Cow Island Hop, the fourth CD released by
Feufollet, features the most inventive and creative work they have done
thus far, even though most of the songs are traditional. The opening cut
lets us know that, while Feufollet is firmly rooted in tradition, they
do not imitate or try to revive the past. Their rocking version of Joe
and Cleoma Falcon’s “Prend Courage” takes a classic early recording and
makes its message of strength and optimism contemporary with our own
At least two of the other songs were also first
recorded during the same era. With Chris Stafford on vocals, Feufollet
delivers a hauntingly beautiful rendition of “Sur le bord de l’eau,” a
very old ballad that apparently originated in Brittany, was brought to
Acadie, and then traveled to Louisiana where Blind Uncle Gaspard from
Avoyelles Parish recorded it in the 1929 (the Magnolia Sisters have a
version, and French and Canadian groups also perform it). The song
describes a young woman who is lured aboard a ship by the enchanting
voice of a sailor. Too late, she realizes that her virtuous reputation
can never be restored. Stafford also sings the last cut on the CD,
Delma Lachney’s “Je m’en vas dan le chemin,” also first recorded in 1929
(Blind Uncle Gaspard plays guitar on the original recording).
Stafford also handles the vocals on Adam Hebert’s
“Blues de dix ans,” performed in country swing style with Richard
Comeaux on steel guitar. He teams with Anna Laura Edmiston in the
male-female repartee of “Jolie Fille,” a Cajun favorite from the Touchet
Among the cuts featuring Anna Laura Edmiston’s
vocals are “The Eunice Waltz,” played with an upbeat tempo, “Madame
Bosso,” and an especially beautiful version of “Chère
with Ivan Klisanin’s mellotron adding richness and depth to Chris
Segura’s fiddle melody.
The most surprising cut on the CD is “Femme l’a
dit,” discovered in the archives of the Cajun and Creole Music
Collection at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. In Feufollet’s
version, Anna Laura Edmiston’s seductive vocals set to guitar and fiddle
with the fluid rhythm of Chris Courville’s brush drumming transports us
to a Parisian jazz cabaret and then segues to New Orleans Dixieland
featuring saxophone, trumpet and even tuba.
The CD includes two instrumentals, Stafford’s “Chère
Beth” and the title cut by guitarist Josh Caffery. The story behind “Cow
Island Hop,” told in an account on
World Music News Wire, involves a wild evening at a Feufollet gig in
the tiny settlement of Cow Island southwest of Lafayette in Vermilion
Parish, inspiring both Caffery’s song and contributing to Jillian
Johnson’s magically eerie cover art in which a barely visible ghostly
outline of a map of coastal Southwest Louisiana is covered by a surreal
landscape of cows, a skeletal tree, a mysterious old house, hot air
balloons, and a biplane sailing past the moon: an exotic visual
invitation to experience a new realm that the music in its own way
manages to fulfill.
Other band members who played on the CD are Michael
Stafford on drums and Taylor Guarisco on bass (Philippe Billeaudeaux
replaced Guarisco in 2008 after the CD was recorded). Jimmy Breaux plays
drums on three cuts and Tiffany Lamson on one cut.
The CD was released in 2008 by
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