REVIEW: Joe Warren Cormier – Pure Cajun

I’ve been fond of Cajun music for a long time, and one of these days I’ll write more about my memories of Cajun Country, that area of Southern Louisiana famous for bayous, music, and larrupin’ good food. But my purpose today is to review a (sort of) new album from Cajun performer Joe Warren Cormier and his guys.

Pure Cajun, due out soon on the Swallow Records label (Div of Flattown) is actually a re-mastered version of an original album from 1990. And although I’m not going to reminiscence today about my time in Cajun Country, I am going to draw on that experience for my first comment about this album. Cormier and the boys offer exactly the kind of music you’ll hear in the best of the Cajun dance halls, complete with squeeze-boxes and fiddles. All that’s really missing is a mob of happily perspiring dancers, swinging around and having the time of their lives.

As the album title suggests, Cormier is pure Cajun, growing up as part of the culture and its music. (He even married a Cajun girl!) Professionally, he first gained notice back in the 1980’s when he had a regional hit with one of his own compositions, “‘T Bec Do”, a song that has since been covered by various other artists.

That tune is included here, as is another popular Cajun classic, “Jolie Blonde”, a song that has been in the repertoire of every Cajun musician for many years. Cormier and his guys do just fine singing about the legendary “pretty blonde”, as they do with all the songs here. There are a few instrumentals – one I especially liked was “Pop Rouge” – but most of the cuts feature Cormier’s strong, clear voice, interspersed with instrumental passages.

If you’re new to Cajun music in general, I should mention that in any collection of songs most of the singing is in French, and that’s the case here too. However, my lack of French has never interfered with my enjoyment of the genre and I’d be willing to bet that you’ll be the same. If you do speak French, so much the better!

Try some clips (below) and see if you can resist the music — betcha can’t.

01- Cinquante Piastres
02- Baton Rouge Waltz
03- Pop Rouge
04- Jolie Blonde
05- C’est Tout et C’est Bon
06- Merci Pop
07- T Bec Do
08- Notre Mardi Gras
09- My Promise
10- Cajun de La Capitale

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