Dom Flemons The American Songster: Prospect Hill

Dom-Flemons-Prospect-HillDom Flemons
The American Songster: Prospect Hill
Music Maker Relief Foundation

Dom Flemons was one third of The Carolina Chocolate Drops who formed in 2005 immediately following the first Black Banjo Gathering. They’ve recorded five albums; three for The Music Maker Relief Foundation and two for Nonesuch Records. This is Flemons second solo recording and first since he has left the Chocolate Drops.

One might compare The Carolina Chocolate Drops to The Weavers. The Weavers recorded between 1948 and 1964 and at times featured Pete Seeger and Erik Darling (The Rooftop Singers). The Chocolate Drops music is similar to theirs but also draws on Piedmont Blues. Piedmont Blues includes elements of ragtime, country music and popular music. It is performed acoustically usually as a duo or trio. The Chocolate Drops music also includes early jazz, hot band string music, and African and Caribbean music. We are reminded that the banjo originally had four strings and is an African instrument.

On this album Flemons plays guitar, harmonica, jug, banjo, and snare drum. Guy Davis guests on eight of the fourteen tracks. Flemons reverence for this music is obvious and his clear vocals a pleasure to hear. He has written or re-arranged most of the music but credits his influences. “Til The Seas Run Dry” features Brian Horton on clarinet. Flemons states this song is influenced by his love of New Orleans jazz. “Polly Put The Kettle On” is a string band tune Flemons learned from a Sonny Boy Williamson compilation. “But They Got It Fixed Right On” is from Georgia Tom Dorsey and Tampa Red. “Have I Stayed Away Too Long” comes from Blind James Campbell. “I Can’t Do It Anymore” was influenced by Fats Domino, Carl Perkins and Hank Ballard. “Too Long (I’ve Been Gone)” reminds me of a song by Tom Paxton. It’s about the loneliness of the road. “San Francisco Baby” reminds me of a song from Jesse Fuller. “My Money Never Runs Out” is from Gus Cannon.

Flemons is the real deal and this album a significant step in his career. He is a pleasure to listen to and his work for The Music Maker Relief Foundation evidence of a reverence for those who came before him. If you are unaware of Flemons you absolutely have to hear this album.

Richard Ludmerer

Grateful Dead “Dave’s Picks: Volume 11” Wichita, KS 11/17/1972 (3 CD’s)

GratefuGrateful Dead Dave's Picks 11 coverl Dead “Dave’s Picks: Volume 11” Wichita, KS 11/17/1972 (3 CD’s)

Recorded by the legendary Owsley “Bear” Stanley these original tapes have been re-mastered in HDCD, like many of these rerelease series (Dave’ Picks, Dick’s Picks, Road Trips, and etcetera) the sound quality noticeably improves as the evening wears on, similarly the Dead become hotter as the evening progresses.  ’72 was the first year I had seen the band in concert so I have a biased fondness for almost every show from this spectacular era (which in this particular case) derives from almost forty-two years ago.

You will probably notice that almost everything during the lengthy first set has that little extra edge to it, starting with Chuck Berry’s “Promised Land.” John Philips of the Mamas and the Papas wrote “Me and My Uncle” it’s short, sweet and sparkly executed here, and the Garcia-Hunter “Tennessee Jed” offers a eruptive jam during the outro, but Weir’s Black-Throated Wind” trudges-on for far too long logging in at over seven minutes. Alternately “Bird Song” glows beautifully, squirming and burning majestically towards faraway and (at times) peaceful places. The Dead didn’t forget “Jack Straw” (who like this concert is also from Wichita,) “cut his buddy down, dug for him a shallow grave, and laid his body down.” Yet the Lesh-Hunter, and (somewhat) rarely performed “Box of Rain” suffers with Phil’s ragged vocals. The traditional “Don’t Ease Me In” swings in a bluesy vein, as does the punchy “Beat it on Down  the Line,” and Johnny Cash’s “Big River.” Garcia amps- up on “China Cat Sunflower” especially during the transition to the traditional “I Know You Rider” that includes bombs from Lesh’s bass concluding disc one.

Disc two opens with (still from the first set) the second Chuck Berry cover “Around and Around” with Weir urging Garcia to hop-on, not that Jerry needed encouragement. “Casey Jones” ends the set with a locomotive like rush. The second set starts with the fiery Garcia/Lesh/Hunter “Cumberland Blues” and it’s immediately obvious that the band is hitting on all cylinders. Marty Robbins “El Paso” is also spiritedly performed. I never know what to expect with “He’s Gone” but this version moves at a quicker than usual pace that’s resolute with short gospel choruses, as there’s more emphasis on the jam, Garcia guides lifting off with a power solo for his bandmates to support and follow, it’s also performed here standalone which didn’t happen often. Their anthem “Truckin’” gets hot and heavy as the entire band burns, shifting towards the bombastic Weir-Kreutzman “The Other One,” soaring through the universe like a  supernova cataclysmic explosion that eventually crashes into “Brokedown Palace,” where Garcia’s vocal and guitar solo is soulfully sweet. A playful Garcia toys during the instrumental segment of the Weir-Hunter “Sugar Magnolia” that ends disc two, but doesn’t end the set.

Disc three starts with a mostly la-de-da “Uncle John’s Band” until the jam as Weir and Lesh lock-in with Garcia and roll. The third Chuck Berry cover of the night “Johnny B. Goode” rocks and rolls everyone home with delight.  Disc three also has five tunes from a two night prior set performed in Oklahoma City. Starting with a righteous and enormous “Playing In the Band” (30:57.) The jam starts out focused, until Garcia starts to tinker with his wah-wah rig, Weir’s very sharp with his creative rhythm playing and guitar fills as the band explores beyond the boundaries of planet earth with plenty of impromptu jamming that doesn’t get too weird. A standalone “Wharf Rat” is lush, gorgeous and superlative for nearly eleven minutes. The final three-piece segment opens with Buddy Holly’s thumping “Not Fade Away” squarely punching into the traditional “Goin’ Down the Road Feeling Bad,” back to “Not Fade Away” (total time  approximately eighteen minutes for this trifecta) that closes the Oklahoma City show, as well as disc three.  Note: The Dead performed “Not Fade Away” five hundred and thirty times.

The early spring and fall runs of ‘72 shows rarely receive the props and kudos they deserve, probably because these early and late 1972 gems are overshadowed by their momentous (and better documented) spring jaunt to Europe. Plus the 1972 fall shows did not include Ron “Pigpen” McKernan (who passed just four months after this concert.) Pigpen was a major loss for the band’s sound that exuded a soulful, bluesy and grittier path. The Grateful Dead continued to wildly prosper and grow without Pigpen, and their newer paths and directions sprouted from these November 1972 recordings that can now be found encapsulated as “Dave’s Picks Eleven.”  No matter, these performances are quite solid, the group often creates with ease, reckless abandon, and fluent improvisations, making this latest edition (now nearing the end of its third year,) a very worthwhile addition to the never-ending flow of concert material unearthed from the Dead’s vaults.

Expect more concert releases, as I believe there’s a bottomless pit of unique and quality material to choose from. Enjoy!


For fifteen years Bob Putignano has been pivotal at WFDU with his Sounds of Blue radio show:  – Previously a senior contributing editor at Blues Revue, Blueswax, and Goldmine magazines, currently the Music Editor for the Westchester Guardian Newspaper   and now at:

Putignano can be directly contacted at:

Eric Clapton & Friends “The Breeze – An Appreciation of JJ Cale”

Eric Clapton_Breeze_ JJ Cale_coverEric Clapton JJ Cale_coverEric Clapton & Friends “The Breeze – An Appreciation of JJ Cale”


Starting with Eric Clapton’s 1970 self-titled debut solo album, Clapton started a decade’s long affection for JJ Cale. They also recorded together on the ’06 “The Road to Escondido.”  Last year Cale passed-away so it was not a stretch (but a very pleasant surprise) to have this very heartfelt and near-perfect reflection album of Cale’s related material. Contributors include the leader (Clapton) with well-chosen guests:  John Mayer, Mark Knopfler, Tom Petty, Willie Nelson, Derek Trucks and other well-known artists.

There are many highlights but the ones that jumped out for me started with the title track with Clapton handling the Cale like vocals and laidback but tasty guitar work with the great Albert Lee. Clapton and Tom Petty share the vocal chores on “Rock and Roll Records.” Next is “Someday” with Mark Knopfler’s guitar and vocal who’s a noble Cale fit vocally and for his sweet guitar. John Mayer and Clapton swap vocals and guitar playing on “Lies” that is reminiscent of the Atlanta Rhythm Section’s “So Into You” percolating groove. The Oklahoma singer Don White sings and adds his guitar on “Sensitive Kind” that also works well. John Mayer shows immense versatility shining mightily on vocals and guitar alongside Clapton on the drop-dead gorgeous “Magnolia” which is probably my favorite track. Petty and Clapton duet on “I Got the Same Old Blues” with added guitar work from Reggie Young who duels smartly with Clapton. Willie  Nelson brings his vocal and guitar along with David Lindley on “Songbird” suggesting a more country temperament. Clapton’s guitar oozes of Cale like sounds on the hypnotic “Since You Said Goodbye.” Petty returns for “The Old Man and Me,” exhuming Cale like vocals with nice fills from pedal steel guitarist Greg Leisz. Clapton, Knopfler and White all chime in on “Train to Nowhere” featuring dazzling guitar tradeoffs as everyone’s seemingly enjoying the train ride.  Willie Nelson returns for short “Starbound” and takes along Derek Trucks. Easily the most rocking track “Don’t Wait” fetches back John Mayer’s vocal and guitar with Clapton grinding the blues on guitar and background vocals. The finale is the fitting “Crying Eyes” with Christine Lakeland (who co-authored with Cale, on the previous “Don’t Wait”) on vocals, with Derek Trucks who adds a tender slide solo that sounds so right.

When I first heard JJ Cale’s earliest recordings I could never understand why JJ Cale rarely stretched out his guitar solos as his tasteful guitar immediately attracted my imagination. As I grew older (and arguably wiser) I realized that Cale’s genius was his understated guitar playing style, so some forty years later my appreciation of Cale’s sparse guitar playing grows on. Especially when you package Cale’s subtle guitar with his haunting vocals and keen songwriting skills – exemplifies the unique JJ Cale persona as one of the great stylistic musicians of all time. That being said this recording captures JJ Cale’s spirit. Everything moves along at “his” similar relaxed pace – where I’m sure that Cale would have approved “The Breeze – An Appreciation of JJ Cale.” It’s a definitive recording that is as close to recreating a lifelike extension of Cale’s legacy as a musician. It’s also one the best recordings of 2014. Enjoy!

For fifteen years Bob Putignano has been pivotal at WFDU with his Sounds of Blue radio show:   – Previously a senior contributing editor at Blues Revue, Blueswax, and Goldmine magazines, and currently the Music Editor for the Westchester Guardian Newspaper  and now at:

Putignano can be directly contacted at:

Bob Putignano:

Weekly Music Editor at: – NYC area Newspaper Now celebrating 15 + years on the air at WFDU

The Iguanas – Juarez

JuarezCover-medThe Iguanas


Piety Street Files and Archaic Media

Based in New Orleans, La. The Iguanas are a roots rock band. They combine Conjunto and various other Latin styles with R n’ B. Imagine a cross between The Sir Douglas Quintet and The Blazers of East Los Angeles. The Iguanas consist of Joe Cabral, vocals, sax, bajo sexto, and keyboards; Rod Hodges, vocals, guitar and accordion; Rene Coman, vocals, bass and keyboards; and Doug Garrison, drums and percussion.

This is The Iguanas eighth studio recording. Their most successful to date maybe “Nuevo Boogaloo” on Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville Records released in 1994. Some of the songs stick in your head like “Oye, Isabel” and “Boom, Boom, Boom” which was featured on “Homicide: Life on the Street”.  The Iguanas followed that with 1996’s “Super Ball” which included the song “Benny’s Cadillac”. In 1999 they released “Sugartown” on Koch Records. Then in 2003 they recorded “Plastic Silver 9-Volt Heart” on the Yep Roc label. Their recording output was disturbed by Katrina but they returned to the studio in 2008 to record “If You Should Ever Fall on Hard Times”.  In 2013 they released “Sin to Sin” on Piety Street. “Juarez” is this year’s follow up recording.

The opening track “Love, Sucker” features Cabral’s hot sax and a dance groove. The frat style chorus repeats the title. “Blues for Juarez” is a bit of film noir featuring old Mexico. “Soul Kiss” is a youthful exuberant and sexy sax based piece. “Wedding of Chicken and Snake” is a Latin groove inspired by the Woody Allen movie “What’s Up, Tiger Lily” and features organ and accordion. “Let’s Make That Magic Happen one more time” features a pleading baritone saxophone. “Dame Tu Reloj” is sung in Spanish. Coman’s bass and Hodges’ guitar add some color to this tale of desperation. “Matamoros Way” is an accordion driven polka. “It Keeps Raining” was originally recorded by Fats Domino.

Problems With You” is a polka about marriage. “La Cumbia De Chon” is about Chon, a loveable drunk. It is a cumbia originally recorded by the late Steve Jordan. “Slumming” is a poke at “fair weather friends and sometime residents of New Orleans”. “When the Weather Breaks” features some beautiful guitar from Hodges.

The Iguanas have become a New Orleans institution which in their case is better than being in any other institution. They have become my favorite New Orleans band. You should go out of your way to hear these guys; they’re insanely good.

Richard Ludmerer

Paul Thorn – Too Blessed to be Stressed

paul-thorn_too-blessed-to-be-stressedPaul Thorn

Too Blessed to Be Stressed

Perpetual Obscurity Records

“It’s April 14th, 1988 and we’re live from The Tropicana in Atlantic City New Jersey. In one corner, the former Lightweight, Welterweight, and Light Middleweight Champion of the World, Roberto Duran with a record of 82W-7L, in the other corner, Paul Thorn with a record of 9W-1L”.

Here’s the fight summary. Duran knocked down Thorn with a right in the 2nd round. In the 3rd a butt opened a cut over Duran’s left eye. In the 4th Duran wobbled Thorn with a right.  Between the six and seventh rounds the doctor stopped the fight. The winner was Roberto Duran.

Perhaps, there was no looser. Thorn went on to become a singer songwriter. In 2010 he released his 5th album “Pimps and Preachers” and if you ever get a chance to see Thorn live he may tell this story. Music won that day, ‘cause if you see him once you’ll be a fan for life. Thorn followed up with 2012’s “What The Hell is Goin’ On”. His newest album “Too Blessed to Be Stressed” will be released in August.

Thorn’s band has been with him for twenty years. Michael Graham plays keyboards; Bill Hinds guitar; Ralph Friedrichsen, bass, and Jeffrey Perkins, drums. The album is produced by Thorn and Billy Maddox who is also Thorn’s co-writer.

Thorn’s dry humor is abundant throughout the recording. “Backslide on Friday” is a poke at Thorn’s personal foibles with nice slide guitar from Hinds. Michael Graham’s organ adds to the good time sound.

The McCrary Sisters are featured on three tracks. They’re roots are in gospel and they are the background singers that provide additional “joy” on the title track, “Too Blessed to Be Stressed”, and on both “What Kind of Roof do You Live Under” and “Get You a Healin”, the later written by Carlo J. Ditta.

“Mediocrity is King” is a bit more topical with the lyric “Republicans and Democrats are breakin’ my heart, can’t tell them sob’s apart”. “Old Stray Dog’s and Jesus” is my personal favorite.

This new album should receive significant airplay. Thorn’s music is fun.


Richard Ludmerer

Grateful Dead “Dick’s Picks Eighteen

Grateful Dead Dick's Picks 18Grateful Dead “Dick’s Picks Eighteen” 2/3 & 2/5/78 (3 CD’s) This Dick’s Picks edition is somewhat unique in that disc one is taken from two shows that are combined to “create” a first set of performances. Disc two contains the entire second set from 2/3, and disc three is the entire second set from 2/5.

Disc one opens with a somewhat funky “Bertha” that melds and fits well with “Good Lovin’” where it’s obvious that the band sounds pretty loose yet tight.  I’m guessing as these shows were both recorded in dead of winter in Madison, WI, and Cedar Falls, IA that the cold weather was on the Dead’s minds especially when they shuffle into soulful rendition of “Cold Rain and Snow.” The great Bobby Womack recently passed so it was heartwarming for me to hear the band sweetly cover his “It’s All Over Now” (made famous by the Rolling Stones) that becomes a bit raucous near its ending. The shuffling “Deal” shifts into overdrive, and the closer of “The Music Never Stopped” starts off a little rushed but Garcia takes it into the stratosphere with a series of flurried notes during the instrumental segment that really lifts off when he leads the band back down to earth to rock-out the outro jam. Whew!

The chunkier parts of this box take place on discs two and three. Disc two opens with a awkward “Estimated Prophet” that unravels into a pretty and lengthy instrumental intro of “Eyes of the World” that tastefully evolves as a masterful and creative jam with minimal doses from Garcia voice, then they find their way to a mega sized (24:35) “Playing in the Band” that also boasts sharp playing by all especially Lesh’s bass and Godchaux’s piano comps. You knew it wouldn’t be long before Garcia would enter as they stroll into a light and airy jam that’s lively and playful, as each musician is very attentive and adding color to what everyone else is creating. This jam finally finds its way to a gorgeous and delightful “The Wheel” and exits back to another nine minutes of “Playing In the Band.” The interplay throughout is high-quality especially during the coupling of “The Wheel” as they jam back to “Playing In the Band,”

that fortunately doesn’t include Donna Godchaux’s tribal screams.  It’s not time to head for the exit doors just yet as they conclude their set with a pretty high-spirited cover of Chuck Berry’s “Johnny B. Goode.”

Disc three opens with a punchy “Sampson and Delilah,” then after a short break they launch “Scarlet Begonias” that surges with clairvoyant chemistry between Garcia and Godchaux, seguing to the often paired “Fire On the Mountain” for a total of nearly thirty minutes. Their anthem “Truckin’” sways along at a pedestrian pace but gains momentum during the instrumental section, thankfully there’s only a two minute drum solo as they then blare on a unusually short (9:02) “The Other One” that offers some intense moments. Emerging from “The Other One” comes the splendor and beauty of “Wharf Rat” that is especially heartfelt during Garcia’s ending guitar solo. It’s Chuck Berry time again but this time it’s with “Around and Around,” that’s particularly extended (8:35.) A lot of that time is used with reaching and leaping Garcia who is ripping Berry like classic chords with Jerry’s own unique supersonic solos.

The song selection and the band’s treatment of material provide a snapshot portrait from the Dead’s 1978 timeframe. Dick’s Picks Vol. 18 is yet another good one from the original keeper of their tape vaults; the deceased Dick Latvala. This set also brings to life the stunning detailed sound clarity from all instruments and vocals courtesy of longtime recording engineer Betty Cantor-Jackson. So much so that you will feel like you were sitting in the front row of these shows. Even though these concerts took place some thirty-six years ago! Flashback and enjoy.

As per usual the Dick’s Picks series always issue their Caveat Emptor statement: “This CD was produced using the original 7″ reel-to-reel soundboard tapes running at 7.5 IPS and 15 IPS. It is a snapshot of history and not a modern professional recording and may therefore exhibit some minor technical anomalies. We have, however, aimed to make it just exactly perfect, as Dick would have liked it.”


Jerry Garcia – lead guitar, vocals

Donna Jean Godchaux – vocals

Keith Godchaux – keyboards

Mickey Hart – drums

Bill Kreutzmann – drums

Phil Lesh – electric bass, vocals

Bob Weir – rhythm guitar, whistle, vocals

For fifteen years Bob Putignano has been pivotal at WFDU with his Sounds of Blue radio show:  – Previously a senior contributing editor at Blues Revue, Blueswax, and Goldmine magazines, and Music Editor for the Westchester Guardian. Putignano can be contacted at:

Ilana Katz Katz – Blues & Old Time Fiddle: I’ve Got Something to Tell You

ikkIlana Katz Katz

Blues & Old Time Fiddle: I’ve Got Something to Tell You


This is a modern approach to old time fiddle. Katz incorporates Blues and originals to augment her repertoire of traditional tunes. Her guest musicians include Ronnie Earl; Jesse Williams; Diane Blue; Marylou Ferrante; and Dotty Moore.

Earl sits in on guitar on John Lee Hooker’s “She Long She’s Tall (She Weeps Like a Willow Tree)”. Earl’s guitar and Katz’s fiddle begin to cook before he solos. Katz sings. On, Robert Lockwood Jr.’s ”Take a Little Walk with Me”, Diane Blue is the vocalist.

Lockwood is a favorite of Earl’s and his guitar is especially nice here. Katz includes two songs from Memphis Minnie. Both “Ain’t Nothin’ in Ramblin’” and “Frisco Town” are performed as a duo with guitarist and vocalist Ferrante. Katz has composed three instrumentals. “Marlyn’s Blues” is dedicated to the memory of her mom. William’s bass accentuates Katz’s fiddle and Earl’s guitar. This trio also plays on “PB Cracker Blues” named for the snack but definitely a treat for our ears. “Conan’s Farewell” is a dirge for Katz’s cat.

Katz is also a street musician. She and her busking partner were near the finish line of the 2013 Boston Marathon when the bomber terrorized the city. Everyone was emotionally affected and these words poured from Katz. Set to music “Runnin’ in Peace” is heart felt as sung by Blue. Earl and Williams round out the ensemble. This song was also included on Earl’s most recent album on Stony Plain records.

Four traditional fiddle tunes are included by Katz. On “Cruel Willie Blues” Ferrante accompanies on guitar. On “Johnny Don’t Get Drunk”, Ferrante switches to banjo. Katz plays the fiddle solo on “Piney Bridge”. The most beautiful traditional tune here is the “Old Mediera Waltz”. Played by Katz and Moore on twin fiddles it evokes a myriad assortment of images.

These are very laid back sessions, informal and intimate. Katz is a breath of fresh air.


Richard Ludmerer

Grateful Dead “Dave’s Picks Volume 10″

Grateful Dead Dave's Picks 10 coverGrateful Dead “Dave’s Picks Volume 10” Thelma, Los Angeles, CA 12/12/69 –

Dave’s Picks, Vol. 10: Thelma, Los Angeles, CA 12/12/69 is a snapshot of the band just prior to when they would enter the studio to record “Workingman’s Dead,” and they’re hitting on seven of the eight tracks (“New Speedway Boogie” was the only tune not performed) that would be included on what would become their first commercial success. Pigpen rides high leading on (mostly) blues and soul classics, checkout his charge with the band on a thirty-two minute cover of “Turn On Your Love Light,” and the exotic “Caution (Do Not Stop on Tracks)” for almost twenty-three minutes, that morphs into over seven minutes of “Feedback” and ends the night with a sweet rendition of “And We Bid You Goodnight.”

It was at this time that the Dead were just about to be firing on all of their God given strengths, balancing blues, jazz, soul, and making their unique contributions to improvisational acid rock. They were also developing a performance playlist where many of the tunes performed on this night would eventually become longtime mainstays of the hundreds of shows that would come afterwards: like “Me and My Uncle,” “Cumberland Blues,” “China Cat Sunflower/I Know You Rider,” “Casey Jones,” “Mama Tried,” “Good Lovin’,” and “Uncle John’s Band,” are well known successful war-horses that the band performed and developed for many years thereafter.

Musicians: Jerry Garcia – guitar, vocals, Bob Weir – guitar, vocals, Pigpen – organ, vocals, Tom Constanten – keyboards, Phil Lesh – bass, vocals, Bill Kreutzmann – drums, Mickey Hart – drums

Credits: Recording – Owsley Stanley, CD mastering – Jeffrey Norman

Early subscription versions from of Dave’s Picks 10 included a collectable bonus disc, I cannot comment about this bonus disc as it wasn’t included with the package I received. But I can tell you that if you are fortunate to find a copy of this single bonus disc, that it was recorded at the same venue, but one night prior to this three CD set. And it includes a twenty minute “Dark Star,” thirteen minutes of “St. Stephen,” that flows into nearly nine minutes of “The Eleven,” five minutes of “Cumberland Blues,” twenty-four minutes of “That’s It for the Other One – Cryptical Envelopment,” and seven minutes of “Cosmic Charlie.” Copies of this bonus disc can be found at the usual suspect sites like and Good luck and happy shopping!

For fifteen years Bob Putignano has been pivotal at WFDU with his Sounds of Blue radio show: – Previously a senior contributing editor at Blues Revue, Blueswax, and Goldmine magazines, and Music Editor for the Westchester Guardian. Putignano can be contacted at:

Bob Putignano:
Weekly Music Editor at: – NYC area Newspaper Now celebrating 15 + years on the air at WFDU

If you would like to purchase a copy of this CD click Below

The Band Courtbouillon

The Band Courtbouillon

Valcour Records


The Band Courtbouillon
The Band Courtbouillon

Courtbouillon is defined as “a preparation of salted water, white wine, herbs, and various other ingredients, in which fish, shellfish, or vegetables are cooked.”

The Band Courtbouillon
The Band Courtbouillon

The Band Courtbouillon was named after this broth used in Cajun cooking. The band won a Grammy at the 55th annual Grammy awards for Best Regional Roots Album. The album was released in 2011.

This super group is comprised of three principals each considered among the best of our Cajun accordionists and each the leader of his own band.

This is traditional Cajun dance music.

Steve Riley is leader of the Mamou Playboys. The band was formed over 25 years ago. My favorite of their albums is 1995’s “La Toussaint” which is a bit more rockin’ than some of their more traditional recordings. They have thirteen albums overall. They along with “Beausoleil” are among the genre’s most successful groups. Riley is also a member of the “Lil Band of Gold”.

Wayne Toups is the much heralded leader of “Zydecajun” the band formed in 1990. Toups is credited withcombining Cajun music with Zydeco rhythms. His music is Cajun rock as he is less the traditionalist. He has fifteen records to his name.

Wilson Savoy is the third principal member of Courtbouillon and the leader of the award winning Pine Leaf Boys. They have seven recordings.

Eric Frey, bassist, completes the band. Courtbouillon has included six traditional Cajun tunes and covers of songs by the Touchet Brothers, Iry Lejeune, Lawrence Walker, Johnny Credeur, Shirley Bergeron, and DL Menard. I’ll never forget seeing D.L. Menard, a Louisiana cowboy at the 1968 Newport Folk Festival. The songs are sung in French and frankly I don’t know the language. The listener however can feel the music’s affection as the lyrics are about love lost. It’s also impossible not to want to get up and dance.

Courtbouillon will be appearing at Lincoln Center on June 28th as part of the 2014 Mid-Summer Nights Swing celebration. This is a dancing room only show.

Richard Ludmerer


To Listen to and Purchase The Band Courtbouillon CD click below!!