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Album Review

In 1987, Wayne Toups hit the ground running with his breakout CD, Zydecajun. It was the name Toups made up to describe his new style of roots music. Added to the traditional Cajun music of his heritage was a high energy mix of zydeco, R&B, and rock & roll. The result was dance party music that had an immediate appeal to a younger audience, and to those who had no knowledge of Cajun culture and its traditional music. A Cajun rocker was born. Singing both in English and the traditional French of his culture, Toups reached out for a broader base. From the opening notes on the first cut, "My Friend, (Mon Ami)," the music is different than what had come before. Even though many of the tunes are still traditional waltzes, such as "Belizaire Waltz," and two-steps, like "I Went to the Dance (J'ai Ete Au Bal)," they have a rocker's sensibility. Toups bills his style as dance party music, and the stunning final selection on the CD is a case in point. "Les Zydeco Sont Pas Sale" is a traditional tune, which translates to "The Beans Have No Salt." The song is of special significance. Some historians say the words "les haricots" — beans — became "zydeco," giving the name to that genre of music. The tune also is a statement about poverty that can afford even no salt, and a lament about food without proper seasoning. Both are worthy topics for a Cajun song. But no one has ever played it like this before, with Toups' electrifying, minutes-long riff on the accordion. Poor and tasteless it is not. Joined by the likes of Michael Doucet on fiddle, Sonny Landreth on slide guitar, and Rockin' Dopsie Jr. on rub boards, this CD cannot go wrong, as music revolutionary Wayne Toups gives the listener a good taste of the spicy sound of Zydecajun.


Born: October 2, 1958

Genre: World

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Certainly one of the most exciting musicians to come out of Acadiana is Wayne Toups. From the moment he bursts on-stage with his accordion, Toups is going full blast and the show is only going up from there. In short, Toups will blow your dance socks off. His electrifying stage presence is due somewhat to his persona; often sporting a Hawaiian shirt, head band, and ponytail, he is a man in constant motion. It is also because he is a fantastic musician on his accordion, performing a brand of music...
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Zydecajun, Wayne Toups
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