Can you sound any more Southern? It’s like Little Feat have been re-formed, playing a festival with a Cajun band.
Time: 13 tracks / 51mins
Label: Octavia Records
When this disc begins with the line, “Ain’t nothin’ wrong with my baby / A little more loving, we just work it out,” you could write it off as having nothing cerebral or original to offer. But dig deeper and notice that the track was written by the late Southern legend Allen Toussaint. That is a clue about what to really expect.
Tracks like “The Creole Nightingale sing Sings” are absolute Little Feat, and could have come from the classic Feats Don’t Fail Me Now album, with no one spotting the difference. There’s that slightly swampy, lightly chugging rhythm section; the slowly funky organ that runs the track out; the slide guitar sound – even the ascending line leading into the chorus. It’s like a perfect copy.
It’s the same with “Ma Jolie.” It has that organ base, a gently lifting funk and even lyrics about the seaboard that take you to Louisiana.
But in between these sits “Donne-Moi Donc,” its tinkling piano, rock & roll mood, French lyrics and horn solo all making it feel like a different band entirely. Similarly, the innuendo-laced rocker “One Trick Pony” and highly enjoyable twelve-bar instrumental “Po’ Boy Waltz” offer a slightly less Cajun version of this alternative band.
Just to complicate it further, “By Your Side” is more of a reggae pop song and the title track is a mellow ballad featuring the organ. This album is like a compilation celebration from a Southern rock festival. The only thing that could have made it more so is an Allman Brothers pastiche – and they are not too far away from that at times.
I’m a bit torn about how to rate this. A huge part of me wants be 80% of this disc to be the band that spoofs Little Feat with songs like “Windmill in a Hurricane,” giving you images of Lowell George on his slide guitar. Those tracks are 5-star offerings.
I wouldn’t buy an album that was all like their rock & roll incarnation, but the variety does keep it fresh – and these players are not (to re-use the title of that earlier accordion-led track) one trick ponies. Any style seems to work exceedingly well in their capable hands. They produce singable songs, concise performances and put plenty of energy into the disc.
You want a Louisiana party? Come straight here.