Big Chief Monk Boudreaux
" Won't Bow Down "
F. Boo Music

Robert Putignano finds this mix of Native American, Creole, blues, and jazz to sound more like roots-based rock 'n' roll. Don Wilcock Editor

Blueswax Rating 7

Nimble Gumbo

Mardi Gras Indians embody the spirit of the music of New Orleans and Louisiana. A combination of Native American, Creole, blues, and jazz sounds make up the roux of Big Chief Monk Boudreaux's music enhanced by his special guests, mostly from Louisiana. With closer listening it's evident that Boudreaux's music sounds more like roots-based rock 'n' roll. Won't Bow Down is all about Monk's audacious character and his affection for blending various music genres.

Ten original tunes are included and are all written by producer Keven Brennan and the eclectic Boudreaux. Highlights include the opening infectious and funky "Monk's Mardi Gras," featuring another Crescent City legend Dr. John on keys. "Don't Run Me Down" offers the wild slide guitar of Papa Mali, and also showcases session man extraordinaire Jim Keltner on drums.

There is a lot of talk about eating and cooking of alligator, squirrels, and possums on "Footsteps," making for a curious yet humorous inclusion. Waylon Thibodeaux joins in on fiddle on the reggae-tinged "Don't Take My Flag Down." The bombastic "Lightning and Thunder" gets enraged by Papa Mali's stirring guitar and even features some Big Easy "Jacomo-Fi-Na-Nay" shout-outs and rants from Boudreaux.

"Gonna Set 'Em On Fire" has some jazzy undertones courtesy of producer Keven Brennan's offbeat sax playing. The last three songs are the weakest of the bunch but show that someone was paying good attention to the sequencing, a lost art concept often horribly overlooked on a lot of recordings.

This is not your everyday Crescent City recording that may or may not work for everyone. But anyone who is vaguely familiar with Boudreaux's previous body of work would know that in advance of this album. This may not be everyone's cup of gumbo, but there's no question that Monk's music cannot be pigeonholed, yet it retains the unmistakable seasonings of Louisiana. In summary, Boudreaux's music is definitely roots rock based and definitively Americana, yet totally unique to Boudreaux's indigenous origins.

Bob Putignano: