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Cajun Dance Band

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Album Review

This is the first CD recorded by the popular Cajun fusion music group, Filé. The record was released in 1987, with the appropriate if not redundant title Cajun Dance Band, for in the Cajun culture of Southwest Louisiana, it is not a band if people don't dance. From the inception of their career, Filé has drawn the dancers with their good-time sound, with elements from such diverse genres as R&B, zydeco, and jazz. The material is bilingual: some tunes in English, some in French. On this record, the band travels across musical territory with ease from classics like Nathan Abshire's signature tune, "Pine Top Blues," to the "Catawomp Stomp." They sing of their cultural traditions in "Chanson du Mardi Gras" and "Allons Allez Chez Fred," a reference to the best known of all the dance halls in Southwest Louisiana. Fred's is hopping at 9 a.m. on a Saturday, starting out the all-day fais do-do that goes from bar to bar. That fact alone gives the Cajun music listener an appreciation for the importance of danceability in the music. For every two-step, there is a waltz, and this CD has those too, such as the classic " La Valse de Kaplan." This may make it up to purists for the CD's opening tune, entitled "Allons Rock and Roll." But that is part of the Filé sensibility, to mix things up in their unique gumbo of Cajun fusion.

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