Nancy Tabb Marcantel

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Louisiana Review

by Larry Belanger

Nancy Tabb Marcantel has put together an album comprised of mainly classic tunes to which she adds her own creative touch. The first on the album, "Louisiana Makes Me Smile," is an uptempo, bright original with a danceable beat. The lyrics are engaging and meaningful, and quite melodic as well. This is followed by the Roy Orbison classic, "Doux Bayou" ("Blue Bayou"), done in French, as are most of the other cover tunes on the album. "Allons En Louisiane" ("Down at the Twist and Shout") is a Mary-Chapin Carpenter cover tune that really rocks. The band is cookin' on this number, with some tight guitar licks and smoking fiddle; this is an excellent tune to cut a rug to. Tracks 22 and 23 offer English versions of these two songs. The beautiful lyrics for the traditional "Des Acadiens Errants" ("Wandering Acadians") were written by a member of the Marcantel family. The layered harmony vocals blended with the fine orchestration make this a very high-brow production. One of the favorites on the album has to be the Hank Williams classic, "Jambalaya." The fiddle and accordion solo's are pure Cajun gold and Nancy Tabb Marcantel's vocals are vibrant and energetic. The classic Christian tune "J'ai vu la lumiere" ("I Saw the Light") is also covered; although on the mellow side when compared to some versions of this song, it is still a quality showing. If one is searching for traditional Cajun music, or something in the genre of country to fill an empty space in an audio library, then this will fit. The weakest element in the album is the way that most of the songs end; they don't fade out, but cut abruptly with a dead silence as if they were taken from multiple recordings. Musically, instruments and vocals are ace and super tight. With 23 tracks and over 70 minutes of music, Nancy Tabb Marcantel has put together a fine sample of her vocal abilities, while putting a smile on the face of those who also love the great music of Louisiana.