Clifton Sings the Blues

Clifton Chenier

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Clifton Sings the Blues Review

by Al Campbell

Thanks to the Arhoolie label, fans of zydeco legend Clifton Chenier have another chance to hear Clifton Sings the Blues. Recorded in Houston on April 1, 1969, Chenier's accordion and vocal prowess were more relaxed on these tracks than most zydeco fans would expect. The set features sturdy assistance from Cleveland Chenier, Clifton's brother, on rub-board, drummer Robert Peter, bassist Joe Morris, and guitarist Cleveland Keyes, and Chenier's love of laid-back Texas blues is evident on tracks like "Ain't No Need of Cryin' (Every Day Is the Same)," "Brown Skinned Woman," and "Trouble in Mind." While the pace of these tunes flows between slow to midtempo shuffles, the three exceptions, "Rosemary," "Me and My Chauffeur Blues," and "Paper in My Shoe," are first rate uptempo dance tracks. The only regrettable aspect of the 2004 reissue of Clifton Sings the Blues is the omission of seven bonus tracks from 1977 that were included on the 1987 version.

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