Turning Cajun and zydeco musicians loose on rock music was a novel idea for the first En Francais. The novelty has worn off, but the thrill these melded melodies produces is no less welcome on En Francais 2.
Featuring a baker’s dozen tracks that range in interpretation from grungy and guttural to quaintly traditional, En Francais 2 is full of surprises. Some of the groups performing on the record — The Babineaux Sisters, Isle Deniére, The Brasseurs — are less well known in Lafayette clubs but bring, like Michael Doucet, Al Berard, Geno Delafose and Terrance Simien, an authenticity, intensity and high level of musicianship to the production.
Produced by Karlos Knott, Louis Michot and Todd Mouton, En Francais 2’s sound is rich and earth-toned. There is so much serendipity, so much combustible happenstance magic in these tracks, the conceit — taking popular rock and, in a few cases, R’n’B songs and recording them Cajun- and zydeco-style — evaporates in the sheer joy of the experience. And then there’s track 8, Stevie Wonder’s “Superstition” performed by the Soul Express Brass Band featuring zydeco accordionist Corey Ledet. It’s a brazen departure from form on the record and emphatic proof that melding zydeco accordion with New Orleans funky brass isn’t just a righteous experiment, it’s plain righteous.
En Francais 2 was worth the wait. Here’s to hoping there will be more. — Walter Pierce
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DEC 11 It's the holiday season, and that means you can count on seeing some pretty crazy stuff going down at the Wal-Mart, but this story out of Marshall, Texas takes the cake. A man went in and attacked a couple of people with a hatchet. Who stopped him? A customer who started launching soup cans at him -- and connected with his noggin. The story tells us that while some folk were injured, everyone's been released from the hospital.
DEC 11 Blogger Tom Aswell joins the ranks of those looking into the "Fund for Louisiana's Future," which of course is not really aimed at improving our future. So far, it seems aimed at getting Louisiana to remove its $100,000 cap on campaign contributions, he tells us. Also, it is overseen by the same guy who tried to give us President Mitt Romney -- and he seems bent on picking our next governor.
DEC 11 Here's a post on NOLA Defender from the chef de cuisine at Delmonico's about gumbo. Chef Anthony Scanio shares childhood food memories that aren't quite a warm and fuzzy cliche -- but they certainly sound authentic. His personal story isn't just about food, it's a true New Orleans boy's upbringing. It's a cool story, and it ends with recipes for seafood gumbo and red beans.
DEC 11 Blogger Lou Gehrig Burnett writes here on Bayou Buzz about GOP efforts to mount a candidate against Sen. Mary Landrieu -- "a" being the operative word. So far, Bill Cassidy and Rob Maness are both in the race, and as long as the ultra-conservative Maness remains he poses a threat to the Republicans' hopes to unseat Mary. There's also a bit on what's up in Texas -- where Gov. Rick Perry's rejection of Medicaid money is causing other lawmakers some trouble.
DEC 11 Qualifying for New Orleans municipal races opens today, and Gambit's Clancy DuBos is most interested in people running against Sheriff Marlin Gusman, a frequent topic of Clancy's posts -- and a lot of other media posts as well. So far, the most interesting candidate expected to qualify is former sheriff Charles Foti. But Gusman's biggest enemy may be himself, given his 33 percent approval rating.
DEC 11 It may be the season of brotherly love, but John Maginnis is not falling for David Vitter's Christmas story. In this post, he poo-poos the very idea that Vitter and his family will spend the holidays in prayerful reflection so that they can decide if the Senator will run for governor. He also gives some predictions on what could happen if Vitter did get elected, throwing in a cautionary reference to the big ole egg laid by the GOP up in North Louisiana's recent Congressional race.
DEC 11 Well, knock us over with a rainbow-colored feather. The Shreveport City Council passed an ordinance granting equal protection to LGBT folks, this KSLA story reports. It basically forbids discrimination against people based on their sexual orientation. According to the story, city workers already have had that protection, since 2009.
DEC 11 That nice lady over in Denham Springs must still be mad at her neighbors for stealing her dog, because she's back up on her roof, making a big ole "one finger salute" in Christmas lights. This story in the Advocate even gives us a picture of the process underway, in case you are experiencing a similar situation and would like some finger-display-creation tips.
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