The first live field recordings made of Zydeco music in the early 1960s by Chris Strachwitz, at house parties & beer joints in Houston and southwest Louisiana. The Chenier & Garlow cuts are their first commercial recordings.
1. Allons A Lafayette - McZiel & Gernger
2. Tap Dance - McZiel & Gernger
3. French Waltz - McZiel & Gernger
4. Rayne One Step & Zydeco Sont Pas Sale - Sidney Babineaux
5. Zydeco Sont Pas Sale - Albert Chevalier
6. Moman Couche' - Albert Chevalier
7. Ma Petite Fille - Albert Chevalier
8. Bernadette, Cher - Albert Chevalier
9. You Havin' A Good Time - George Alberts
10. King's Zydeco - Peter King & Hebert
11. Lafayette Zydeco - Peter King & Hebert
12. Jole Blonde - Willie Green
13. Baby Please Don't Go - Willie Green
14. Tell Me, Pretty Baby - Willie Green
15. Announcement & Green's Zydeco - Willie Green
16. They Call Me Good Rockin' - Herbert Sam
17. Clifton's Blues - Clifton Chenier
18. Louisiana Stomp - Clifton Chenier
19. Bon Ton Roulet - Clarence Garlow
“Zydeco, the hot-blooded hybrid of Cajun music, rhythm & blues, and rock'n'roll that flows mostly from Louisiana's Gulf Coast region, is as rich and distinctive as any indigenous American music form. Fueled with lively accordion riffs and snappy washboard rhythms that make your feet want to move, zydeco's recent flirtations with pop music have opened up a whole new audience and brand new possibilities for its practitioners. You can pick up any disc by, say, Buckwheat Zydeco and hear just how infectious this foot-stompin', hand-clappin' music can be when recorded under ideal studio conditions.
But real students of zydeco, or listeners who want to hear and learn about its roots, will find more value in this disc, which contains some of the first live recordings of zydeco made mostly in beer joints and house parties in Houston and southwest Louisiana. Sonically speaking, all 19 tracks are raw and rough around the edges. But that's understandable when you consider the earliest track, `Bon Ton Roulet,' by Clarence Garlow, dates back to 1949, and that most of the tracks are 1961 and 1962. (one mike ‘field’ recordings by Chris Strachwitz) The Garlow tune, plus Willie Green's `Jole Blonde' and Clifton Chenier's `Louisiana Stomp' and `Clifton's Blues,' are the most embracing tunes on Zydeco. Bare-boned deliveries beautifully reveal the earliest details of the music form. But then again, almost every tune included on the disc provides an authentic account of zydeco's beginnings, from `Allons a Lafayette' (McZiel & Gernger) to `They Call Me Good Rockin'' (Herbert Sam).
No anthology as good as this one should be without an equally superb set of liner notes to shed added light on the music and provide a critical perspective of the artists. Chris Strachwitz's mini-history of zydeco as a genre is invaluable because it accomplishes both criteria in splendid style.”
(Robert Santelli — CD Review)