Picks and Pans Review: Zydeco on the Bayou
Not long ago, zydeco music was virtually unknown outside the juke joints and dance halls of Louisiana's bayou country. Today, thanks to the efforts of such groups as this one, the accordion-and washboard-driven music has gained an enthusiastic audience.
Simien is one of the genre's wilder performers onstage, but much of his debut album is squandered on heavy-handed pop songs. "I'll Do It All Over Again" and "I'll Say So Long" show this band's bent for maudlin, melodramatic lyrics, while "Back in My Baby's Arms" gets smothered in an excess of guitar pyrotechnics. More successful is the haunting cover of "Will the Circle Be Unbroken." done here in tribute to the late zydeco king Clifton Chenier.
The best news is that there's a healthy dose of the band's stock-in-trade—down-home, zydeco boogie played at breakneck speed. "Zydeco Zambada" and "Moi Su Pas Tracasser (I Am Not Worried)" will give newcomers to this irresistible dance music a good idea of why the Playboys have created such a stir. (Restless)—Lisa Shea