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World Music CD Reviews North American

BIG CHIEF MONK BOUDREAUX

By PAUL-ÉMILE COMEAU
Published May 30, 2006

Mr. Stranger Man
Shanachie

Last year Monk Boudreaux collaborated with Anders Osborne on a recent Shanachie album; now he’s given the opportunity to release his first solo album with Osborne serving as producer and sideman. Dr. John, Cyril Neville, and Tab Benoit also appear. Big Chief is known as the leader of the Golden Eagles, the group having played an important role in forging the sound of New Orleans R&B and funk. Because of the spectacular visuals and complex polyrhythms of these tribes’ live performances, it has always been a challenge to capture in the studio, and albums by the Wild Tchoupitoulas and the Wild Magnolias have already set high standards. Although no substitute for a live setting, Mr. Stranger Man succeeds, the title track reggae and a tribute of sorts to hero Bob Marley. “The Tambourine” is an autobiographical take on his own career as a New Orleans griot. The album ends very strongly with “Black Johnny,” a song about a legendary figure and influence.