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My Suitcase Is Always Packed

Red Stick Ramblers

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Album Review

Cajun roots rockers Red Stick Ramblers bring plenty of panache to their combination of Louisiana two-step, Texas swing, early jazz, bluegrass, country, and R&B. They may not be honky tonk men, but in the words of Johnny Horton, "they're living fast and dangerously" and they do have plenty of company, as they fill juke joints, nightclubs, and festival stages with their highly charged, musically adventurous presentations. The 13 tunes they present here are mostly band originals, most road tested, and all laid down live in the studio with minimal edits or overdubs. Blake Miller's exuberant accordion pushes "Je T'aime Pas Mieux" out of the gate at a gallop as Kevin Wimmer and Linzay Young trade hot fiddle solos while delivering a tongue-in-cheek lyric about a no-good woman. Bob Wills was the obvious inspiration for "My Suitcase Is Always Packed," an easy swinging tune with fine ensemble work, with Chas Justus' chiming guitar standing out. "Barnyard Bachelor" brings to mind a countrified Cab Calloway with its Hi-De-Ho vibe and raucous group vocals. "Drinkin' to You" is a country-meets-swing tune that drops a quote from George Jones into its over the top tale of booze and heartache. Dave Giegerich adds a blue pedal steel solo to complement the fiddling of Wimmer and Young and Justus' jaunty guitar. Justus growls out the Dixieland-flavored "Morning Blues" with a rusty, nasty tone that sounds like a wild man crawling out of the crater of a monster hangover. His slide guitar and Bob Willoughby's piano contribute some extra drunken swagger. The band shows off a mellow side on "Lay Down in the Grass," a jazzy, faux '30s ballad with lazy, sun-drenched lyrics and a hint of Gypsy jazz in the fiddle work. The Ramblers pay tribute to their roots with the Touchet Brothers' "Old Fashion Two Step," a showcase for Miller's accordion and the twin fiddles of Wimmer and Young. "La Valse de Meche" is an early Cajun hit by Sidney Brown, one of the finest accordion makers in Louisiana. Justus adds another inventive country-flavored guitar solo to the party. The Red Stick Ramblers have been playing together for less than ten years, but they sound like seasoned vets. They capture all the fire of their live gigs on this fine disc. ~ j. poet, Rovi


Genre: Country

Years Active: '00s

The Red Stick Ramblers are a diverse group of six men who can play the haunting and heart-tugging traditional Cajun music of generations past and make it just as enjoyable and memorable for today's youth as it is for their grandparents. They intersperse the traditional tunes with fare they call "Cajun gypsy swing." Lead vocalist and fiddler Linzay Young, a Louisiana native who hails from Eunice, is a Louisiana State University anthropology major. Fiddler Joel Savoy attends the same school and is...
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My Suitcase Is Always Packed, Red Stick Ramblers
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