2002 – Mambito Records
Now, I’ve been having a bit of trouble figuring out whether So Damn Bad is actually an original album from Rosie Ledet, or if it is just a compilation put together to sell to tourists in New Orleans’ gift shops (read ‘me’). Either way, I’ve decided to turn my ear to the CD and write up a review, because Rosie’s music is actually rather hard to find (at least where I live), and whatever you can get your little hands on is probably worth a mention. So, here goes!
So Damn Bad starts out with its title track which is nice little piece of Zydeco blues-rock. The accordion riff is nothing if not groovy, the rest of the music is full of lively swing, and Ledet’s voice is great with its hints of old-time blues and jazz. This well chosen start does not, however, continue into the second track, Days Gone By, which, in all honesty, just sounds like one of the worst of eighties ballads, all heartfelt with no real emotion, soft guitar, and cheesy porno-sax.
It does pick up a little bit with Casino Nights in which Ledet returns to the hard rocking Cajun riffs heard earlier on the album. Really, I think that’s where this record’s strength lies: in its well written and executed accordion lines. There is just something about them that comes across as alluringly sexy, yet dangerously rock ‘n’ roll. I mean, tracks like Try Again and I Want To Ride really only work because of that delicious accordion, without those lines one would probably realise better the weakness of the lyrics and the fact that, while Ledet’s voice is really top-notch, she manages to sing with a complete lack of emotion or sincerity.
The roots zydeco of Lover Nonc Helair really is wonderful, however, and is, for me, definitely one of the few stand-out tracks on this record. It just makes the listener want to eat some shrimp gumbo out in the balmy heat of the swamp, and I think it’s a shame that there aren’t really any other tracks that exploit the fun of this Cajun folk music to the same extent. I mean, most of the other tracks on here sound pretty much the same as one another, and are really nothing more than poor jazzy pop-songs with an accordion thrown in over the top of it all.
I also have to mention Get Your Dance On and her cover of Lady Marmalade which are really just terrible. I’m a pretty open minded guy, and I try to find the good parts of music that I don’t particularly like, but on these two tracks I had a great deal of difficulty doing that. All I can really say about them is that shouldn’t be listened to by anybody ever and that Rosie should feel ashamed of herself for ever deciding to record them.
So my verdict is that So Damn Bad is pretty much what its title says. There isn’t much really worth listening to on here, but I guess, apart from the two songs mentioned above, it’s not the worst album I have ever listened to. It does get close though. Maybe if you’re a real zydeco fan or just a massive accordion enthusiast if might be worth giving it a spin, but even then I don’t think you want to waste the time.
I couldn’t find a video for the song I wanted to play you all, so I’m just going to post this which is a pretty good indication of what kind of a musician Rosie Ledet is.
- Exploring Cajun and Zydeco Music, South Louisiana 2012 (billives.typepad.com)
- Cajun Zydeco Fest (sarahgooge.wordpress.com)
- The Sounds of New Orleans: Cajun Music (uicradio.wordpress.com)