Boozoo Chavis

Down Home on Dog Hill

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Zydeco legend Boozoo Chavis may have been at the peak of his musical form when this album was recorded in early 2001, but sadly he was at the end of his physical reserves; the heart problems that had plagued him for several years caught up with him shortly after this album was recorded, and he died on May 5, 2001. But there is no sign of ailing health in the performances captured here. Whether delivering a familiar Chavis original like "Johnnie Billy Goat," a traditional instrumental like "Henry Martin Two Step," or surprise covers (which, on this album, include a slow-burning version of Arthur Crudup's "Rock Me Mama" and a gently rollicking rendition of "The Twist"), Chavis sounds absolutely in control of both his technique and his band. And as inspiring as Chavis himself is, that band is half the attraction on this wonderful album: slide guitarist Sonny Landreth is sitting in for the ailing Carlton "Guitar" Thomas, and David Greely is sitting in on fiddle, but bassist Classie Ballou, who self-effacingly guides every groove from his place at the back of the mix, is the band's real secret weapon. Overall, this album is a worthy legacy for a sorely missed star of Lousiana music.

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