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World Music CD Reviews North American

Terrance Simien

By Jeff Tamarkin
Published April 27, 2007

Across The Parish Line

Across The Parish Line, like all of Terrance Simien’s previous work, takes Louisiana’s indigenous party music as a starting point and then careens wildly, snapping up large chunks of rock, R&B, reggae, Latin and whatever else the accordionist/singer can get his hands on. The approach makes for something of a hodgepodge that frequently works but sometimes doesn’t. Clifton Chenier’s “You Used To Call Me,” featuring Paul Simon, was actually cut in 1985 and released on a local 45, and the vinyl original was apparently used as the source here—you can even hear the scratches and pops as the track kicks in. Simien’s take on the treacly “Always On My Mind,” with Marcia Ball helping out on vocals, adds nothing to a song that’s already way overexposed. Simien fares better on Randy Newman’s “Louisiana 1927” and Bob Dylan’s “Mississippi,” both made all the more potent when recast as post-Katrina homages.