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

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The Red Stick Ramblers:
 My Suitcase Is Always Packed

High resolution photos of the Red Stick Ramblers are now posted on Flickr.

Check out the band's official web site or go to the band's MySpace page,

Go to Sugar Hill Records or to the Red Stick Ramblers' Official Site for more on the CD.

As with the other Red Stick Ramblers CDs, their 2009 release, My Suitcase Is Always Packed, is going to appeal to a much wider audience than Cajun music fans. But anyone who appreciates new Cajun songs with fresh, inventive lyrics and infectious melodies is going to really enjoy Linzay Young’s original Cajun compositions.  “Je t’aime pas mieux” is a rollicking concession to the nitty gritty of relationships: “Et si la prochaine femme sera pas mieux que tois, j’vas prendre ma derničre chance pour la derničre fois.” “Nonc’ Yorick (La Bataille de 1916)” is not a typical Cajun song, but it tells a real story that is part of the Cajun heritage of life lived at full throttle. When Hivrel Brunet, “un malfacteur bien connu,” got in a fight with Linzay Young’s great uncles Yorick and Dutile, Nonc’ Yorick pulled out his knife “et commence de couper” until Brunet “r’semblait un torchon dechiré.” Yorick then shot one of Brunet’s friends three times with a pistol.  (According to the liner notes, Yorick later wound up in prison after getting into a gunfight with the police chief in downtown Eunice.)  Linzay’s fast-paced balladeer vocals roll along smoothly accompanied by fiddle, banjo, guitar, and triangle.  The CD also includes two Cajun standards, Willis Touchet’s “Old-Fashioned Two-Step” and Sidney Brown’s “La Valse de Meche,” in which the futility of love drives a man to retreat to the marsh. Blake Miller plays accordion on the two cover songs and “Je t’aime pas mieux.”

All of the English songs were written by members of the band.  The title cut, “My Suitcase Is Always Packed,” offers more of the best in easygoing swing that everyone has come to expect from the Red Stick Ramblers, with Linzay’s vocals gliding along matched by the interplay between Kevin Wimmer’s fiddle and Chas Justus’ guitar, while Glenn Fields makes music and not just percussion on drums. The pace is even more laid back on “Lay Down in the Grass” and “Doggone My Time.”

“Goodbye to the Blues” and “Drinking to You” create a similarly pleasing effect country and western style (with Dave Giegerich on steel guitar). Twin fiddles cry together on “Bloodshot Eyes.”  Equally pleasing but more low down are “Morning Blues,” featuring Kevin Wimmer’s gravelly vocals that express a kind of joyful misery, and bassist Eric Frey’s “Why, Now Baby?” with high harmony vocals contributed by Tim O’Brien.  The last cut, “The Barnyard Bachelor,” is in the tradition of old-time swing in which Linzay is answered by a chorus from the rest of the band.

This CD confirms that no band in the world can match the Red Stick Rambler’s uniquely appealing blend of Cajun, swing, country and western, blues, and ballads.

The band is shown at the 2008 Black Pot Festival, plus one shot of Linzay Young at 2008 Festivals Acadiens.

Posted 5-19-09.
All photographs and text by David Simpson.

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