Hangout Music Festival in Gulf Shores, AL is May 16-18, 2014 - www.hangoutmusicfest.com

Rue Boogaloo

Rue Boogaloo

(Rue Boo Records)

Rue Boogaloo, album cover

Rue Boogaloo morphed out of Henry Gray and the Cats when band manager/musician Andy Cornett—who sadly passed away shortly after this release—formed a side project with songwriter-guitarist Marty Christian and jazz drummer Frank Kincel. When Cornett left early on due to medical reasons, Buckwheat Zydeco’s monster bassist Lee Allen Zeno was brought in. Buy on AmazonBuy on iTunes
After Cornett returned, the band became a quartet with the versatile Cornet honking on harmonica when this eponymous debut was cut. Overall, it’s an alternative venture relative to the current state of mainstream blues with Rue Boogaloo standing smack dab in the middle of where Jimmy Reed, R.L. Burnside and the Meters would all crash and smash. While Boogaloo swings (“Rue Run”) and shuffles (“Know What to Do About You”) like crazy, its foundation revolves around the interlocking rhythm section of Zeno and Kincel, masters of moving the beat around while keeping it synchronized. The slow instrumental “Creeper” is the best example; Christian plays on top of a slippery, funky beat while Cornett has an uncanny sense of when to come in with scorching, buzz saw-slicing solos. Although Christian serves as chief songwriter and varies his styles among the various blues idioms, soul and Americana, at the same time Boogaloo’s groove is highly danceable, thereby fulfilling another Southwest Louisiana live music prerequisite. Still, the real challenge will be gaining higher ground as some momentum has been lost with Cornett’s passing. Worth checking out.