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CD REVIEW: ZydecoaGoGo - Let The Good Times Roll
By Don Sechelski - 06/09/2008 - 12:41 PM EDT

Artist: Band: Zydeco-a-Go-Go
Album: Let The Good Times Roll
Label: Gumbo Music Productions
Genre: Zydeco/RocknRoll/Dance
Technical Grade: 8/10
Production/Musicianship Grade: 8/10
Overall Talent Level: 8/10
CD Review:

Zydeco is party music. I first heard zydeco when I attended college in New Orleans. It's a blend of cajun folk forms with blues, R&B, ska, and gospel that continues to evolve and absorb other genres. Some younger zydeco bands are introducing elements of jazz, rap, and hip hop to the blend. Most importantly, it's great dance music. I love the monthly dances that are sponsored by our local Cajun/Zydeco Association.  The best part is that the bands are often imported from Louisiana.  Over the past few years I've been lucky enough to dance to bands like Buckwheat Zydeco and Keith Frank. So I was a little surprised to receive a zydeco CD, Let The Good Times Roll, from a band based in Philly.

Zydeco-a-Go-Go is a five piece zydeco band. Pete "Gumbo" Eshelman plays accordion, piano, and sings most of the vocals. Drummer Bob Holden and bassist Lenny Fatigati carry the rhythm. Billy Baltera plays rhythm/lead guitar and Carl CC Crabtree rounds out the group on sax, rub board, and triangle. On the Shirley and Lee classic, Let The Good Times Roll, Pam Eshelman joins the band on vocals.

The first cut, Zydeco Sont Pas Sale, is a classic from zydeco pioneer, Clifton Chenier. A corruption of the French phrase, "the beans ain't salty", this song is the band's homage to the roots of zydeco and a great way to start the party. Eshelman's accordion and vocals lead the way. Zydeco music is party music, after all.  The party continues with Let The Good Times Roll. Laissez Les Bons Temps Rouler! Eshelman's accordion and vocals come back on an original tune Goin' To The Rock & Bowl.

My favorite tune on the CD came up next. An original by drummer Holden, it's a classic New Orleans stroll with Crabtree's dirty sax grinding away on the rhythm. Marina is a about a girl who just can't be true. The instrumental break with Crabtree's sax and Baltera's guitar is classic. Holden's vocal is perfect; the song had me up and dancing. I stayed on my feet for the Chavis' standard, Dance All Night. No doubt about it, Zydeco-a-Go-Go is a party band that can get you up on your feet. That's the first responsibility of any good zydeco band. They don't break a lot of new ground with this release, Let The Good Times Roll, but they do make your feet move and that's what it's all about. Laissez Les Bons Temps Rouler!

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