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House Of Tudor 

Geno Delafose, Balfa Toujours, Sex 66, Cock Sparrer

Wednesday, Feb 9 2000
As custodians of culture and bearers of tradition, fine musicians were respected as Acadian royalty among those who settled the Point along the banks of Bayou Teche in 1765. It was verse that marked the humor and depth of those early families, and kinetic rhythms that offered giddiness within the tight cycle of birth and death. Like royalty, the bloodline and the music have passed from generation to generation, the latter becoming entirely distinguishable from its French roots, even allowing strains of rock, pop, funk, and C&W to inform the new breed of New Acadia. In recent years, however, the upstart heirs of the "royal" musical lines have turned their attention back to the porch swings of their heritage; the results have been spirit-jolting. On La Chanson Perdue, Geno Delafose -- the Creole gentleman rancher and son of master accordion player/ bandleader John Delafose -- follows the memory of an old, previously unrecorded song his father used to play around the house. Young Delafose rediscovers and revitalizes a crop of root-locked gems predating World War I, when the line between Creole and Cajun styles was nearly nonexistent. In keeping with the nature of tunes written by Amede Ardoin, Iry LeJeune, the Balfa Brothers, and Bois Sec Ardoin and Canray Fontenot, Delafose is joined by Cajun traditionalists Balfa Toujours, whose music plumbs similar veins. Comprised of singer/ guitarist Christine Balfa (daughter of famed fiddler Dewey Balfa), her husband and expert accordion player Dirk Powell, lead fiddler Kevin Wimmer, and drummer/Mamou Playboys veteran Mike Chapman, Balfa Toujours recorded their last album, La Pointe, in the warmth of a family kitchen on the Point, an apt setting in which to capture new Balfa lore, lost waltzes, Creole traditionals, folkloric laments, and Cajun humor. As Delafose and Balfa Toujours share a passion for similar songs, they will share a stage for the Great American Music Hall's "Bayou to Bourbon Street" on Wednesday, Feb. 9, at 8 p.m. Tickets are $15; call 885-0750.

Comparisons to early, smooth-faced Rolling Stones are undeflectable, but a quick glance at Sex 66 -- all striped trousers, shaggy mops, and colored shades -- suggests the simile is welcome, if not sought. Guitarslinger Mike Farrell peels country blues off the rock-stained walls of legends and teaches it something, swirling around the vocal strut of Jimmy Self, who croons like a matinee idol and gargles like an old prairie dog. Saxophone, pedal steel, and Hammond B-3 sidle through the mix, giving Grew Up Down rhapsodic textures while keeping a 1970s base coat. Unlike many Stones proselytizers, this Sacramento outfit has the sort of virile hooks, onstage chemistry, and lyrical ambiguity that make schoolgirls lose their virginity and slightly older girls reach for Sex 66 instead of Let It Bleed. If you don't leave humming "Girlfriend," I owe you a beer after Sex 66 performs on Thursday, Feb. 10, at Last Day Saloon; Bernie opens at 9 p.m. Tickets are $5; call 387-6343.

Cock Sparrer emerged from East London in 1975, playing alongside Thin Lizzy and Motörhead, and force-feeding a combative improvement on Dr. Feelgood's pub-rock scene. The band's snotty, rancorous, anthemic sound, which took inspiration from football matches, eventually set the stage for oi. In 1976, in an endearing display of working-class pride, Sparrer sent Malcolm McLaren packing when he refused to buy them a pint after rehearsal; a month later the Sex Pistols were making headlines. In 1977, Sparrer released a punk version of the Stones' "We Love You" with "Running Riot," a rousing example of cockney realism and street violence set to an unshakable melody. Their complete lack of interest in punk as fashion and their strident disassociation from the "art school" punks left Cock Sparrer out on the terraces while journalists whipped up flashy captions for the group's West London compatriots. In 1978, signed to Decca, the Cock Sparrer debut was released -- in Spain -- and the band faded into cult obscurity, only to re-emerge when its "Sunday Stripper" punk-grind was included on Garry Bushell's famous Oi! The Album compilation. Soon, Cock Sparrer vinyl was selling for outrageous sums of money. The latest, and last, Cock Sparrer album includes a raucous revamp of the 1970 football hymn "Back Home" and a beery farewell to fans called "Goodbye," but nothing compares to sadistic teenage mantras like "Chip on My Shoulder," "Taken for a Ride," "Trouble on the Terraces," and "What's It Like to Be Old" -- all of which will be in full effect (except the last, which will be swapped for "Because You're Young," for obvious reasons) on Saturday, Feb. 12, at the Great American Music Hall, with Reducers SF and Workin' Stiffs opening at 9 p.m. Tickets are $20; call 885-0750.

About The Author

Silke Tudor


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