QUEEN IDA. COOKIN' WITH QUEEN IDA, CONSIDERED (1989): Getting that bon temps rouler-ing

 |   |  2 min read

QUEEN IDA. COOKIN' WITH QUEEN IDA, CONSIDERED (1989): Getting that bon temps rouler-ing

Before Ry Cooder "discovered" Cuban music for a mainstream audience with the Buena Vista Social Club (album/tour/film) there was cajun which was enormously popular for a while and artists like BeauSoleil, Wayne Toups (who came the New Zealand), Jo-El Sonnier and other became well known.

An off-shoot of the cajun connection was zydeco which also emerged out of Louisiana.

Like cousins, cajun and zydeco were driven by accordion and the zydeco stars included Clifton Chenier, CC Adcock (of Lil Band of Gold), Rockin' Sydney, Rockin' Dopsie and . . . Queen Ida who came from Lake Charles where her Creole family spoke that distinctive Louisiana style of French.

She was Ida Lee Lewis but after being chosen as a queen at a Mardi Gras celebration she adopted Queen Ida and – after playing in her brother's band – got her own Bon Temps Zydeco Band together.

With one of the few women in zydeco bands at the time, they were an instant success and played jazz festivals, at Mardi Gras and cajun/zydeco festivals, Saturday Night Live and – with her son Myrick “Freeze” Guillory also on accordion – they presented the rocked-up bon temp style of zydeco with a touch of country and Tex-Mex just to keep the party jumpin'.

This album pulled from the shelves at random for consideration brings in saxophone, country-style guitar (on 1-10 Express with guest Gary Myrick on slide), violin and a lot of dancing sounds.

Screen_Shot_2021_09_16_at_5.00.31_PMThey start as they mean to go with the opener Zydeco written by blues guitarist Lonnie Brooks: “Down in Louisiana where I was born, zydeco down there all night long . . . down on the bayou . . .”

There's a fairly mundane ballad Love is the Answer (one of five songs written by son Myrick) which is for close dancing, but it's the upbeat songs like La Bas 2 Step, Dancing on the Bayou and Hard Headed Woman (with hard rock guitar) where the real zydeco spirit moves them.

There's another breathing space when they do the standard The Ranger's Waltz and the album closes with Myrick's toe-curling, loved-up r'n'b saxy ballad Lady Be Mine ("girl, you makin' me real crazy . . .")  which seems beamed in from another album, genre and time.

51ZZHXDG7WLAfter a while cajun and zydeco albums can broadcast on a narrow bandwidth and this can be like that, although those steps sideways, notably the reggae-flavoured Dancing on the Bayou, add interesting dimensions beyond the washboard and accordions.

You'll not be surprised to learn that Ida was an accomplish cook (isn't everyone down in Louisiana?) and the title of this album coincided with her cookbook of the same name.

The award-winning Queen Ida is, at time of this writing, still alive at 92.

That creole cookin' is obviously good for your health.

.

You can hear this album on Spotify here

.

Elsewhere occasionally revisits albums -- classics sometimes, but more often oddities or overlooked albums by major artists -- and you can find a number of them starting here



Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   The Album Considered articles index

YOKO ONO: TAKE ME TO THE LAND OF HELL, CONSIDERED (2013): As ever, Yoko is as Yoko does

YOKO ONO: TAKE ME TO THE LAND OF HELL, CONSIDERED (2013): As ever, Yoko is as Yoko does

As endearing as it is idiosyncratic, as brilliant as it is bonkers, Yoko Ono's 2013 album Take Me to The Land of Hell (with the Plastic Ono Band) mostly served to remind what a unique artist she... > Read more

GEORGE SHEARING AND MEL TORME: AN ELEGANT EVENING, CONSIDERED (1985): Moonbeams and dreams

GEORGE SHEARING AND MEL TORME: AN ELEGANT EVENING, CONSIDERED (1985): Moonbeams and dreams

In 1988 pianist George Shearing and singer Mel Torme appeared at the New Zealand International Festival of the Arts in Wellington. As a journalist I was there to cover it and scored interviews... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

Various Artists: Soul Sok Sega (Strut/Southbound)

Various Artists: Soul Sok Sega (Strut/Southbound)

A couple of weeks ago we pulled a track from this thoroughly enjoyable (and not a little confusing) compilation to post at From the Vaults.  But this double vinyl (with a CD disc and... > Read more

THE BARGAIN BUY: The Meters; Original Album Series

THE BARGAIN BUY: The Meters; Original Album Series

When the Funky Meters -- the trickle-down of this band -- played the Powerstation in Auckland about three years ago, the New Orleans grooves just didn't stop. But, as I said in this review,... > Read more