C. J. Chenier visits The Desperate Kingdom of Love
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cd cover C. J. Chenier
The Desperate Kingdom of Love
World Village (worldvillagemusic.com)

C.J. Chenierís latest is a response to the destruction of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. It's a paean to the resilience of the people of New Orleans with a few strains of mourning thrown in. The title track says it all. Chenierís cover of P. J. Harveyís song is as downtrodden a lament as youíre likely to find. He follows it with a beefy rendition of his father Cliftonís "Black Snake Blues," a virtual clone of "Sweet Home Chicago" melody-wise. Not every song wallows in grief, however. The bouncy "Iíve Been Good to You Baby" and "Rosemary" will get you dancing in your seat. While the world could do without the sexist swagger of "Finger Lickiní Chicken," the instrumental "Bogalusa Boogie" is a rocker designed to make the dance floor slick with sweat. Chenierís muscular accordion playing is backed by the Tarbox Ramblers and pianist Joe Deleault. Chenier switches to Fender Rhodes and B-3 for Hank Williamís last-call-at-the-bar-and-I-lost-my-woman dirge "Lost on the River." Williamsí haiku-like lyrics are a good vehicle for Chenierís laid-back treatment. Thematically, the disc has a shoulder-shrugging melancholy to it, but the upbeat numbers give you the hope that maybe somebody more competent than FEMA is coming to the rescue. It closes with Van Morrisonís "Comfort You," not one of his best compositions, but the presentation is heartfelt and the sentiment is in the right place. - Peggy Latkovich

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