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Louisiana Gumbo Audio CD
Louisiana Gumbo Audio CD
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Louisiana Gumbo Audio CD

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The Putumayo label's distinctively packaged "introduction" series winds up in New Orleans, as well as travelling briefly out to the swamps. As the title suggests, we get to hear everything from blues to funk, rock & roll to zydeco, often mulched up into a single fat-bottomed groove. All the tracks are short, no messing assaults on the dance floor, the running order liberally peppered with instrumentals. Guitars and horns get plenty of riffing and soloing space, but the piano is frequently king, especially when at the mercy of James Booker and Eddie Bo, both players favouring some heavily percussive key abuse. Clifton Chenier plays his accordion up against some furiously scraped rub board and Rockin' Dopsie slow-drags through "I'm Coming Home", a couple of strays from Putumayo's companion Zydeco compilation. On the vocal front, Johnny Adams has a clear lead, fronting his pumping band on "It Ain't The Same Thing", while Percy Mayfield contributes the atypically non-soul Louisiana and Snooks Eaglin takes it down the slow, gospel route with the closing "Nine Pound Steel". There isn't a bad track in sight, though one small complaint is the running time of barely 45 minutes rather than the hour-plus we would normally expect from a set like this. --Martin Longley