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Buckwheat Zydeco - Lay Your Burden Down

Alligator Records

Buckwheat Zydeco (aka Stanley Dural) leads the hottest zydeco band around and is a bona fide American music legend. He is the preeminent ambassador of Louisiana zydeco music and is celebrating 30 years in the business with his first release on Alligator Records Lay Your Burden Down.

This latest effort is the most ambitious, varied, and deepest of BZ’s career and shows his vocal, accordion, and organ skills in as good a light as they have ever been seen. The album also features five new Buckwheat originals along with some reinterpretations of songs fans might not expect him and the band to tackle. The album opens with “When The Levee Breaks”, which classic rocks fans associate with Led Zeppelin but really dates back to Memphis Minnie. The track moves from a blues lament to a two-step, giving it an almost ‘jazz funeral’ vibe.

Another successful cover is BZ’s reading of “Let Your Yeah Be Yeah” by Jimmy Cliff, which is sweet and soulful. Other writers covered here include Captain Beefheart, Bruce Springsteen, Warren Haynes, and J.J. Grey. Special guests performing on the CD are Haynes, Sonny Landreth, and Trombone Shorty.

Lay Your Burden Down, produced by Steve Berlin of Los Lobos who also plays on the disc, pushes the boundaries of zydeco/roots music in a positive way and shows how much commonality there really is amongst the American musical styles. This is the way the old-school music we all love is going to survive and flourish in the 21st century: by bringing new elements into it, which turns new fans on to it, and making everyone realize that, no matter what type of music it is, a master like Buckwheat can transform all of it into pure bayou soul.

It may have been 30 years in the making, but Buckwheat Zydeco has turned in the record of his life and it will be fun watching this music make its way around the world.

Reviewer Mike O'Cull is a noted Chicago music writer and Blues Blast contributor. Visit his MySpace page at:

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