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Music Review: Lost Bayou Ramblers – Mammoth Waltz

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The Lost Bayou Ramblers from Pilette, Louisiana have been delivering authentic Cajun music with a modern twist for the past 10 years. With Mammoth Waltz, they take on a bit more of a rock and roll edge, but stay strongly rooted in traditional bayou music. The swirling fiddles and accordion added to the guitars, lap steel, drums, and bass provide a solid wall of sound to back up the raw, powerful vocals to get your feet moving and your heart pounding.

There’s also an eclectic group of special guests joining the band on this CD. Dr. John on “Le Reveil de Louisiane” is not much of a surprise, but French actress and singer Nora Arnezeder on that same song is unexpected. So is Scarlett Johansson on “Coteau Guidry,” but both ladies add a very special touch to the songs, the first a traditional Civil War anthem which translates as “Wake Up, Louisiana,” and the second an original number about hanging out at a friend’s house on the river bank.

I never really pictured Gordon Gano of the Violent Femmes singing in French with accordions and fiddles either, but he gives a great punk edge to the song “Bastille, ” which was written by Gano’s sister, Cynthia. She uses the original French spelling of the family name, Gayneau. Suddenly the connection becomes clearer.

It doesn’t really matter if you understand the French lyrics of the songs.You will still enjoy the great dance numbers like “La Jolie Fille N’en Veut Plus de Moi” and the title tune, “Mammoth Waltz,” which is a very heavy, fast waltz.

But there is also Louis Michot’s “Maree Noire” about the BP oil disaster, the contemporary piece by Daniel Lanois, “O Marie,” which is 6 and a half minutes of drawn-out introspection, and the completely different and rocking “Blues de Bernedette.”

The core of the Lost Bayou Ramblers is Andre and Louis Michot, who grew up playing in a traditional Cajun family band, Les Freres Michot. They love and honor the Cajun tradition and want to keep it alive. But they also want to bring it into modern tradition as well. They succeed in doing that on Mammoth Waltz, which is pure Cajun rock and roll.

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About Rhetta Akamatsu

I am an author of non-fiction books and an online journalist. My books include Haunted Marietta, The Irish Slaves, T'ain't Nobody's Business If I Do: Blues Women Past and Present, and Sex Sells: Women in Photography and Film.
  • A. Michot

    Bastille was written by Louis Michot, not Cynthia Gayneaux. Merci.

  • quek-un qui connait

    Co-written by Pauly Deathwish Etheredge.

  • quek-un qui connait

    Cynthia Ganeaux (Gano) did write a song called “Dans Avec Moi Toujours” (je crois?) that Lost Bayou Ramblers performs with Gordon Gano almost every time they play. Its a beautiful waltz, very reminiscent of a Cajun tune LBR plays on their Vermilionaire album called “He Sent Someone”, so c’mon!

  • http://www.rhettaakamatsu.com Rhetta Akamatsu

    I apologize for the mistake. I was reading an erroneous article that stated that she wrote “Bastille.” I suppose that is how those rumors get started in the first place.