Down Home Live

Buckwheat Zydeco

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Down Home Live Review

by Peggy Latkovich

Stanley "Buckwheat" Dural, Jr. returned to his hometown of Lafayette, LA, to celebrate Thanksgiving 2000. The band played a three-hour-plus set of hot zydeco at El Sid O's Zydeco & Blues Club, 73 minutes of which are captured here. Everyone should have as much fun at his or her job as Buckwheat Zydeco does. Relentlessly upbeat, the band puts out a raucous, brassy wall of sound that impels the listener to dance. This is a band who will let no groove go before their time. Though the release includes a scant nine tracks, none is shorter than five and a half minutes and the longest is 13. Dural uses his piano accordion like a handheld orchestra, playing thick chords and rippling riffs. Michael Melchione's stadium rock guitar work would sound out of place if it weren't for the level of intensity maintained by the rest of the band. They bring the pace down only twice on the disc, both times with the only non-Dural-penned tunes. They stroll majestically on Fats Domino's "Walking to New Orleans." They end their set with a heartfelt rendition of the Stones' "Beast of Burden" that sounds like it was written for them. The only drawback to the release is that which plagues many live recordings -- a little too much repetitive stage patter. If listeners can get past that and the feeling of regret over missing the actual concert, Down Home Live will find a place in their party music collection.

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