- Released: January 28, 2002
- Label: Ace Records UK
Performers include: Nathan Abshire, Dewey Balfa, Beausoleil, Iry LeJeune, D.L. Menard, Jimmy "C" Newman, Vin Bruce, Doc Guidry, Touchet Brothers, Nolan Cormier.
Contains 24 tracks.
Liner Note Author: Jon Broven.
Arrangers: Dewey Balfa; Leroy "Happy Fats" LeBlanc; Iry LeJeune; Michael Doucet.
This is not to be confused -- and the label has only itself to blame if people understandably do get confused -- with the 1993 CD release, also on Ace, also titled Cajun Classics, and given the nearly identical subtitle "The Kings of Cajun At Their Very Best." It has an entirely different track selection, though most of the 24 songs did appear on either the 1993 release called Cajun Classics or its 1994 Ace sequel More Cajun Classics. It's not quite certain to us Herberts outside of the marketing department exactly how the public is not going to get confused by all this, and whether anyone who's bought the earlier Cajun Classics Ace comps will get much if anything out of this new configuration. Leaving such tetchy considerations aside, it's a good compilation of some of the best and most representative Cajun releases from the mid-'50s to the mid-'80s, and more diverse than some other Cajun anthologies with similar scopes, though the unrelenting good-time cheer might cause the unconverted to fidget. Dewey Balfa, D.L. Menard, Nathan Abshire, Iry Lejeune, and Beausoleil are all major Cajun artists, and all have a track or two or three on this disc, sharing space with less-renowned names. Amidst the more standard two-steps are some edgier tunes that might excite or grate, depending upon your tastes, like Nolan Cormier & the LA Aces' "Hee-Haw Breakdown," with its simulated animal snorts; the rockabilly-influenced "Flumes D'Enfer" by Austin Pitre & the Evangeline Playboys; and Vin Bruce's rendition of the perennial "Jole Blon," with very country-influenced guitars and vocals. ~ Richie Unterberger