A brief history…
Zydeco is in the blood and traditions of Creole South Louisiana. These traditions are passed down from generation to generation within families who live and work in this unique part of the United States. Many established Zydeco greats started playing the music as children by watching what friends and relatives were doing, as well as listening to the popular players of the day. Morris Ledet definitely falls into that category.
Growing up as a young boy, Morris was taken by the power and ability of perhaps one of the greatest Zydeco players of all time, Boozoo Chavis. In those early days he used to go down to the local clubs where Boozoo was playing, push his way to the front and just stand, watch and listen. Morris would get home and work on that accordion until he could play all the famous Boozoo licks. The biggest thrill came to him in 1987 when he asked Boozoo if he could play a song. The “master” must’ve seen something special in him because he got his chance on stage that night.
After that, Zydeco was in Morris’ blood for life. He started playing local gigs and quickly developed a reputation as a solid player who had the fire. Between 1992 and 2008 he worked with his wife, Rosie Ledet, and developed one of the top touring Zydeco bands to ever play the music. Today, Morris has taken to finding his early roots as a front person and this debut CD stakes a claim to his return. His daughter Kasandra’s (“Kassy”) lead vocals are showcased on several tunes as well. This album marks her inclusion to the traditions of her culture. ~Randy Schultz
MORRIS LEDET & THE ZYDECO RAMBLERS
Swing That Thing
MAISON DE SOUL 1095
So often zydeco is the family business. Think: Chenier, Delafose, Carrier, and Broussard. Plus, of course, Ardoin, the gold standard. Those goodtime lineages now add Ledet to their list. Sure, the name is already dancingly familiar from sweetheart accordionist Rosie Ledet and her Zydeco Playboys scorching concert stages and recording studios just as mercilessly as any Louisiana or Texas dancehall. But SwingThatThing officially signals double trouble. After years of pumping bass as a Playboy, Morris Ledet resumes center stage, fronting his own fireball Zydeco Ramblers after reuniting with his accordion. In other words, the Ledets are back to being a doubleheadliner household. And likely soon to be a triple-headliner, now with their daughter Kassy debuting here as a Creole Siren just like her mother, seductively luring in listeners with “Swing That Thing” before really hiking up temperatures with her own “That’s What Makes It Hot.” Morris sings too, barking in both French and English. Though as bandleader and master groove generator, it’s that endlessly rifling squeezebox of his which refines to let heartbeats or feet rest. But if the groove is king, then carnal innuendo is often its royal language. So with a twinkle in their eye that’s anything but pure, “Ride My Mule” and “Move on down the Line” taunt. Eventually, though, such deep grooving makes lyrics dispensable, swapped out for simple, uncluttered chants (“Whoa Oh Bye”) or even disposed of altogether when bowing down to his boyhood idol with “Morris’ Boozoo Breakdown?” Now outflanked by two euphoric Ledet bands, Morris and Rosie can divide and conquer the Zydeco Nation twice as fast.
By Dennis Rozanski
MOJOWORKIN.COM / BLUESRAG: APRIL 2012