In rotation: Amede Ardoin's “Mama I’ll Be Long Gone: 'The Complete Recordings of Amede Ardoin, 1929-1934'
A series in Sunday Calendar about what Times writers & contributors are listening to right now...
The parallels between Cajun Creole accordionist, singer and songwriter Amede Ardoin and blues legend Robert Johnson are many: Both were celebrated as transcendent performers and exceptional instrumentalists; both left a relatively small amount of recorded material behind (Ardoin 34 tracks; Johnson 19), both died prematurely and violently, and there’s minimal photographic evidence of either
But until a new generation of young British rock accordion gods sparks a revival of interest in Ardoin, he’s likely to remain the lesser-known American roots music innovator from the early 20th century. Still, his haunting vocals, in Creole French, and dazzling dexterity on the single-row button accordion that’s become synonymous with Cajun music and, to an extent, zydeco, sustain his place as a towering figure in the traditional music of southwest Louisiana.
This package brings together for the first time all 34 of those tracks, newly remastered for CD. Some of the earliest recordings contain scratchy evidence of their age and source material, but the spirit behind his performances, most with fiddler Dennis McGee, is undiminished.
-- Randy Lewis
“Mama I’ll Be Long Gone: The Complete Recordings of Amede Ardoin, 1929-1934”
(Long Gone Sounds/Tompkins Square)