April 28, 1997 12:00 PM


For the hippest back-porch dance party your block has ever seen, toss on this lively disc from America’s premier Cajun band: If you can slow your tapping feet and shaking hips long enough to take notes, the dexterous Lafayette, La.-based sextet (aided by guitarist Richard Thompson and other distinguished guests) offers a wide-ranging musical education. L’Amour ou la Folie (“Love or Folly”) is a zesty gumbo of regional musical styles, including zydeco, Creole, southern two-step, Gulf Coast swamp-pop, Cajun wedding ballads and French country and western. “Eunice Two-Step” is a traditional zydeco dance tune popularized in the 1920s by renowned African-American accordionist Amédé Ardoin; “Valse à Pop,” a waltz-tempo tribute to Louisiana fiddle great Dennis McGee; and “Can’t You See (Tu Vas Voir),” a Cajun-rock ditty, sung in French and English, that sounds as if might have been cowritten by Fats Domino and Dr. John.

Forty-six-year-old leader-vocalist-fiddler Michael Doucet says BeauSoleil’s goal is to preserve authentic Cajun music and spread its joys beyond the bayous. Mission accomplished. With more than a dozen albums and six Grammy nominations, he has deservedly become Louisiana’s hottest export since Tabasco. (Rhino)

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