Joe Doucet and Texas Southside Kings

Houston's Third Ward Blues, and Texas Southside Kings (Dialtone)

Texas Platters

Joe Doucet

Houston's Third Ward Blues (Dialtone)

Texas Southside Kings

(Dialtone)

Austin's Dialtone Records specializes in nonacademic field recordings. This is a good thing, though it sometimes delivers lesser or mixed results (Lil Joe Washington, Texas Soul Sisters) among genuine winners (The Texas Trumpets; West Side Horns). Like authentic field recordings, the value often lies in existence over performance, the case with Joe Doucet's Houston's Third Ward Blues. Doucet, once Clifton Chenier's guitarist, delivers 14 originals ("Recitation," "Hey Leo") and covers ("Scratch My Back," "Just a Little Bit"), many with a heavy zydeco sound. That's hardly a surprise given that Doucet's French Creole roots are steeped in the Gulf Coast sound. He translates swamp pop-gem "Matilda" into French-Cajun, just the sort of lagniappe one hopes for. Texas Southside Kings strikes a similar chord, gathering the collective talents of South Texas musicians Big Walter "The Thunderbird" Price, Junior Moore, Spot Barnett, Willie Sampson, Bubba Mitchell, and Leo Morris with Oscar O'Bear. The result is again mixed but not without merit. The badass roadhouse piano and honking juke-joint sax of Doug Sahm's compadre Spot Barnett shuffles out of the spotlight and into dark, anonymous back-road clubs, which is precisely what you want from the blues, isn't it?

(Doucet) **

(Southside Kings) **.5

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