Listen Up: Wednesday, September 26, 2007
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PHOTOS: 1
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
Red Stick Ramblers

Made In the Shade
(Sugar Hill Records)

By Tom Geddie

Listening to the Red Stick Ramblers’ new album, Made In the Shade, you may get the feeling you’re at a shade-tree party in their native Southern Louisiana, which is no accident. The Lafayette quintet’s gumbo-in-a-cast-iron-pot mix of Cajun, swing, and Western Swing spiced with a lot of other zounds is made for good times and dancing. Even the original Cajun murder ballad, “Les Oiseaux Vont Chanter,” with its deep, dusty, folk-y roots, has a dance beat.
In “Katrina,” an original mountain blues song written by two band members who housed evacuees from that storm, the lament “I need water, I need bread” becomes a sensible, fortifying Big Easy solution: Celebrate.
Among the originals are interpretations — not straight covers — of the Count Basie Orchestra’s “Evenin’,” Louis Armstrong and Cab Calloway’s “Some of These Days,” Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys’ “Don’t Cry, Baby,” and Clifton Chenier’s “Hot Tamale Baby.”
The only one of the 12 songs that doesn’t fit the joyeux vibe is the closer, a nearly 10-minute-long original instrumental called “The Smeckled Suite” — it sounds like some sort of Middle-Eastern gypsy meditation. It’s a cool departure but, on a hot album, seems a little out of place.
During the recording of Made In the Shade, the Red Stick Ramblers blended in a bit of piano and accordion to go along with their usual arrangement of twin fiddles, upright bass, drums, and guitar. The outcome, right down to the often-shouted, nearly hoarse vocals, is authentic and a lot of down-home fun.


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