Down Beat - p.524.5 stars out of 5
-- "Andre Ardoin's pained, high-register singing to a lost sweetheart and his assured performances on accordion are the glowing hearts of 34 tracks..."
Record Collector (magazine) - p.825 stars out of 5
-- "[M]arvel at the authentic emotional power of two men employing nothing more than horsehair, gut, reeds and air..."
Audio Remasterer: Christopher King.
Liner Note Author: Christopher King.
Photographer: Marion Post Wolcott.
This two-CD set is the definitive compilation of the recordings of the zydeco pioneer, containing all 34 of his recordings from 1929 to 1934. Actually, the majority of them were billed to both Am‚d‚ Ardoin and fiddler Dennis McGee, though Ardoin was the solo artist for some of the tracks. Remastered from the original 78s of three collectors, there's still some unavoidable surface noise and other imperfections, but the sound is as good as it's likely to get with the technology available at the time of this 2010 release. The less specialized music fan might be better off hearing a track, or a few tracks, by Ardoin on a compilation rather than his entire output, as the similarity of the songs might prove daunting all at once. Nonetheless, the soulfulness of his voice and playing cuts through the age of the source material, with appreciative liner notes summarizing what relatively little is known about his life (as well as including the one known picture of Ardoin). ~ Richie Unterberger