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Down Home On Dog Hill

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Album Review

Zydeco legend Boozoo Chavis may have been at the peak of his musical form when this album was recorded in early 2001, but sadly he was at the end of his physical reserves; the heart problems that had plagued him for several years caught up with him shortly after this album was recorded, and he died on May 5, 2001. But there is no sign of ailing health in the performances captured here. Whether delivering a familiar Chavis original like "Johnnie Billy Goat," a traditional instrumental like "Henry Martin Two Step," or surprise covers (which, on this album, include a slow-burning version of Arthur Crudup's "Rock Me Mama" and a gently rollicking rendition of "The Twist"), Chavis sounds absolutely in control of both his technique and his band. And as inspiring as Chavis himself is, that band is half the attraction on this wonderful album: slide guitarist Sonny Landreth is sitting in for the ailing Carlton "Guitar" Thomas, and David Greely is sitting in on fiddle, but bassist Classie Ballou, who self-effacingly guides every groove from his place at the back of the mix, is the band's real secret weapon. Overall, this album is a worthy legacy for a sorely missed star of Lousiana music.


Born: October 23, 1930 in Lake Charles, LA

Genre: Singer/Songwriter

Years Active: '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

Boozoo Chavis (born Wilson Anthony Chavis) was one of the pioneers of zydeco, the Cajun and blues hybrid originating in southwest Louisiana. Although his self-composed 1954 single, "Paper in My Shoes," was the first zydeco hit, Chavis was distrustful of the music industry and refused to perform publicly or record again until 1984. In an interview featured in the 1990 book, The New Folk Music, Chavis explained, "I got gypped out of my record. I get frustrated, sometimes. I love to play, but, when...
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Down Home On Dog Hill, Boozoo Chavis
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