Archive Files of Cajun, Creole, and Zydeco Musicians
Posted between 1999 and 2008

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BeauSoleil avec Michael Doucet:
             Alligator Purse

High res photos of BeauSoleil avec Michael Doucet posted on Flickr.

Photos above were taken at a CD release party
for Alligator Purse held at the Blue Moon Saloon
in Lafayette, LA, Jan. 24, 2009.

More photos from this set are post on Flickr.

Click here to return to the first page on
Michael Doucet and BeauSoleil.

Alligator Purse, 2009 CD from BeauSoleil
avec Michael Doucet

According to Yep Roc Records, which released BeauSoleil’s twenty-nineth CD titled Alligator Purse in early 2009, the project has its origins in a 2005 Hurricane Katrina/Rita benefit organized by Michael Pillot and held at Bard College in upstate New York. Two years later, Doucet asked Pillot to be the producer of his next CD, and a number of the musicians at the benefit became guests artists on the recording. 

They gathered during May and June 2008 at Clubhouse Recording Studio in Rhinebeck, NY, to produce an album that begins and ends with music from the roots of the Cajun and Creole tradition but that in between offers a unique musical experience, displaying Michael Doucet’s extraordinary creativity and originality, with a little help from his friends.

The CD opens with a Dennis McGee number, “Reel Cajun/451 North St. Joseph St.” (the address where McGee lived in Eunice) and closes with an Amédé Ardoin tune, “Valse à Thomas Ardoin.”  Along the way, there’s “Carrière Zydeco,” a medley of Creole tunes from Bébé and Eraste Carrière, and a Cajun standard, “Bosco Stomp.”

The rest of the CD is full of surprises. “Valse à BeauSoleil” is a traditional waltz accompanied by harmonica licks supplied by Lovin' Spoonful's John Sebastian (in a very different style than the music à bouche heard on some older Cajun recordings).  “Marie,” a Cajun standard, is transformed into swamp pop with sax solos provided by Andy Stein of Commander Cody and Asleep at the Wheel.

An obscure 1934 Alan Lomax a cappella field recording by Fenelus Sonnier is musically relocated to the Caribbean as "Théogène Créole." "Rollin' and Tumblin,'" a Muddy Waters song that, according to Yip Roc, Doucet heard Bob Dylan perform at the New Orleans Jazz Fest, gets Cajunized as “Rouler et Tourner.”

Doucet adds French lyrics for “I Spent All My Money Loving You,” which features Band keyboardist Garth Hudson on the Hammond organ. "Les Oignions" is a New Orleans Creole jazz tune that features Dixieland fiddle and trombone supplied by Doucet and Roswell Rudd.

Two songs are in English. “The Problem” strums a message about powerlessness in modern society, but it’s really more about thumping out an infectious guitar, fiddle and banjo beat (the latter supplied by Bill Keith).

Perhaps the most surprising guest on the CD is Natalie Merchant, whose duet with Doucet is old time bluegrass with a bit of Jimmy Breaux’s accordion thrown into the mix.

Is there a title cut?  Yes and no. “Alligator Purse” turns out to be a short jump rope ditty recited by Doucet near the end of the CD: another surprise on a delightfully surprising CD.


Click here for more pictures of Michael Doucet and BeauSoleil.

Click here for 2002 photos.

Click here for more information from Doucet's booking agent.


Posted 5-12-09

All photographs and text by David Simpson.

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