Personnel: C.J. Chenier (vocals, flute, accordion, piano, organ); Tim Betts (guitar); Michael Morris (drums, background vocals); David Macejka (kalimba, percussion); Clifford Alexander, Jr. (washboard).
Audio Mixers: Skip Nallia; C.J. Chenier.
Recording information: Rock Romano's Red Shack Studio, Houston, TX (09/23/2010).
Editors: Skip Nallia; C.J. Chenier.
Photographer: Hall Puckett.
It's not easy to be the son of a famous musician, especially when that musician was the pinnacle of a genre. But C.J. Chenier, son of the great Clifton Chenier (the King of Zydeco), does a great job of following in his father's footsteps. He rocks up the zydeco a little more, and spreads the field a little wider, covering Tom Waits and Curtis Mayfield, as well connecting the short space between zydeco and blues with versions of "Baby Please Don't Go" and John Lee Hooker's "Dusty Road." There's a nod to history in a Boozoo Chavis classic, "Paper in My Shoe," and fiery versions of two songs by Clifton Chenier, where he exorcizes his ghost even as he pays homage. There are three of his own compositions, where he shows himself very much in the zydeco historical line, but on this album, at least, it's about the songs as much as the dance music, laying out his territory and establishing himself in his own right, away from the famous shadow. He's an excellent instrumentalist, one who knows how to use the accordion to the best effect in the music, and he has a crack band (including a guitar player who takes some sizzling, concise solos). Even on disc he works up a sweat -- live he must be quite something. This is an album that fully establishes him as a mature artist, with plenty to say, and the expression to say it. ~ Chris Nickson