Sean Ardoin – Came Thru Pullin’
Zydecool Records – 2020
10 tracks; 38 minutes
The Ardoin family started in the Zydeco business several generations back with Amédé Ardoin whose songs are the basis for a lot of Cajun and Creole music. Sean Ardoin is a direct descendant of Amédé, his father Lawrence ‘Black’ Ardoin also being a musician. Sean initially performed in Double Clutchin’ before starting on a solo career, during which he has issued nine previous albums. His 2018 release Kreole Rock And Soul was nominated in the 2019 Grammy Awards category “Best Regional Roots Music Album”, and he was also nominated in the category “Best American Roots Performance” for the song “Kick Rocks”. Following the success of Kreole Rock And Soul Sean now uses that name for his music and band. For this album Sean revisited eight songs from his career and re-recorded them with what he calls a combination of ‘tradition, talent and creativity’. On the album Sean plays accordion and sings, his son (also called Sean) adds backing vocals, programming and rap on one track, there are three guitarists (Corey Stoot, Trey Ardoin, André Thierry), Zane Gipson is on keys, Linden Smith on scrubboard and a rhythm section of Savar Martin on drums and Bryan Malbroux on bass.
The title track opens the album and, as you would expect, accordion and scrub board are to the fore. After some quite heavy guitar at the start the song develops into a standard zydeco groove with lyrics that appear to be autobiographical. “Bounce” invites everyone on to the dance floor and, considering that only the two Seans are involved, the backing vocals are impressive. “No That Ain’t Right” has a lighter feel which allows us to appreciate Sean’s soulful vocals and “I’m Not Gonna Wait” follows that style with the rhythmic qualities reduced in favor of vocal harmonies and a tender tale of unrequited love while “It’s Love” follows the musical style but with a happier tale of love blossoming while “Nothing Like Our Love” is the track with the least accordion on it, making it close to modern day Rn’B. “Get Right Girl” has swirling keys over a punchier rhythm with some programming effects and “Kool Rolling” is something of an anthem for Sean’s distinctive approach.
Two tracks are very different. “Gumbo Time” finds Sean discussing how to cook gumbo, aided by New Cupid (Bryson Bernard) and comedian Shawn ‘Uncle Luck’ Bernard, the result being a semi-rap comedy piece. The album concludes with “Shut Them Down” which has lots of guitar from the start, making it the rockiest track here; Sean’s accordion only comes in after the first verse and remains in the background while Sean Junior raps in the middle section
Zydeco is not familiar territory for this reviewer but the music is certainly lively and highly dance able (which is surely the key point). However, fans should be aware that this album was previously released in 2019 under the title Ven (Creole for 20) and, as far as I can tell, the tracks are identical.