Further Still: Cajun Pioneers

posted by Tom on April 11, 2012 at 4:10 pm
in , , , ,

The Balfa Brothers: The Balfa Brothers Play Traditional Cajun Music (1000 Recordings, pg. 41).

Next Stop: Michael Doucet & BeauSoleil: Bayou Deluxe. After That: Various Artists: Jai eta au bai.

Over the last few years, there’s been a flood of historically significant reissues in Cajun music. Many of these were not available during the time I was researching 1000 Recordings, so here's a short Spotify playlist designed to facilitate exploration of some roots of Cajun music. The playlist begins with a cut from Nathan Abshire, an accordionist who performed frequently with the Balfa Brothers.

Some titles that never made it to CD have surfaced in digital form, and when combined with a few carefully curated compilations, the recent releases offer a fuller picture of some of Louisiana’s trailblazing, high-spirited and criminally overlooked musicians. This playlist highlights the recordings of several pioneers whose works have been missing forever – including the superfast accordionist Iry LeJeune (whose best anthology, Cajun's Greatest: The Definitive Collection, is not on Spotify but available here), and the “Fiddle King of Cajun Swing,” Harry Choates, whose sound suggests a rollicking meeting of Cajun dance and Bob Wills-style Texas swing. Also here is Aldus Roger, a slick and soulful accordionist and bandleader who was popular in dancehalls and on TV in the ‘50s and ‘60s; his approach is lighter, more agile, than many traditional bands. Again, Spotify doesn’t have much on him – the curious should seek out A Cajun Legend, his hits collection.


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