Johnny Sonnier & Jimmy Breaux, A Tribute to Aldus Roger & More (Swallow Records)

On Johnny Sonnier’s first recording since 1992, he and Jimmy Breaux pay homage to the “King of the French Accordion” Aldus Roger, who led the Lafayette Playboys and starred on a weekly television show from 1955–1970. 10 of these dozen tracks are Roger staples (“KLFY Waltz”), including “Not Lonesome Anymore” and “One More Chance,” which were the first Cajun French songs ever written by swamp pop legend Johnnie Allan.

Since leaving BeauSoleil in 2012, Breaux hasn’t recorded much on accordion, until now, and his masterful, impeccable playing is worth the price of admission alone. Breaux-led instrumentals “Hick’s Wagon Wheel Special” and “Johnny Can’t Dance” are nothing less than throttling cruises in danger of attracting the next ticket-writing highway patrolman. He really pops on “Lacassine Special” while Sonnier nails some pretty driving rides himself. And speaking of Sonnier, he’s a rarity in that he sings and plays steel guitar concurrently, something most steelers don’t do since it requires your entire body, even knees, to play. Altogether, it’s good throwback dancehall stuff that flows on the marching waltzes and features great interaction on the swamp popper “Marie.”

Originally, Sonnier intended this to be 10 songs but Swallow Records’ Floyd Soileau preferred a dozen so Sonnier added early tunes “Chere Alice” and honky-tonker “A Baby Again,” where he sings with the swagger of a young Johnny Paycheck. Hearing the present day and vintage Sonnier indicates his voice has weathered over time but it’s still unvarnished and genuine as can be.