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Music Review: Kevin Naquin & The Ossun Playboys – Call It What You Want

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I was just thinking. I might be one of the leading reviewers of Cajun music on the internet. Not because I'm – you know – any good at it, but just because there aren't that many people covering the genre, and that's a shame. It's a type of music that might appeal to a lot of listeners if it got a little more attention.

I've enjoyed Cajun music for years, but I have to confess that I certainly don't consider myself an expert. That might explain why I wasn't too familiar with Kevin Naquin and the Ossun Playboys when I began working on this review, but I soon discovered that they're one of the top Cajun groups around.

Over the last decade they've released no less than seven albums, and judging by their newest, Call It What You Want (Appelee-Le Ca Tu Veux), on the Swallow label, there's a good reason for their popularity — these guys are outstanding. (See video below for an example of their crowd-pleasing act.)

Naquin, who comes from a family with several generations of musical history, is the heart and soul of the group, but his strong singing voice and nimble squeeze-box play are not the only weapons in their arsenal. The Playboys also feature Louis Dronet, Wayne Laverge, Tommy Bodin, Pat Stebbins, and Ashley Hayes (who doesn't quite fit the name Playboy but is still a valuable member of the group).

If you're new to Cajun music this might be the perfect album for you, because it's filled with  a well-organized mix of music that ranges from Cajun standards to newer pieces, including a couple of country songs given a Cajun twist. But established fans of the genre should find it equally entertaining because there are some real gems here.

Traditional Cajun pieces such as "Valse De La Vie," and one of my favorites, "Johnny Can't Dance," leave little doubt that these guys can handle the old songs. But they're equally at home with new stuff such as "All Night Long," and a bonus track, "The Saints Are Coming," written to celebrate the area's favorite football team.

As mentioned before, they've also included a couple of traditional country songs that have been given a bayou reworking. Those include the old favorite, "Tennessee Blues," and a Floyd Cramer/Conway Twitty tune, "After All The Good Is Gone."  Good stuff from a solid group, well worth a listen.

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