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Zydeco! Paperback – March 1, 1999


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Zydeco! + J'ai Ete au Bal (I Went to the Dance) Vol.  2 The Cajun and Zydeco Music of Louisiana
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: University Press of Mississippi (March 1, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1578061164
  • ISBN-13: 978-1578061167
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 8 x 10.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,866,075 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Zydeco is an extremely danceable music that developed among the Creole population of southwestern Louisiana and eastern Texas. It combines elements of Afro-Caribbean rhythms, blues, and Cajun music, is often sung in French, and may feature use of the accordion or the frottoir, a modified washboard. Zydeco had nearly died out when it was revived by its appearance on the soundtrack of the film The Big Easy and Paul Simon's album Graceland. This volume joins Michael Tisserand's The Kingdom of Zydeco (LJ 10/1/98) as one of the first book-length explorations of this American musical form. Sandmel, zydeco programming consultant for the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, traces the history of the music and draws upon interviews with some of the seminal zydeco performers, such as Clifton Chenier and Boozoo Chavis, popularizers like Stanley "Buckwheat" Dural, and practitioners of "zydeco nouveau," which incorporates the influence of rap and hip-hop. While not as in-depth as Tisserand's book, this work is a solid and handsomely illustrated introduction to zydeco. Recommended for public and academic libraries.AMichael Colby, Univ. of California, Davis
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From the Inside Flap

An inside view of this Louisiana Creole dance music in photos, interviews, and commentary

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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See all 8 customer reviews
Each picture tells a story.
Chris Zee Shutterbug
There is always a lot of controversy about the differences between Cajun and zydeco music, and the definition of Creole people.
Judy Williams
For anyone who reads this book, I bet you a six pack of Dixie that you'll soon be booking your flight to SW Louiaiana!
Stuart Klipper

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 9, 1999
Format: Paperback
As a zydeco novice, I really enjoyed this book. It is not an exhastive history of zydeco. Rather, author Sandmel covers the giants of the genre with chapters on Clifton Chernier, Boozoo Chavis and Buckwheat Zydeco. Shorter chapters cover some other musicans. Looks like Sandmel conducted personal interviews with most of his subjects.
Oliver's black-and-white photographs are terrific. While there are a few photos of the musicians performing, most are of a portrait nature.
The appendices include a discography of Louisiana music (more than just zydeco), Internet resources, etc.
I also recommend Let the Good Times Roll: a Guide to Cajun and Zydeco Music by Patricia Nyhan.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By John Preble on December 19, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Well maybe I channel for the original king of zydeco - maybe I don't. But hey this is the real book about this southwest Louisiana music. The photos are second to none. The photos really could be framed and hung on the wall of any art gallery in the country. Sure I know the photographer but anyone who knows me knows I tell it like it is. And this is a wonderful book. The writer, Ben Sandmel, writes like he is talking to a good friend. It is a fun read. Both the writer and the photographer must have had really good access to the musicians to come up with such original stuff.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Chris Zee Shutterbug VINE VOICE on February 22, 2009
Format: Paperback
I met Rick Olivier, the photographer for this book, a couple of days ago at a photo club meeting. Am I ever glad I went. Rick is gregarious, outgoing, funny and a darn good photographer. We gave him a microphone (which he warns against) and he promptly broke out into a rap like ditty about New Orleans life.

But onto the photographs and Zydeco. Each picture tells a story. And each picture has a story. Not just the technical aspects, although Rick Olivier does for Zydeco and the Delta Region what Ansel Adams did for Mountains and Yosemite. Each photo coveys not only the depth of the subject, but the relationship they have with the photographer.

Rick is much about the respect for the character, and the characters in turn respond by opening up. Be it a young girl on a first shoot, or a pro like Irma Thomas revealing what to me was a secret. There is fancy techniques or papers or film, mostly Tri-X. But here the grain of the film is the grit of the subject. Second big lesson I got was that Rick is not afraid to break away from the set formula. What you may think of as a perfect portrait shot is not enough for Rick. He actually enjoys an occasional distraction (like a man with a wheelbarrow in a background) as it adds reality. To him a visqueen covered window, room air conditioner with exposed coils, and line art wall decorations are an integral part of the smoky and sometimes mysterious aura that are Zydeco.

So enjoy your guided tour. This book may not be a money maker but certainly is a labor of love.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Judy Williams on January 27, 2001
Format: Paperback
I am from Louisiana and have listened to a great deal of our state's very unique zydeco and Cajun music. There is always a lot of controversy about the differences between Cajun and zydeco music, and the definition of Creole people. This book was so well-researched over a period of years, it helped me understand even better than before how zydeco was born and who started it. I particularly enjoyed the wonderful interviews with the musicians themselves, particularly people who are no longer with us, like Clifton Chenier and Beau Jocque. If you want to know about zydeco, this book is the next best thing to coming to Louisiana to listen for yourself!
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