Picks and Pans Review: Your Mama Don't Know

updated 11/11/1991 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 11/11/1991 AT 01:00 AM EST

Nathan and the Zydeco Cha Chas

Will the next king of zydeco please step forward?

About 40 years ago. Clifton Chenier mixed rock and roll with the country dance music of Louisiana's black Creoles and became known as the king of zydeco. Before he died in 1987, he had spawned such worthy successors as Rockin' Dopsie (the self-proclaimed crown prince of zydeco) and Stanley "Buckwheat zydeco" Dural, whose pulsating accordion and gutsy vocals lent lip-smacking local flavor to the film The Big Easy.

While Dopsie and Buckwheat are still rattling the dance-hall floorboards, a new contender has arisen. He is 27-year-old Nathan Williams, a Buckwheat protégé with a hot and funk• accordion style and a throaty voice somewhere between Bo Diddley and Van Morrison gone South. A native of southern Louisiana, Nathan developed a following playing at El Sid O's, his brother's dance hall in Lafayette. Since scoring a local hit single, "Steady Rock," in 1989, he and the Cha Chas have been cha-cha-ing all around the country.

Nathan has added his own soul touches to the zydeco idiom, and his band is tight and hard-driving. While he lacks Chenier's sheer blues authority, Nathan's new album can infect you with a boogie-woogie flu you won't want to kick. If he isn't the next king just yet, he's no pretender. (Rounder)

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