In the last few years I've reviewed a lot of albums filled with Louisiana music, including Cajun, Zydeco, Swamp Pop, R&B, Country-Rock, and probably a few I've forgotten. Some of those albums even included more than one variety of the area's music.
But a new issue From Ray Landry and Friends on the Swallow label is very clear about its contents. Mes Racines Cadien Sont Creux translates as My Cajun Roots Are Deep. The music is pure Cajun, and that means it's warm and inviting, sweet and melodic — and impossible to resist.
Landry is a veteran of the area's Cajun music scene and he is sincere when he says, "Playing Cajun music, singing the songs and jamming with good friends could be described as my heaven on earth." He enlisted many of those friends for the recording sessions that produced the tracks on this album. And names such as Mason Menard, Helene Boudreaux, Andre Michot, Dexter Ardoin, and Terry Huval, among others, reflect the Cajun heritage of the musicians.
But let's get into some specifics about the music itself. As with most collections, there are both traditional and newer pieces among the tracks, but the song titles here are all in French. Each does have an English translation available in the album notes, but the titles won't mean much unless you're a long-time aficionado of the music.
Many of the tracks have "valse" (waltz) in the title, and those are mostly slowly-paced with fiddle and accordion leads. My favorites are probably "La Valse d'Ennuie (The Lonesome Waltz)," and "La Valse de Soldat (The Soldier's Waltz)."
A few of the cuts are better suited to the Cajun two-step, which is to say that they're kicked up a notch. (Sorry, Emeril.) The best — and my favorite on the album — is the delightfully rollicking "Le Deux Pas de la Poussiere (La Poussierre's Two Step)."
Good stuff, as are all the pieces here — a real taste of authentic music from the bayou, courtesy of Ray Landry and Friends.