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AMEDE ARDOIN

MAMA I'LL BE LONG GONE. The Complete Recordings 1929-1934 (2CD)

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Tompkins Square (TSQ2554)

Buy any early Cajun anthology and you're sure to find some of Amede Ardoin's music there. No compilation of any merit should be without a track or two of this stunning musician performing the classics of Louisiana Creole and Cajun music that must have influenced every Cajun and Zydeco accordion player in history.

Now, for the first time ever, we've got a CD set that includes every existing recording of Amede Ardoin's music, either as a solo artist or playing accordion with his long time partner, the fiddle icon, Dennis McGhee. Together they recorded some of the most delicious Cajun accordion and fiddle music ever heard - waltzes, two steps, breakdowns, back steps, ballads, blues, songs of loss, sadness, longing and sublime bliss - all topped with Amede's heart-aching moans and cries that make the music all the more compelling.

He puts his heart and soul into the vocals on the sad stuff, sings like a bird on the relaxed back-step Sunset and saves his more raunchy vocal roar for blues like Les Blues De Crowley, Les Blues Prison and Blues de Basille which, alongside his adventurous accordion, features some of Dennis McGhee's most inventive fiddle playing.

The hours they spent honing their sound paid off by the time they recorded together - playing in perfect sync with one another, sometimes providing perfect rhythmic back up and then attacking the song in complete harmony playing the same licks simultaneously. The notes say that "the actual style of Ardoin & McGhee's hand-in-glove playing which stands as the apex of pre-war Cajun dance music, was an expression of both the Cajun and Creole communities and the artists' own idiosyncratic and intense personalities".

Sometimes a full CD of a Cajun musician can be a bit over-bearing but not this one. Ardoin's superb repertoire of great songs and sparkling performances are irresistible and, thanks to the brilliancy of the re-mastering by Chris King, they sound as fresh and clear as they did on the day they were recorded. In fact, let me give you a tip. Whenever you come across a blues or old-timey country CD that is engineered or produced by Christopher King, don't hesitate to get it. Everything he touches is always top quality - just as this beautiful CD is.

Review Date: April 2011

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