Louisiana Spice

Various Artists

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Louisiana Spice Review

by Rose of Sharon Witmer

This CD is a delight for a DJ or party host wanting to serve up a gumbo of Louisiana music. Aptly titled Louisiana Spice, the two-volume set features musical artists from a variety of genres, from R&B to zydeco. The selections are guaranteed to raise the spirits of listeners. Those so inclined will be out on the dancefloor for tunes such as "That's Enough of That Stuff," performed by New Orleans' favorite Marcia Ball, and piano legend Chuck Carbo's "Meet Me at the Station." Limited to just 32 selections, Louisiana Spice necessarily has to omit many great musicians; still, this CD includes many of the best. The incomparable piano wizard James Booker plays his "Three Keys," only to be countered by the immortal ivory tickling of Professor Longhair on "Tipitina," and Eddie Bo on "Hard Times." The scorching guitar of Snooks Eaglin rings out. The velvety voice of New Orleans' Tan Canary Johnny Adams croons "Down That Lonely Road," while the New Orleans Queen of Soul, Irma Thomas, goes gospel with "Hold Onto God's Unchanging Hand." The unique carnival street music of the Mardi Gras Indians is represented with two traditional offerings from Bo Dollis and the Wild Magnolias. The Dirty Dozen Brass Band conjures up "Mardi Gras in New Orleans." Champion Jack Dupree, long a European expatriate, extols the virtues of his "Hometown New Orleans," while Walter "Wolfman" Washington howls in "On the Prowl." Louisiana music from outside the city of New Orleans is well-represented by a number of Cajun and zydeco cuts. The artists are a veritable who's who of those genres. There are selections from the "Cajun Hank Williams" D.L. Menard; Grammy Award winners Beausoleil; Steve Riley and the Mamou Playboys; good-time accordionist Bruce Daigrepont; and the legendary fiddler Dewey Balfa. Among the greats of zydeco who contribute are Boozoo Chavis, Buckwheat Zydeco, Geno Delafose, and Beau Jocque. While no one compilation could cover the depth and breadth of the state's music, this CD is a good start for appreciating spicy Louisiana music.

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