LeJeune: The Definitive Collection (Ace CDCHD 428)
Some names get bandied about... Robert Johnson, Iry LeJeune...you
know - well, possibly, you dont. But, just maybe
you should. Because LeJeune has that sort of status -
albeit only w/in cajun music itself. Admittedly, that
is an acquired taste, and yet one that is not so difficult
to pick up. Because, his complete recordings (all here)
- from 1948-1955 - range from the hectic - yet savagely
controlled - lock-in rhythms of such as I Went to
the Dance & La Valse de Bayou Chene,
to mournful outings that should touch even the coldest
(or most ironic?) of hearts...
But, of all things, perhaps, it is his knife-edge control
of rhythm that most easily resonates for the naive listener.
Just try Donnes Moi Mon Chapeau on for size
- a fitting thatll reduce most rockabilly to jelly
- because theres a pulsating intensity here that
any real fan of living music can respond to... Or, if
youre looking for that Nathan Abshire touch - you
know, yer actual accordian blues deal - give Grande
Bosco or It Happened to Me a shot...
But, then, ifn you do, itll surely be in the
knowledge that theres a hell of a lot else here
on offer for the taking...
Relentlessly rocking antiphonal descending riffs, carnivale
techo goes hyper-cajun acceleration (thrice!), bizarrely
mis-beating hearts doing something that sounds backwards/sped-up...the
possibilities are endless. Or...just try and imagine the
last...slowed-down/reversed - sans any obviously backwards
bits - and, then re-voiced as tragedy. Alternately, try
some Cajun hollerer/accordianist, confusingly riding on
the Velvet Undergrounds sole full-strength acoustic
session. [Hell, Ive said something like that far
too many times].
Because this one truly great - and varied - collection.
Cant say as it feels like an album to me, but -
hell - it is the only one to get...and so, get it you
should. The oldest two here, tracks 20 & 21, do seem
to hark back to something earlier, to be sure...and yet
theres no genuine break - just the incorporation
of the overt drive from fast to most - so, we can easily
ride through the changes...
Cause rock it, you should. This is a damnably great set
- and, even more rarely - the damnably great set by one
who produced no other...
Listen - savour - and, enjoy...since this was one great
Because, this is one for all of us...
John Henry Calvinist