This direct-to-disc release, recorded in the church sanctuary of Blue Heaven Studios, is so fresh and pure... Talk about up to audiophile standards! The immediacy, the dynamics - slam and delicacy alike - are just so startlingly real. There's nothing lost. It's positively lifelike.
Cutting engineer Kevin Gray, using Blue Heaven's Neumann VMS 70 lathe with an Ortofon cutter head and amplifiers, and recording engineer Katsu Naito have made available for your playback the closest thing possible to a live, in-person performance. With direct-to-disc recording, the signal from the microphone is transmitted directly to the cutter head, which then cuts the grooves into a raw lacquer. There's no middleman. No tape. No tape hiss. No distortion or other artifacts inherent in any other type of recording.
And the music? It's killer! The session was recorded the weekend of the 12th annual Blues Masters at the Crossroads in October 2009.
Handy was born and raised as the oldest of seven children in St. Martinville, Louisiana, the parish seat of St. Martin Parish and right on the Bayou Teche. It's a rural town about 15 miles southeast of Lafayette and is generally considered the heart of the Creole and Cajun melting pot that makes this specific sub-region unique to anywhere else in the world. It's from right here that so much of the culture - the food, music, swamp life - that people associate with Louisiana comes. Like with many people from St. Martinville, Handy's heritage is Creole, meaning it's tangled.
Handy's earliest musical inspiration came from his father, who had an old accordion that he toyed with as nothing more than a pastime, and some cousins who were "fooling around" with music. "I saw that, and I wanted to take it and be better," Handy says. "The first thing I picked up was a guitar. And I took it from there." His first professional gig came on bass in a cousin's band. From there it was back to guitar and eventually accordion as a bandleader. In between, he played in the bands of Rockin' Dopsie for many years as well as in the very first incarnation of Buckwheat Zydeco just after Buckwheat had left Clifton Chenier.
While he'd recorded previously as a bandleader, Handy's 2008 APO Records release Zydeco Feeling marked his first widely distributed release in 25 years.
"Major Handy is one of Zydecos younger, more active performers, born in the heart of the Louisiana region that gave birth to the sound, and a veteran who played with Rockin Dopsie. Chad Kassems crew has captured the swing and the feel of the genre, while showcasing an instrument thats key to Zydeco but hardly an audiophile staple: the accordion. This six-track set is as undiluted as it gets, and it just might make you a convert." - Ken Kessler, Hi-Fi News, Sound Quality Rating: 87%
Direct To Disc (D2D)
1. Jalapeno Cornbread
2. Bad Luck And Trouble
3. Well I Done Got Over It
4. Zydeco Feeling
5. Te Ni Nee Ni Nu
6. Lost My Baby