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Published: 2002/03/20
by Jeff Perlman

Pullin’ – Sean Ardoin and Zydekool

Tomorrow Recordings 70005-2
The accordion has probably never sounded this hip since back when polka was
the thing in the countrysides of Bavaria. Sean Ardoin’s enthusiastic,
funk-heavy zydeco is pure fun and eminently danceable — a party on a
disc. Whoops, laughs, yelps and growls are liberally sprinkled through the
tracks, adding to the festive flavor.
The music seems to draw as much from ska, P-funk, Kool & the Gang and even
DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince as from traditional creole music. There’s
no French (though, for the quality of the lyrics, sometimes I wish I
couldn’t understand them). Did I mention that the musicians sound like
they’re having the times of their lives? Really, that’s this album’s
appeal. It’s so upbeat and good natured, it almost begs to be taken
lightly but the musicians are more than competent, very tight
instrumentally and with their vocal harmonies. I imagine these guys would
be a blast to see live.
Like a pop album, it is heavily and impeccably produced. It is undoubtedly
an effort to extend zydeco’s appeal beyond the Deep South and to the
younger generation. But it manages to make these motives apparent without
losing its soul. If all pop music were this good I might actually listen
to a radio station above 91.9 once in a while.
One thing, though: just don’t read the liners. I made the mistake of
reading them before listening to the CD and was almost inclined not to put
the disc in my stereo. Sean Ardoin’s two pages of thank yous – the
centerfold! – begin with "Whassup all you kool peeps out there!!" and
proceed to replace nearly every "c" with a "k", for artistic effect, I
suppose. Flip the page and there’s a list of the "KOOL PLAYERS" including
who plays "Kool accordion", "Bass kool", "Rhythm kool", "Very kool
well, you get the point. It was about enough to make me
wretch. Fortunately it prepared me to ignore the bland but vibrantly
delivered lyrics.
Of course, it’s not a CD about verbal epiphanies. It’s about solidly updated
old-fashioned fun. And even if it’s destined to become a guilty pleasure,
it’s a damn good one.

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