Beausoleil / Michael Doucet

Parlez-Nous a Boire

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Vocalist and fiddler extraordinaire Michael Doucet's group Beausoleil has long been one of the best and best-known performers of Louisiana roots music. The group draws on Cajun (a hybrid of American country and traditional French folk songs) and zydeco (a hybrid of Cajun and R&B) with the respect of traditionalists but with enough vigor and inventiveness to make the music jump to life. Though some Beausoleil releases experiment with modernizing the music, adding electric instruments and contemporary production flourishes, Parlez-Nous a Boire sticks close to the source. Ballads like "Mercredi Soir Passe" and two-steps such as "Sue" and "La Rue Canal," sweetened by lilting accordion and fiddle melodies, evoke an age-old musical tradition of acoustic back-porch music-making. Drums, triangle, and spoons add percussive texture to the more uptempo reels and jigs, but the predominant mood of the album is subdued (especially in comparison to the band's rave-up party discs such as Bayou Cadillac). [Later versions include bonus cuts from the same sessions and additional tracks from Beausoleil's first Arhoolie album, making this a fine collection of traditional folk music.]

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