Despite its perplexing black skillet cover, Black Pot is Chubby Carrier’s most unusual and selfless release of his extensive discography. Admittedly, he didn’t have enough material to head back into the studio, but Bayou Swamp Band drummer Jayme Romain did, hence an album of all Romain originals. As a result, most of this is radically different from anything Carrier has ever waxed but better positions him in the contemporary zydeco market.
The first two tracks, the infectiously festive “Blackpot” and the slaying funky grooves of “No Time,” are absolutely killer. Romain handles the lion’s share of vocals with Carrier singing on only four tracks. Romain often exudes charisma with his originals touching various shades of modern zydeco, like the R&B-tinged “The Reason Why” with its R&B background vocals and the Temptations-recalling “Nothing Like My Girl.” A few tunes are classic enough to fit Carrier like a glove.
Obviously, Carrier isn’t the uptight control freak. On the breezy, soulish “Who You,” bassman Randall Jackson plays the smaller, single-row squeezebox, as opposed to Carrier’s beefy triple-row variety, for a change-up in sound. “Dancing with a Feeling” is novel when you realize both Carrier’s triple and Jackson’s single-row accordions are on the same track, which is practically unheard of.
By the time “Offshore Shuffle” rolls around, it all makes sense. It’s a tribute to Carrier’s late father/accordionist Roy who, for years, hosted Thursday night jams at his Offshore Lounge that helped many budding accordionists, like Beau Jocque, on their way. In a way, this is an extension of that.