I got another interesting message from my Zydeco friend Ernest James who lives up in Kansas City Missouri. (See my previous blog January 2010.) He wanted me to review his new CD -3 Steps from La La.
I had become interested in this band when Valcour records made their previous CD the CD of the month, EVEN THOUGH THEY WERE NOT RELEASED ON VALCOUR RECORDS! That's what got my attention in the first place.
I was checking post on the Facebook feed and saw an interesting thing. Ernest James posted he was playing an Octoberfest gig and I laughed to myself. Zydeco music is a far cry from German Polkas. Then a few days later Ernest posted a funny statement. He a said a man approached him in the middle of the gig and this is what was said: (Copied from his FB Page ....)
" Quote from Tulsa man: "Heard what chu boys was playing right dare an I said, "Them German boys been eatin' some crawfish!"
*firm handshake at Oktoberfest
I got a full belly laugh at that. I was ready for the new CD. After communicating with Ernest back and forth, he sent it to me. I have it in the car CD deck and have been digesting every note of it song by song. It is VERY GOOD.
The Zydeco influence is still strong, but this CD is very complex. Starting out with the lead cut, "Shake it Sugaree," each cut is strong and well thought out. As I stated in the previous review of his two previous CD's, there is an undercurrent of melodies that are California influenced, such as the guitar work on "Sugaree."
My favorite cut, "Supposed to do" is pure blues. This is a song about evading temptation. I love it, especially when he professes to the seductress, " If you knew what I had you would understand......"
The intro to this song starts out with clear as a bell guitar work, has a silent moment then spins into low down gutsy groove. There are sophisticated drums and lead guitar licks that knock me out. It is hard driving, in a slow gutteral way that hits home. It slows down and then builds up suspense over and over again. You can see the mental struggle the singer faces and -SNAP- you feel his dilemma. The chorus is sung with two part harmonies which is brilliant.
Ernest is very good at writing lyrics with some tongue in cheek witty sexual innuendo. On "Woa Sally" he sings about Sally taking him "into into the kitchen and turning out the lights, then "turning on the stove," then into the basement, going "underground," and other two meaning phrases that are a delight. The lyrics are sung in a very catchy pleasing way. The second song with innuendo that I like is "Janitor" which starts out with a clever statement after a ringing doorbell, "Did someone call for the janitor?" followed with some clever two meaning lyrics.
Jaisson Taylor vocals ramps it up on "Zydeco Mother's day" with some hard core blues. If you like the Blues, you will adore this cut.
The whole CD is filled with extremely good guitar work, well thought out lyrics and harmonies, and attention to detail.The song "Red cross People" is an example of story telling, emotional insight into the plight of the rail riders and homeless in America, and the fact that there is little consideration for these people. It is told with a hint of humor. The mean, psychedelic guitar work at the end highlights the cluster-funk of angst these people must go through. There are layers upon layers of guitar work towards the end that express the jumbled up feelings that these people must endure. Jaisson Taylor sings one soulful line that really hits home at the end "I didn't hurt nobody....."
Ernest ends the CD with the Gospel standard, "Glory Glory" ramped up with accordion that is complex, pleasing, and sure to be played over and over again if you pop it into you CD player. This is like a cross between Dixieland and Zydeco woven together in a way I have never heard before. It is delightful.
Their CD release party will be held on November 30th, 2012 with their first live performance with their fiddler:
BB's Lawnside BBQ
1205 E. 85th Street
Kansas V City, Mo
You can access this CD by going to
the band's website is www.ejzydeco.com