Dwayne Dopsie is always stylin’ whether he’s kicking in on a hot, uptempo two-step, showing his roots as an accordionist and vocalist on a more traditional tune or swaying an old-school rhythm and blues groove. He does all of that and more on his latest release, Top of the Mountain, an album on which the son of the late, great Alton “Rockin’ Dopsie” Rubin challenges the (ridiculous) notion that most zydeco sounds the same. He also again proves himself to be a talented composer and delivers his tunes with tons of personality and dynamics.
As Dwayne does at his live shows, he pushes every tune to the max and starts out that way on the quick-paced “Roseliee.” There are some real aces on this disc including the absolutely compelling “Gotcha Baby on My Mind,” the rhythm of which almost suggests a reggae beat. He’s backed by his full band on this one—rubboard, bass, saxophone, guitar and drums.
The always immediately identifiable leader takes a detour into the straight-up blues on “Just a Man.” It’s a very successful journey that can proudly stand next to the works of noted bluesmen of the past and present.
The rhythm and blues that the King of Zydeco Clifton Chenier brought to zydeco music is represented here on “Everybody’s Talking,” the lyrics of which Dwayne sings in both English and French patois. He’s all over the accordion on this one. Then on “Voodoo Child” Dwayne funks up the session, leaning toward the Jimi Hendrix era.
Top of the Mountain musically expresses just why Dwayne Dopsie stands at the peak of zydeco today.