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Alligator Purse
Format: MP3 MusicChange
Price:$8.99

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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on January 20, 2009
Formed in the mid-70s as a platform for Louisiana fiddler Michael Doucet's appreciation of his native Cajun musical traditions, BeauSoleil has become an integral part of the history it sought to provide popular resuscitation. More importantly, by interweaving Cajun, zydeco, country, blues, jazz, and other sounds, BeauSoleil not only sparked renewed interest in Southern Louisianan sounds, but moved beyond simple preservation (to the consternation of some critics) to innovation. Doucet's early studies in the UK and France provided exposure to the genre's classic songs, the music's European roots, and the techniques of seminal players. As the lessons were internalized the group has more freely inflected the classics with new flavors and drawn non-Cajun material into the fold. The group's latest (their 29th release!) includes collaborations with Natalie Merchant, Garth Hudson, John Sebastian and others.

Doucet comes out blazing on the instrumental "Reel Cajun (451 N. St. Joseph)," nearly sawing his fiddle in half as he pays tribute to Dennis McGee. Second line drumming provides an apt rhythm for the French translation of Muddy Waters' "Rollin' & Tumblin'," rendered here as "Rouler et Tourner." Julie Miller's "Little Darlin'," which originally appeared as a duet with her husband Buddy Miller on 2004's Love Snuck Up, has its backwoods country twang taken upbeat by Doucet and Natalie Merchant. Cooling down with the New Orleans stroll of "Marie" (supplemented by Andy Stein's superb sax solo) you start to feel this disc is sequenced as an evening's dance program. The band combines classic fiddle and accordion lines with the more contemporary sound of a flat-picked guitar on the waltz-time "Valse á BeauSoleil," and gives dancers a chance to promenade with "Bosco Stomp."

The mid-30's ballad "La Chanson de Théogène Dubois" is transformed with a Latin beat into "Théogène Creole," with the flat-picked acoustic guitar, accordion and fiddle each taking a spin in the spotlight. The group also works its magic on Bobby Charles' "I Spent All My Money Loving You," retaining the song's original Memphis soul with drums and organ, but adding Cajun flavors with accordion and a French translation of the verses. J.J. Cale's skiffle-blues "The Problem" gets a more straight-up treatment, with the original's shuffle beat emphasized in all of the instruments. Cale's lyrics of empty-headed leaders and passive followers was a potent indictment of Bush's failed administration, and remains a stirring call-to-arms. Amédé Ardoin's classic "Valse á Thomas Ardoin" offers a last call from the accordion and a fitting close to BeauSoleil's Cajun prom. [©2009 hyperbolium dot com]
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Sometime ago I was looking to see if Nathalie Merchant was doing a new album somehow, hope so...anyway I stumbled across an Alligator Purse on which album she contributed...of course needed that in my collection and I must say: Superb Album! I just love that sound, the energy and passion of these people!
Sitting there and listening to the songs my ears were triggered by the subtle and preluding sound of an organ...it sounded much like the Band used to do...and that of course had to do with wonderboy Garth Hudson!
Sifting through the text on the, well-designed cd-cover, I came across my Canadian hero, Garth!
Anyhow, if you really like music and support the French-Canadian and Cajun tradition than this album is a must have! Way to go Beausoleil...Lekker Zonnetje indeed!
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on June 21, 2009
BeauSoleil's Alligator Purse holds more than the usual loose change, comb, and tissues. When you open this handbag you'll do a double-take wondering how you acquired all those treasures!

BeauSoleil avec Michael Doucet have put out another danged good deal with their latest album, intentionally released last January 20th--the day that Barack Obama was sworn in as President of the United States.

I heard the band perform the first number on the album, Reel Cajun/451 North St. Joseph St., at the Cedar Cultural Center in Minneapolis a few weeks after their release party in Louisiana. It's a heavily flavored Cajun tune, with impressive fiddlin', but it's not quite my favorite on the disc.

Skip over to track #3, Carrière Zydeco, Go ahead, put your player on Repeat Single and listen for about five rounds. It takes me that long before I'm ready to move on to the next song. There must be something salty mixed into the tune because one listen is never enough. I want to hear the hum and build and resolution repeatedly.

I have a similar response to the sixth tune on the album. Valse à BeauSoleil has been recorded several times, but not with a harmonica. How that makes me giddy, I don't know, but it does. I hit repeat again as I mentally waltz about the dance floor to this number. I wonder which one of the band will take up harmonica now? On the album, John Sebastian performs the honors.

In fact, the album is replete with guest musicians. One of my very favorites is the Hammond organ played by Garth Hudson in track # 9. I Spent All My Money Lovin' You, sung in both English and Cajun French, brings a smile to my lips and a shimmy to my hips--almost too much fun, this one.

If you're like me and like to sing along, Les Oignons gives you a perfect chance. Whether you speak French or not, the words are easy to repeat and repeat loudly. I have a habit--bad?--of playing my music at a boosted volume with my windows down and singing "as if no one's listening." Yesterday someone from a nearby car wanted to know what I was listening to because "it sounds so happy!"

Bosco Stomp finds mixed reviews from me. Overall I like it, but David Doucet's singing sounds strained. I loved his voice on his solo album, 1957, but it here it comes off as though he can't quite reach the notes.

This CD sports guest appearances the likes of Andy Stein, Roswell Rudd, Natalie Merchant, and Happy and Artie Traum who add their own interpretations to what Cajun means. More than Cajun tunes however, Alligator Purse gives the listener a bit of bluegrass (Little Darlin'), a Caribbean-scented number (Théogène Créole), and a social critique (The Problem) to name some of the non-traditional songs.

My kids and I loved listening to Michael recite the nursery rhyme about Jim the Fish. No one could quite imitate the Cajun accented words "purse/nurse" however, though we laughed insanely trying.

I know my passion for Cajun is relentless, but who can blame me when I'm consuming Top-of-the-Line morsels such as BeauSoleil's Alligator Purse?
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on October 2, 2013
Again not a purse.when I searched for a purse this came up. I thought it was an authentic purse.I am disatisfied wih my search results
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on May 8, 2013
I bought this along with another CD after seeing Beausoleil live. I recognized several of the tracks and it's still the music I like. I can't tell you why and you should be able to listen to the samples to find out if you like it as well. Personally, I hope you do.
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My son is picky about his music, listening only to good classical music, or Beausoleil. We both listen to it on my car CD player because it's good driving music as well.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on February 18, 2009
the waltz version of the song on the cd isn't as good as the version on Looking Back Tomorrow
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on June 22, 2013
Love that swamp musici really like it and ive got friends from La.that like it to
Thank you very much
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0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on February 4, 2009
We love cousin Billy Ware here in Hammond, Louisiana. From your family, Billy...keep up the great work!! Hope to see you guys live soon.
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