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Grand Isle

4.6 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (March 1, 2011)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Valcour Records
  • ASIN: B004L5D5FM
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #73,528 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By John R. Farrish on April 13, 2011
Format: Audio CD
Moved to Louisiana a few months back and was excited about the prospect of learning more about Cajun and Zydeco music. One of my first discoveries was at a Cajun dance hall in Breaux Bridge where I got to hear this incredible band play for five hours non-stop at a ridiculously high energy level. It was Steve Riley and the Mamou Playboys, who I later found out have been staples on the Louisiana music scene for over twenty years. After kicking myself numerous times for not having known about them until now, I immediately went out and bought a number of their CDs and they did not disappoint. This latest one, however, raises the standard even higher than it already was. A tremendous mix of two-steps, waltzes, and even a bit of rock. The song "Pierre" is an amazing arrangement with a little of everything thrown in; the call and response of ths cotton fields, African rhythms, a bit of blues, and some simply briliant Cajun fiddle. "Danser Sans Comprendre" is just a rollicking good time, as is this whole album. Can't recommend it highly enough. There are two types of people in this world: those who love South Louisiana music and those who haven't heard it yet. This album is great for either group.
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Format: Audio CD
It's always intriguing to see where Steve Riley and the Mamou Playboys will evolve to next. Over the course of a storied 23-year career, the pendulum has repeatedly swung between traditional and progressive and back again. Now, with the group's first studio disc in five years, this CC Adcock-produced affair is adventurous, but much more cohesive than Adcock's previous co-produced/produced efforts Bayou Ruler and Happy Town.

Diversity and surprises are key here, most notably with "Chatterbox," a dusty, groove-bound Quintron song featuring Mr. Pussycat hammering the keys. Trailing close behind is the funky Caribbean "C'est l'Heure Pour Changer" that's replete with guest Jon Cleary's Hammond B3 squelchings and female backup singers sounding like a village chorus. The glowing rendition of French chanteuse Edith Piaf's "Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien" will likely catch many off guard. Riley not only overcomes an iconic gender issue but also nails its unapologetic, carefree sentiment over a fat bottom end and glistening string section.

Sonically, the multifaceted Playboys roam all over the map. On "C'est Ennuyant," Sam Broussard couples slide guitar harmonics with the Clavinet-sounding stylophone (a mini stylus-operated synthesizer) for a despairing, haunting effect. Broussard's "Pierre" initially resembles a juré but evolves into a near-tribal séance.

Yet, no matter which mode the Playboys elect to work in, the group still crafts smart songs with infectious melodies, like the bouncy title song that laments the BP gulf catastrophe and its devastating destruction. Also interesting are the occasional bilingual lyrics where French is infused with English (and vice versa) depending on which language certain phrases sound better in. Deep stuff, and it's reassuring to know that after 23 years growth still happens.--Dan Willging, OffBeat Magazine, March 2011 issue,[...]
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Format: Audio CD
Grand Isle is the latest music CD album from Steve Riley & the Mamou Playboys, with aid from their producer CC Adcock. Embodying the "survivor joy" of Cajun music - the ability to transform the experience of suffering into heart-rending beauty and enthusiasm for life - Grand Isle embodies human resilience, drive, and determination in its exciting Louisiana rhythms. Vintage recording approaches distinguish this highly recommended, one-of-a-kind album. The tracks are "Dancing Without Understanding", "Chatterbox", "This Is the Time for Change", "It's Lonely", "No Regrets", "Pierre", "Waltz of Sorrow", "Grand Isle", "Lyons Point", "Too Much", "Honest Papas Love Their Mamas Better", and "Au revoir".
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I've had the pleasure of seeing Steve Riley and The Mamou Playboys both in Louisiana, and in my hometown of Chicago.
Their music embraces the rich tradition of Cajun music, yet moves the music forward with unexpected touches- a hint of rock here, some funk there, etc. This album has a remarkable variety of sound, depth, and texture! It has quickly become one of my favorite Cajun albums!
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