Lil' Brian and the Zydeco Travelers Funky Nation (Tomorrow Recordings)

SXSW Records

Lil' Brian and the Zydeco Travelers

Funky Nation (Tomorrow Recordings)

Like that other lil' guy from Astroworld, Troy, Brian Terry -- representing Baytown-area hamlet Barrett Station -- is redefining what it means to be funky. "Got it comin' from the east, got it comin' from the west" trumpets party cut "Makin' Green." Somebody throw their hands in the air. On "Get Up on That Zydeco" (aka "Down Stroke"), producer Buckwheat Zydeco steers things a bit more toward George Clinton, and on "Question," into Bob Marley territory. A little of the raw hip-hop spontaneity of 1997's Gon' Be Just Fine is lost in the process, but Patrick "Heavy P" Terry's guitar still could be Grandmaster Flash or Kool Herc cutting up on the tables, and Brian does squeeze off a "how ya do dat?" on "Party." Pouring "Back Stabbers" into a rubboard & accordion mold is a neat groove, and "Summer Girls" is mighty wicked (as in Pickett). Maybe Funky Nation doesn't go as far as it could to explore the rap connection -- how about zydeco freestyle? -- but the more traditional "Thigh Drivin'" and "Uncle Cliff" are excellent, handing Brian the reins once held by Beau Jocque and Boozoo. Be interesting to see what would happen if he got ahold of a button accordion instead of a keyboard model. Those surreptitious Meters winks might turn into buck-wild squeals straight off the Cash Money hot block. Then Dr. Dre's Chronic 2005 would be full of more zydeco than H-Town's 98.9 The Boxx on Sunday afternoons. Z funk, we funk. (Wednesday, Mar 16, Lucy's, 9pm)


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