Corey Ledet comes from zydeco royalty. Great granddaddy Gabriel Ledet played upright bass with legendary New Orleans jazz trumpeter Willie “Bunk” Johnson. Grandfather Buchanan was zydeco’s first drummer, boasting stints with Clifton Chenier and Rockin’ Dopsie, and cousin Hypolite Charles played cornet with Louis Armstrong.
For his 14th outing, Corey Ledet Zydeco, Ledet pays homage to his family’s contributions to the music and to some of the legendary zydeco performers who inspired him.
“This Is All I Want” is in the spirit and soundscape of Boozoo Chavis, bouncing around like a saddle-worn outtake from Chavis’ 1990 rowdy gem Zydeco Trail Ride. Trail rides are a zydeco tradition held around Mardi Gras in Louisiana and Texas to celebrate Creole culture by hosting a rowdy horseback trek through the woods that culminates in a multi-day musical throwdown. Ledet whips up the faithful into a lather, barking like Boozoo on another of his classics, “Dog Hill.”
Granddaddy Buchanan gets a shout-out on the intro to “Buchanan Ledet Special,” a rollicking dancehall floor-filler with Ledet’s squeezebox spraying stutter-stepping soundbursts like machine-gun fire.
Ledet sings it in French and slaps the title “Mon Marche” on it, but Fats Domino fans will recognize the melody as “I’m Walking,” Ledet giving it a bit more strut and a little stiffer backbeat than Domino’s classic 1957 version.
Ledet just flat tears up Joe Turner’s 1955 jump blues classic “Flip, Flop, and Fly,” barreling along at warp speed and chewing up the scenery with the help of some soulful blues harp from Grant Dermody and some rockabilly-flavored guitar courtesy of Julian Primeaux.
“It’s Gonna Be Alright” is swamp pop perked up a bit with Ledet’s exhortations and some spirited stick work from drummer Gerald Delafose.
Ledet reveals that “Nona’s Hot Step” was done as a one-man band project due to social distancing concerns as he and the band were trying to finish the record last spring, as the world fell into a pandemic. He tells listeners not to worry because the engineer was waaay on the other side of the building, so he was gonna finish off the album by his lonesome on accordion with this lively two-stepper.
Ledet does his ancestors and his influencers proud on this one, heating up the joint with some red-hot zydeco that defies the virus, sending out healing vibes fit to run the pandemic out of town.