This is a full-scale analysis of Cajun fiddle styles, complete with extensive written notes as well as recorded commentary from both fiddler par excellence Balfa and his assistant Tracy Schwarz, a member of the New Lost City Ramblers. Balfa gets support from a variety of instruments in this program of Cajun staples, which Schwarz explains have been "shortened" to allow for a maximum of information. It is true there is information aplenty. Between the text and interviews, this project could certainly be used as an educational aid, if not a complete study program for those wishing to learn more about Cajun music. A better teacher couldn't be found than Balfa. He is a wonderful musician and comes across as a charming fellow, not at all overinflated and indeed a bit perplexed that there would be so much interest in his traditional music. This is a worthy project and contains much good playing, but definitely shouldn't be mistaken for a Cajun record to put on at a party. Some of the most enjoyable touches are the snippets, including commercials, from the Basile Cajun Hour radio broadcast and the track recorded at the Mamou Mardi Gras.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Eugene Chadbourne