C.J. Chenier Step It Up
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- by C.J. Chenier ~ The Big Squeeze ~ $16.56
- Released: July 30, 2001
- Originally Released: 2001
- Label: Alligator Records
Down Beat - 11/01, p.663.5 stars out of 5 - "...He officiates with authority on squeeze box, sings with indisputable conviction and writes gladsome dancefloor stomps..."
Living Blues - 11-12/01, p.55"...Fans of zydeco's more progressive sounds will find much here to love..."
Song previews provided courtesy of iTunes
& The Red Hot Louisiana Band.
Personnel includes: C.J. Chenier (accordion).
Personnel: C.J. Chenier (vocals, accordion); Wayne "D.C." Dalcourt, Tim Betts (guitar, percussion); Pat Breaux (tenor saxophone); Marshall Cyr (trumpet); Brian Brignac (drums, percussion); Randy Carpenter (drums).
Recording information: Dockside Studios, Maurice, LA.
Photographer: Paul Natkin.
This is the son of the man who popularized zydeco, taking the music of his father and imbuing it with more of the funk and music he grew up with, pushing and exploring one of the two main roots that his father fused to become zydeco. One root is the music of the Cajuns and Creoles of Southwestern Louisiana, and the other is the root that C.J. Chenier is exploring here, the rhythm & blues/funk root. This makes sense coming from Chenier because that is the music he grew up with and was the first music he played. Make no mistake, this is still zydeco, but it owes much more to the roots music from the gulf coast of Texas and the Port Arthur region, as opposed to the Louisiana side. The music that was dominant in this area of the country was/is the blues and the driving horn sections of the rhythm & blues bands. He used to play saxophone with various bands and then joined his father's band playing sax. You can see this love of the horns is still with him as he arranged all the horns and directed the rhythm section. He is now playing his father's full-sized piano accordion, and bringing that funky bluesy energy to the music. Most importantly he has got one of those smoky voices that lends itself to the music. Plus he has a feel that many only wish for whatever the tempo of the song. It may be an upbeat dance number, or listen to the wonderful job he does on the slow "The Right to Walk Away." He displays a feel for this song that makes it a standout on this disc. Many times the slower numbers are just throwaway songs; this one is full of the passion that sells a song. Now he is writing more of his material and the songs are getting stronger. The influence of his father is strong, yet here he is continuing to make his own voice heard loud and strong. ~ Bob Gottlieb
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