The Best of Steve Riley and the Mamou Playboys

Steve Riley and the Mamou Playboys

Best of Steve Riley and the Mamou Playboys  (Rounder Records, 2008)

The double CD set of Best of Steve Riley and the Mamou Playboys cajoles, tantalizes, teases, ensnares, bewitches, temps and charms the listener with over twenty years of sheer goodness that is the trademark of Steve Riley and the Mamou Playboys. Brewing up an elixir made out Cajun, Creole, swamp-pop and Zydeco with dashes of rock guitar and country heartache, Steve Riley and the ever-evolving membership of the Mamou Playboys remain an American standard on the contemporary Cajun music scene. Earning three Grammy nominations and a loyal following, the sounds baking off Best of Steve Riley and the Mamou Playboys remain fresh and dynamic. Proving they can still simmer up some hearty dishes, they’ve included on this compilation CD set three new tracks.

Pooling tracks from Rounder recordings Trace of Time, Bayou Ruler, La Toussaint, Dominos and Bon Rêve, as well as from Friday at Last from Swallow Records, The Best of Steve Riley and the Mamou Playboys offers all the swinging, Cajun brightness fans could possibly want on tracks like “La Pointe aux Pins,” “Allons Danser” and “Paradis des Musiciens.” With a sweet mix of fiddle and accordion, “Jai Été-z-au Bal” and “Bayou Noir” sparkle with the band’s dynamic fire.


Wicked guitar licks sizzle on “Pointe aux Chênes,” while tracks like “Bon Rêve” swirl with a delightful energy. The set includes the darkly mysterious “La Toussaint,” and the new track “Aux Natchioches” that is equally poignant with sweetly sad vocals against fiddle, electric guitar, drums and bass. With current members Steve Riley on accordion, fiddle and vocals; David Greely on fiddle, tenor sax and vocals; Sam Broussard on guitar and vocals; Brazos Huval on bass and Kevin Dugas on drums, new tracks, the rousing “Tien Bon” and the meaty “Menteur” will leave fans craving for more.

Saucy and sassy, fresh and flirty, the twenty years served up on Best of Steve Riley and the Mamou Playboys will have fans lining up for another twenty years.

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Author: TJ Nelson

TJ Nelson is a regular CD reviewer and editor at World Music Central. She is also a fiction writer. Check out her latest book, Chasing Athena’s Shadow.

Set in Pineboro, North Carolina, Chasing Athena’s Shadow follows the adventures of Grace, an adult literacy teacher, as she seeks to solve a long forgotten family mystery. Her charmingly dysfunctional family is of little help in her quest. Along with her best friends, an attractive Mexican teacher and an amiable gay chef, Grace must find the one fading memory that holds the key to why Grace’s great-grandmother, Athena, shot her husband on the courthouse steps in 1931.

Traversing the line between the Old South and New South, Grace will have to dig into the past to uncover Athena’s true crime.