.

Lyrically, it has that certain, je ne sais what. Translated loosely, that means a whole lot of the lyrics are in French, or at least some Cajun dialect, and I don’t understand either. The vocals on the whole, even without the usually required comprehension, hold their own, and even shine a few times, as they do on C.J. Chenier and the Red Hot Louisiana Band’s “Louisiana Down Home Blues.”

Look for the track, “Hot Tamale Baby,” by Buckwheat Zydeco, and if you get a chance, go see this man in live action. I’ve been twice in the past few years, and it’s always a house-rockin’ event. I’ve heard the same about Beau Jocque and the Zydeco Hi-Rollers, and their seven-plus minute live version of “Give Him Cornbread” romps just like a live zydeco event should.

No offense to Jolly Joe Timmer, Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania’s cable access Polka King, but I would normally rather punch any squeeze-boxer in the face and take the jail time than listen to a polka, or even a waltz. This is not the case with zydeco, and if you’ve got that same accordia-dread that I usually have, Music From the Zydeco Kingdom might be a good way for you to gain some semblance of respect for an instrument that seems to constantly annoy.

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