Though there aren’t as many various artist Cajun-zydeco compilations being released these days, The Rough Guide to Cajun & Zydeco is one of the few that actually makes sense. Instead of featuring randomly selected tracks or historically based selections showing where the genre has been, music journalist/OffBeat contributor Herman Fuselier selected 15 tracks showing where Southwest Louisiana’s indigenous French music is now. Most selections, such as Horace Trahan’s blistering “Same Knife Cut the Sheep Cut the Goat” and Kevin Naquin’s crazy swing “T’es Jamais Satisfait (“You’re Never Satisfied”)” have garnered heavy airplay around Acadiana and are not just deep album cuts taking up space.
Several reveal ingenuity, such as Cedric Watson’s “Afro Zydeco” where masterful kora player Morikeba Kouyate plays in perfect sync with Watson’s accordion, and Jeffery Broussard’s “Return of the Creole” that starts out as an ancient waltz, then erupts into a galloping zydeco before ending quietly as a waltz. Feufollet’s “Femme L’a Dit” is another stunning example—an a cappella ballad culled from the ULL Archive transformed into a gypsy jazz arrangement with Dixieland-style horns and a boisterous finale.
If there isn’t enough quality music featured here, Chubby Carrier’s 2006 Bayou Road is included in its entirety as a bonus disc, making this a collection whose lagniappe even has lagniappe.