Steve Riley & the Mamou Playboys

La Toussaint

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A thoroughly exhilarating set of contemporary zydeco music, not as rocked out as (former Riley producer) Zachary Richard, but close. Riley and company, who perform everything in French, run through a set of obscure covers and group originals with drive and stylistic variety. There are two-steps and waltzes galore, the occasional all acoustic number ("Deux Valses a Wayne Perry"), plus up-tempo stompers with inventive guitar work that verge on rockabilly ("New Orleans Beat," "J'ai Reveille a Ce Matin"). Frontman Riley holds it all together with his appealingly ragged but right singing style; on the country-ish "La Valse D'Amitie," he actually sounds for all the world like a zydeco Gram Parsons.

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