Book Review: Texas Platters Sheet Music

Roger Wood

Texas Platters Sheet Music

Texas Zydeco

by Roger Wood, photography by James Fraher

University of Texas Press, 323 pp., $34.95

While zydeco is to Louisiana as Tejano is to Texas, Texas Zydeco writer Roger Wood and photographer James Fraher offer "verbal and visual evidence that support the contention that 'Texas Zydeco' is not an oxymoron but a cultural fact." Like Chicago's role in the development of blues, Houston deserves similar recognition for its role in shaping modern zydeco, according to Wood. For proof, the author travels the zydeco corridor – an area bookended by Houston and Lafayette, La. – interviewing musicians and aficionados along the way, and, most interestingly, at festivals like the Original Zydeco Jamm Festival in Crosby. The latter is the subject of Texas Zydeco's most engaging first chapter, offering a day in the life of the festival with an affectionate, discerning eye. Wood's observations, interspersed with interviews alongside Fraher's vivid black-and-white photographs, offers a distinctly appreciative, conscientious book that might be the definitive coffeetable history on the subject. Texas Zydeco is Wood and Fraher's second collaboration documenting American roots music. Their shared passion for the project is clear, and readers benefit from their enthusiasm while learning about this, until now, rarely documented slice of Americana.

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