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- Can’t Sit Down was recorded live in one session at Rock Romano’s Red Shack Studio in Houston, Texas. C.J. Chenier—whose father was the late Clifton Chenier, perhaps the most celebrated zydeco musician in the genre’s history—cut the album live in the studio quickly, in order to capture the freshness—the energy—of the material. For that reason, he dispensed with a producer, opting to handle the task himself.
The 11 tracks on Can’t Sit Down are among the most potent of C.J.’s long career, starting with the album-opening title track, written by Clifton. “Hot Tamale Baby” is the other Clifton-penned tune on the album, and then there’s “Paper In My Shoe,” a song written by Boozoo Chavis and Eddie Shuler and usually credited as the first zydeco hit. But some of the songs on Can’t Sit Down come not from the zydeco world at all but from unexpected sources. Three blues staples bring even more variety to Can’t Sit Down: Joe Williams’ classic “Baby Please Don’t Go,” John Lee Hooker’s “Dusty Road” and Richard M. Jones’ “Trouble In Mind.” One last cover song on the album holds special meaning to C.J., Curtis Mayfield’s “We Gotta Have Peace,” which closes the CD. “That song reflects what I’ve been feeling,” C.J. says. “We need peace, we gotta have it. That’s why I have my grandson talking in the beginning, because if we don’t get it together, where is his future?” Rounding out the album are three C.J, Chenier originals: “Red Shack Zydeco,” which C.J. calls “a true zydeco song”; “Zydeco Boogie,” which he co-authored with an old friend, Wilbert “T.A.” Miller; and “Ridin’ With Uncle Cleveland.” Uncle Cleveland would be Cleveland Chenier, Clifton’s late older brother and the acknowledged master of zydeco washboard.
C.J. Chenier has been doing what he does for more than three decades. He was still in his teens when he started out, playing in funk bands in his hometown of Port Arthur, Texas. C.J.’s life changed when Clifton asked his son—who had played saxophone and keyboards before picking up his dad’s instrument, the accordion—to join his Red Hot Louisiana Band. By the time Clifton passed away in 1987, C.J. knew that his life’s calling was to continue his father’s work—not to play the way Clifton did but to bring zydeco into the present. Make no mistake about it: C.J. Chenier is a master just like his father, and Can’t Sit Down is surely this master’s masterwork.
- C.J. Chenier
- 1 CD - 0h 45mn 17s
release date. 2011-10-03