Master Of The Cajun Accordion - The Classic Swallow Recordings Original recording remastered
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Nathan Abshire, with his blues-drenched style, is one of the most popular of the Cajun singers and accordionists. At long last, his 1991 2 LPs-on-1 Ace CD from Swallow Records, of Ville Platte, Louisiana, has been radically upgraded and remastered. Following major new research by notewriter Lyle Ferbrache, the compilation has been reassembled for much better listening pleasure into two distinct Abshire periods: with the Pine Grove Boys and with Dewey Balfa and the Balfa Brothers. The addition of the track French Blues completes the Swallow output. Other features are an introduction by John Broven (author of the book South to Louisiana); a detailed song analysis with input from Cajun musician/author Ann Savoy; a first-ever discography with personnel; captivating vintage photographs; and original label scans. Recorded in the mid-1960s through mid-70s, this is classic Cajun music at its very best and most accessible. The perfect set to accompany the recently updated The Balfa Brothers Play Traditional Cajun Music (CDCHD 1320).
Top Customer Reviews
Look no further: a cracking collection by one of the masters, which will not disappoint.
Good liner notes, excellent music, good CD transfer. What more do you want?
The is an absolute classic, full of beautiful music. Extensive notes included about the music too
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
The notes call this "Cajun Honky Tonk" and that should be a clue as to what is here. My first exposure to Nathan Abshire came many years ago when a good friend, David Ozenbaugh, played me this 1966 version of "Pine Grove Blues". He said: "Nathan is the Cajun Howlin' Wolf" which is a great description, but please understand he is not as powerful a vocalist as Wolf - there's only one!
What you get here is rough and tumble Cajun music that should appeal to blues and country fans. Instruments weave in, out and around each other, the vocals are declaratory, tempos are varied but have a "party" atmosphere at all times - fast or slow, and the sound is amazing. These have truly NEVER sounded better! Certainly kudos to Ace for their always stellar job, but also kudos to the crazy studio in Ville Platte that originally recorded these tracks - they are robust and full.
Whether mournful or joyous, each track is wonderful, and I suddenly want to learn French! This is a joy all the way through, raucous and rocking. It is not "quaint" or "something only folklorists and musicologists could like". Have a party, and throw some of these tunes in your mix along with "Green Onions" and "Knock on Wood" and you'll realize how vital these recordings are.
This truly supercedes all previous issues of the Swallow material, including the old one on Ace!
I want to say thanks to the entire Ace staff, and the freelancers who made this possible. This includes the expert John Broven and the excellent liner notes. There is even a song-by-song description in the notes. You can't go wrong here!
I am sad to say that few will read this review, as few will investigate Nathan. My guess is that Ace will be lucky to recoup its investment here, but if you have read this far I am certain you'll grab a copy. You may be the only person you know with it; your friends will envy you (or should!).
This is what a five-star release is all about.