January / February 1998 Issue
Rosie Ledet: "Zydeco Sensation"
by Donna Eckberg
Rosie Ledet has been burning a trail on the zydeco circuit, including two visits to St. Louis this past year, for a couple of reasons. First, there is the novelty of a gorgeous female fronting a zydeco band. Rosie’s spare but sultry vocals entice her audience with songs of love. She writes her own lyrics and backs them with simple, rhythmic accordion riffs.The other reason for success is the danceable grooves put down by the backing band, which includes her husband Morris Ledet, on bass guitar. (He also was quite good on the accordion). Heavily percussive, the band prominently features the double bass drum beats on the first and third beat of each measure as well as liberal use of rubboard in the mix. Dancers love the tempos and enjoy Rosie’s sensual delivery.
Zydeco Sensation captures the danceable grooves found in Ledet’s live performances. Many of the songs follow a zydeco dance hall formula familiar to this genre. Keith Frank and Beau Jocque are other examples of this newer style of zydeco which is heavily influenced by rock ‘n roll. Some gems on this CD include My Joy Box, quite suggestive in lyrics, with melodic interest with dramatic breaks for added excitement. Brown Eyed Boy has well-written lyrics with a story to tell. A second set of vocals is dubbed in by Rosie on I Miss You giving double the ‘sultry siren’ effect. Bayou Blues breaks from the dance hall formula and shifts into a classic blues mode with references to Louisiana culture —featuring sensuous winding rubboard licks.
Rosie Ledet is best heard live, which is not unusual for dance music. Its main purpose is to compel the listener to get up and dance. I would like to hear more variety in future recordings, perhaps exploring different zydeco styles. r