Recommended Cajun, Louisiana Creole & zydeco music recordings
By Jim Hobbs
There are thousands of recordings of Cajun, Louisiana Creole and zydeco music. My database lists the ones I've located so far. Occasionally someone asks for a list of recommended recordings; here are many I like. Most are readily-available CDs, not hard-to-find 78s, 45s or 33s. Remember to listen online to Lâche Pas, a program featuring this music on radio station WWOZ 90.7 FM, New Orleans. The program airs locally on Sunday from noon until 2:00 pm, Central Time (GMT -6). Sorry, we cannot provide copies of songs played on the air. There's this copyright thing that prevents us. Buy some of these and keep the music going.
- Abshire, Nathan. Cajun legend . . . the best of Nathan Abshire. Swallow Records SW-CD-6061, 1991. The best of this accordion giant's Swallow recordings. His motto: "The good times are killing me."
- Balfa Brothers. Balfa Brothers play traditional Cajun music vol. I and II. Swallow Records SW-CD-6011, 1990. The group that led the Cajun music revival in the late 1960s and early 1970s.
- Daigrepont, Bruce. Paradis. Rounder Records CD 6090, 1999. From the fine musician and songwriter from Marksville, LA. He also plays nearly every Sunday evening at Tipitina's in New Orleans.
- Feufollet. En Couleurs. Feufollet [no catalog number], 2010. From traditional to rock-influenced, this album is from the best young group in the field.
- Riley, Steve and the Mamou Playboys. Friday at last. Swallow Records 6139, 1997. One of the best young bands, excellent CD filled with traditional tunes.
- Roger, Aldus and the Lafayette Playboys. Cajun legend. La Louisianne Records LLCD-1007, 1993. Fine traditional songs, with pedal steel guitar and many vocals by Philip Alleman.
- Beau Jocque. Git it, Beau Jocque! Rounder Records 2134, 1995. Live recording from the man who single handedly remolded zydeco music in the 1990s and wore out dancers with his six- and seven-minutes songs. Includes two great stage announcements.
- Chavis, Boozoo. Zydeco trail ride. Maison de Soul 1034-2, 1990. Had a hit with "Paper in my shoe" then quit music for years and came back with killer music.
- Chenier, Clifton. Sixty minutes with the king of zydeco. Arhoolie Productions, Inc. CD 301, 1986. The man who is credited with inventing zydeco, this collection is drawn from his excellent Arhoolie releases.
- Delafose, Geno. French rockin' boogie. Rounder Records CD 2131, 1994. Geno's first solo album, named for a Shirley Bergeron song.
- Delafose, John and the Eunice Playboys. Joe Pete got two women. Arhoolie Productions, Inc. CD-335, 1990. After Clifton Chenier's passing, this man was my facorite. He played like an angel (or the devil) and sang in French. Geno is his son.
- Ardoin, Amédé. I'm never comin' back. Arhoolie Productions, Inc. CD-7007, 1995. From the towering genius of blues-related Louisiana Creole music. He was the Robert Johnson of Afro-French music.
- Ardoin, Alphonse "Bois Sec" with Canray Fontenot. La Musique Creole. Arhoolie Productions, Inc. 445, 1966.
- Fontenot, Canray. Louisiana hot sauce, Creole style. Arhoolie Productions, Inc.. CD-381. 1992.
- Various Artists. La La : Louisiana Black French music.. Maison de Soul. 1004. 2012. The Carriere Brothers on eight tracks, and the Lawtell Playboys on six. Joseph "Bebe" Carriere and his brother Eraste "Dolon" Carriere represent a nearly vanished style of playing and singing with just violin and accordion. The Lawtell Playboys have a more modern sound with a full band. Recorded by Nick Spitzer in 1976 when he was Louisiana State Folklorist.
- Cajun & Creole music 1934 / 1937. I and II. Rounder Records. 11661-1842-2. 1999. Field recordings by folklorist Alan Lomax in Louisiana.
- Cajun Capers: Cajun Music 1928-1954. Proper Records (U.K.) 91, 2005. Four CDs. Great survey of the first few decades of Cajun music.
- Cajun Collection Disky Communications (Netherlands) HRCD 8086, 1995. Four CDs. Packed with fantastic Cajun music from Carol Rachou's La Louisianne label, mostly from the 1960s and 1970s.
- Folksongs of the Louisiana Acadians. Arhoolie Productions, Inc. CD-359, 1994. First released in 1959, this is an excellent collection of field recordings of Cajun music made by the former Louisiana state folklorist, Dr. Harry Oster. The one CD to have if you're going to a desert island.
The university prohibits me from linking directly to online stores, but if you've gotten this far, then you will have no trouble finding dealers online. I urge you to purchase from sources in Louisiana, so we can keep this music strong and available for a long, long time. One excellent retailer is the Louisiana Music Factory. Flat Town Music is part of the Ville Platte, Louisiana family that produces the Swallow and Maison de Soul labels. Here's some advice on purchasing out-of-print recordings.
Last edited July 16, 2012.