Clifton Chenier – Black Snake Blues (1967)


FrontCover1As with the blues, my favorite zydeco is the early stuff. As one of Clifton Chenier’s earliest albums, “Black Snake Blues” falls within the classic era. While sources conflict, we know that it came out in either 1966 or ’67. Released through Arhoolie Records, the album opens with the fantastic title track. It appears on a few Chenier compilations and for good reason. As the title suggests, ‘Black Snake Blues’ and the entire album is very bluesy. That said, ‘Let’s Talk It Over’ is straight-up zydeco. ‘Walking To Louisiana’ is a great tune featuring Chenier’s glorious accordion work. ‘Things Ain’t What They Used To Be’ is a slow blues tune. In contrast, ‘Wrap It Up’ is an upbeat shuffle. As would be hoped, there are a few songs like ‘I Love My Baby,’ that are sung in French. Much of the album plays zydeco with a strong infusion of country blues. As a notable exception, ‘I Got A Little Girl’ channels Chicago blues. Near the end of the song, it even sounds like the King of Zydeco lyrically references Robert Johnson’s ‘Sweet Home Chicago.’ Featuring bass and smokin’ electric guitar work, the tune makes for one of the album’s highlights. Along similar lines, “Black Snake Blues” makes for a strong Clifton Chenier album. (by Delite Rancher)

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Personnel:
Felix James Benoit (guitar)
Cleveland Chenier (rub)
Clifton Chenier (accordion, vocals)
Robert St. Julien (drums)
Joe Morris (bass)

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Tracklist:
01. Black Snake Blues (Chenier) 4.19
02. Let’s Talk It Over (Chenier) 2.58
03  Walking To Louisiana (Chenier) 3.23
04. Key To The Highway (Broonzy) 2.52
05. Things Ain’t What They Used To Be (Chenier)  3:05
06. I Got A Little Girl (Chenier) 2.55
07. Monifique (Chenier) 4.25
08. Johnny Can’t Dance (Chenier) 2.21
09. I Lost My Baby (in French) (Chenier) 3.20
10. Can’t Go Home No More (Chenier) 3.10
11. Wrap It Up (Chenier) 3.05

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