Creole Cruiser was without a doubt my favorite album of 1992, and still ranks as one of my top Zydeco releases. In my original review of the CD, I proclaimed Creole Cruiser to be a "masterpiece from start to finish...and now on my list of disks to pack for a trip to that proverbial desert island."
My opinion of Creole Cruiser hasn't diminished one iota in the intervening years. At the time August was a relatively new performer on the Louisiana Zydeco circuit, although not a newcomer to the music business.
August's music is heavily rooted in the blues and R&B that he has played since becoming a professional musician at the age of 12. Yet because his first language was Creole French, this album still has a traditional Zydeco feel to it. August skillfully mixes his various influences from one cut to the next, the common thread being his fantastic Ray Charles-like voice and the fact that every song on the disk is well-suited for dancing.
Two slow blues tunes, "Blind Man" and "Losing Hand," are highlighted by August's rich, bluesy vocals. "Undivided Love," a cover of a song by his former employer and mentor, the wild and crazy Esquerita, has enough hooks in it to spend time on the Top 40 charts if we lived in a more enlightened world. The frantic "When I Woke Up This Morning" will get your heart beating and your feet moving faster than you thought possible, as will the numerous traditional Zydeco numbers. Best among the latter group is "The Creole Song."
August showed that he was certainly no one hit wonder, as his second Black Top release, Sauce Piquante, was just as good.
- Bill Mitchell
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