Evangeline Made: A Tribute to Cajun Music

Various Artists

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Evangeline Made: A Tribute to Cajun Music Review

by Richie Unterberger

Getting together a bunch of well-known musicians known for rock, folk, and country rather than straight ethnic music to perform on a compilation tribute album to a strand of ethnic music is usually a bad idea. Evangeline Made, refreshingly, turns out to have been a good idea. That's probably due at least in part to it being produced by a respected Cajun musician and folklorist, Ann Savoy, who also participates in the recording as well, dueting with Linda Ronstadt on two songs. The production is understated and sympathetic, as it's neither hardcore Cajun music nor Cajun music that's been bleached into pop. John Fogerty, Linda Thompson, Richard Thompson, David Johansen, Maria McKee, Nick Lowe, and Rodney Crowell are among the quite credible and respectful roster of artists who interpret a song or two, every single one of which is sung in French (even though some of the artists don't speak the language). Cajun influence has permeated Fogerty's vocals for so long that he sounds quite natural on "Diggy Liggy Lo," and the more country-oriented artists fall into natural, loping grooves. Purists might find this something of a sellout, a dilution of the real and rawer thing for ears unaccustomed to the real deal. Perhaps they have viable points, but here's a fact which might be hard for them to face: this simply has much more variety, skillful singing, and thoughtful, pleasing production than most Cajun records do, without compromising the spirit of the music.

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