The Revelers, Get Ready (Independent)

The Revelers’ second full-length effort and first all original affair should dispel any remaining association with its previous incarnation the Red Stick Ramblers. With its swamp pop focus and Cajun-zydeco forays, the group represents South Louisiana music much more comprehensively than the venerable Cajun western swing aggregation did. But instead of just following familiar footsteps, the Revelers establish their own voice within the framework. Five of the six members wrote/co-wrote a minimum of two tunes each, with accordionist Blake Miller contributing four Cajun dancehall and zydeco-flavored numbers, including the sentimentally stirring “Pus Whiskey.” Eric Frey’s “Just When I Thought I Was Dreaming” has the trappings of classic swamp pop. Chas Justus’ “Single Jeans” rocks with great buzz-cutting guitar licks.

Whether it’s swamp pop or Cajun, every song fits the South Louisiana paradigm well. Diversity and deepness characterize the arrangements, such as Miller’s Tex-Mex stylings on “In the Proof” and the several rides he and saxophonist Chris Miller (a historically unusual combination) take together. There’s even a ska section on “Toi, tu veux pus me voir” while “Please Baby, Please” throttles with elements of crunchy rural zydeco.

Other things also contribute to the Revelers’ adherence to the framework, such as Glenn Fields emerging as a singing drummer in the tradition of Warren Storm and Clint West. But unlike many a swamp pop band equipped with a single vocalist, the Revelers’ four alternating vocalists keep the proceedings shifting and flowing.

Like its previous incarnation, the Revelers couldn’t be ambassadors of South Louisiana music without being groove bound and dance compelling. Fortunately, some things never change.

  • Paul Goode

    I just saw these guys at Ashland Coffee & Tea, near Richmond (VA). Terrific show, and this album captures it.