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Album Review

Although only a mere 15 years old at the time of this 1997 release, Chris Ardoin was already somewhat of a veteran of zydeco music with two previous albums for local Louisiana labels to his credit. He's also a member of one of zydeco's most established musical families: he's the grandnephew of Amadé Ardoin — the first Cajun or Creole musician to record in the 1920s — and the grandson of Alphonse "Bois Sec" Ardoin. With his brother Sean on drums and vocals and Gabriel "Pandy" Perrodin, Jr. on guitar (son of bayou guitarist Gabriel "Fats" Perrodin, aka Guitar Gable, who played the buzzing riff on Slim Harpo's "I'm a King Bee"), Tammy Ledet on rubboard and Derek "Dee" Greenwood on bass, they forge a new chapter in zydeco with a sound that mines new beats and grooves from reggae to hip-hop while keeping all firmly grounded in their Creole roots. The Ardoin brothers' harmony vocals add a fresh twist to the sound as well, sounding especially fine on the title track, "I Don't Want What I Can't Keep" and the blues-rocker "I Believe In You." There are traditional numbers here, including the frantic workout of "Ardoin Two Step" (a version of the family's "Amede Two Step") and the old-time waltz "Dimanche apres midi (Sunday Afternoon Waltz)," which Sean sings in the original French. But the true highlights are the more forward-looking pieces, like the college chant stomp of "We Are the Boys" (which appears in a special "Bad Boys Dance Mix" version at the end as a bonus track), "Lake Charles Connection" (sporting a wild guitar solo from Perrodin) and "When I'm Dead and Gone," perhaps zydeco's first song about the apocalypse. This is dance music of the highest order, wedding modern funk grooves to the basic fun core of the music's roots. If the Ardoin brothers and their band are truly the future of zydeco, then the future is in very good hands and the dance floor was never fuller.

Gon' Be Jus' Fine, Chris Ardoin & Double Clutchin'
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