January 29, 1990 12:00 PM

Jo-El Sonnier

As lively and distinctive as Sonnier’s 1988 debut album, this remarkable follow-up meanders happily through a pleasing range of country music. Sonnier even includes one hard-core Cajun track “Evangeline Special,” which he sings in the kind of French that will never be taught at the Sorbonne while he pumps merrily away on his accordion.

Mostly, though, Sonnier is content to add Louisiana accents to such tunes as Delbert McClinton’s up-tempo lament, “Solid Gold-Plated Fool,” John Hiatt’s “Have a Little Faith in Me” and Dennis Linde’s clever “The Scene of the Crime.” While much of the album was recorded with studio musicians, Sonnier’s six-piece touring band backs him on one cut, “Ooh, Ooh, Ooh,” and he has stayed with producers Bill Halverson and Richard Bennett (aided on two tracks by Josh Leo). This comes under the category of knowing when you’re well-off.

Record and cassette buyers should note that they are being shortchanged to the tune of two tracks if they don’t invest in the CD version of the album. (RCA)

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