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Beausoleil With Michael Doucet - Parlez-Nous A Boire & More

CAT. #: 322


Price: $15.00

CD 322

Michael Doucet - fiddle & vocals; David Doucet - guitar; Errol Verret - accordion; Billy Ware - triangle, spoons, etc.; Tommy Alesi - drums; Robert Vignaud - bass; and Tommy Comeaux - mandolin.

This is Beausoleil's favorite album and includes all of ARH LP 5034 recorded in 1984, some cuts from LP 5025 plus 2 previously unissued songs from 1981.

1. Le Jig Francais
2. Voyage Au Mariage
3. Courtableu
4. La Rue Canal
5. Paquet D'epingles
6. Valse De Grand Meche
7. Mercredi Soir Passe
8. Sue
9. Reels Cadien
10. Chanson D'acadie
11. Pierrot Grouillette Et Mamselle Josette
12. Ma Douce Amie
13. Parlez-Nous A Boire
14. Your Mama Threw Me Out
15. Robin's Two Step
16. Acadian Blues
17. Midland Two Step
18. Le Bozo Two Step

REVIEW

“A large slice of the credit for making Cajun music trendy outside the Louisiana bayous undoubtedly belongs to Beausoleil. Over the last decade or so they've succeeded in adapting traditional music to the demands of modernity without selling its soulno mean featlargely because leader Mike Doucet has worked with many of the old-style musicians and knows their roots.

`Parlez-Nous A Boire' is a reissue of Arhoolie LP 5034 with a couple of outtakes from that session and three from the band's first album to bring up the magic 60 minutes. Beausoleil then had no bass player, but apart from Errol Verret on accordeon (since replaced by Jimmy Breaux), the 1984 outfit was much the same as today's. An essentially traditional set, with forays into blues and jazz, this includes several unusual ballads updated in the modern Cajun style, and to my mind has the edge over (CD) `Cajun Conja' for good tunes, even if it doesn't rock as hard. Thoroughly recommended anyway.”

(Brian Peters — Folk Roots)

REVIEW of ORIGINAL LP

“Beausoleil is the name of the all acoustic cajun band led by fiddler and vocalist Michael Doucet, a remarkably good player and diligent researcher who draws on the traditional musicians of his culture for his material and inspiration. This is his starting point for a revivalist recreation of cajun folk culture though his sound is more than that of a mere copyist. By drawing on sources as diverse as jazz, rock, bluegrass and European folk, his band stand on one of the frontiers of modern cajun music. While others push towards R&B, Country, Caribbean or Soul, Beausoleil stay firmly rooted in folk-cajun, combining a concern with preserving the rich legacy of cajun songs often neglected by other bands with a desire to bring the tradition up to date whilst, at the same time, preserving its musical integrity.

The band consists of Doucet on fiddle and vocals, brother David on guitar and vocals, Errol Verret on single row accordion, Billy Ware on triangle and spoons, and Tommy Alesi on drums. All are excellent players indeed, sounding much clearer and more accomplished, though perhaps less relaxed and comfortable, than on their previous Arhoolie album `Dit Beausoleil' (ARH 5025). They have an exciting, driving, sound on the two-steps with David Doucet's impressive guitar work laying down a very individual rhythm, and very sympathetic drumming from Tommy Alesi. Errol Verret's accordion comes through well on these numbers, and as ever, Mike's fiddle playing a tantalizing mixture of styles with his own personal stamp. He has a way of building up tension in a tune before the band all go tearing away, which must send the dancers crazy on the bayou. Billy Ware must not be ignored either; his triangle playing adds that traditional touch and is always solid, carrying the beat with the drums while the rest of the band skate cheekily around the rhythm.

It is on the two-steps that the band excels. Learnt directly from the masters like Nathan Abshire, The Balfa Brothers, and Wallace Reed, they really tear it up on numbers like `Le Gig Francais,' `Courtableau,' and `Parlez Nous a Boire.' It is also good to hear songs which would probably otherwise remain unrecorded like `Paquet d'epingles,' `Pierrot Groullette,' and `Ma Douce Amie,' all from the collection of John and Alan Lomax recorded back in 1934 for the Library of Congress. It's a pity that the band do not appear so strong on these numbers; European inferences seem to prevail and I am reminded of Alan Stivell. OK this will obviously appeal to some but for me the hurt and loneliness have somehow been shed in the folk process. Other highlights are `My True Love,' a beautiful tune with a lazy lilting accordeon, `Valse de Grande Meche' and `La Rue Canal,' the later from an old '78 by Moise Robin with new lyrics by Mike Doucet.

Another album then from Beausoleil that will help to establish them at the top of their particular field. It comes equipped with a handsome gate fold sleeve and detailed lyrics in French and English. I would recommend it particularly to cajun fans coming to the music from the folk scene, whilst those interested in rock-based cajun in its various forms will probably be as well looking elsewhere unless their interest is in broadening their horizons.”

(Chris Hall — Folk Roots)