Amédé Ardoin

I'm Never Comin' Back: The Roots of Zydeco

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In his relatively short career, the acknowledged progenitor of Cajun and zydeco music, Amédé Ardoin, recorded only 31 songs, spread across four sessions around 1930. Of those, 26 are presented here, from all of the sessions except the first. The sound shows itself largely as what is now called "Cajun," with only hints of what would later be turned into zydeco. The accordion is jumping with energy in the dance numbers (here's where you might notice the similarities to zydeco), and toned down for the blues. Regardless of the style, Ardoin's French vocals fly out loudly and plaintively over the top of the music. The combination of accordion and vocals is what defines his music, and it does a good job of creating a texture of emotion and music together. Additional fiddling by Dennis McGee (making these the first interracial recordings of Louisiana folk music) adds to the pot in a favorable manner. While the recording quality can occasionally be less than perfect (these were recorded between 1929-1934, after all), the historical and musical value of the songs easily make up for it. For fanatics in the fields of Louisiana's folk musics, this album makes a great item to add to the collection for a look into the past. For those just starting out in the fields, more contemporary artists might make for a smoother introduction, but they'll all point back to Ardoin eventually.

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