Though the title serves as both a musical pun and a modest credo to live by, this is actually a live recording of exemplarily played traditional Cajun music without the “live, hot Cajun music” catchphrase emblazoned anywhere. Bayou Deville, led by frontman accordionist/fiddler Jonno Frishberg, saluted the end of the era of Marrero’s Four Columns’ reign as a Tuesday night dancehall and captured the best of a single performance. Though some selections are standards, “Les Dagos Sont Tout Malade” (“The Italians are Sick”) is more obscure, telling the story of a few Italians getting sick from rotten bananas. Ville Platte fddle luthier George Fontenot, who recorded it in the ’60s for Swallow, is the credited author, but the tune actually bears strong resemblance to a 1934 juré found in the Lomax archives.
In this unencumbered setting, Jonno’s beautiful, inspired tenor and John Dowden’s melodic fiddling are among the highpoints. Though Jonno mostly plays accordion, on “Lacassine Special” he pulls off impressive fiddle bow hops and then never repeats the feat again, instead opting for moderation and non-domineering showmanship. It’s also obvious that a certain chemistry unites the group, and that results in a collective, adaptable virtuosity and a situation where the love of the music rises above all else.