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May 1998

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Chris Ardoin and Double Clutchin'
Gon' Be Jus' Fine

Chris Ardoin and Double Clutchin'The debut CD by this young family zydeco band from Lake Charles, Louisiana barely qualifies as a Flashback choice, having just been released in July of 1997. But it somehow slipped by me last summer, and I finally found a copy of it just a few days ago. It's been out too long to qualify as a new release, but it's such a good disc that I just had to let you know about it.

15-year-old Chris Ardoin mans the accordion, while 27-year-old brother Sean plays drums. Both Ardoin boys share lead vocal duties.  Their zydeco bloodlines run deep, having been descended from the legendary Amédé Ardoin, the first Creole musician to record. Their grandfather was Bois Sec Ardoin, another early zydeco pioneer. Father Lawrence Ardoin recorded an album for Arhoolie Records a few years ago. So these young fellows come by their talents naturally.

Gon' Be Jus' Fine presents a much more traditional sound than I expected. While the Ardoins incorporate some funk into the music, they aren't quite as urban-sounding as labelmate Li'l Brian (see the review of his latest album from last year ). This is especially evident on the Ardoins' arrangements of two old family standards, the instrumental "Ardoin Two Step" and the waltz "Dimanche aprés midi," the latter being the only French song on the album. I was really impressed with Chris' accordion playing on the former tune; this young man has a real firm grasp on the zydeco traditions.

The title cut is another song which blends an older zydeco sound with a good, funky rhythm. Very nice. Chris does his best accordion work on "I Believe In You," an upbeat number with a snaky bass line. Just remember --- this kid was only 15 when these recordings were made.

While Chris handles most of the vocals, I really like Sean's deep, rich voice, especially on the opening number "Lake Charles Connection."

Chris Ardoin and Double Clutchin' is just another example of the wealth of excellent zydeco bands coming out of Louisiana and Texas. These young fellows can be as good as any of them. I don't believe that Gon' Be Jus' Fine received the acclaim it deserved upon its release. Go out and find a copy now.

--- Bill Mitchell

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