La Bottine Souriante,
(Mille-Pattes, 2001)

Sometimes, when you're feeling glum, you need an old friend who is guaranteed to cheer you up.

Recently suffering a bout of the doldrums, I dug up a CD by French-Canadian band La Bottine Souriante, whose music is about as close to bottled happy as you can buy.

Although I have my reliable favorites by this band, I decided to try something new. I came up with Cordial, and -- although more than a decade old now -- it did the trick.

As expected.

La Bottine Souriante is a nine-piece band whose musical skills are beyond reproach. They are typically fast-paced and joyful, although they do slow things down a notch now and again. "J'ao fait une maitresse" (which translates to "I Got Me a Mistress") is a good example of a slower piece that still works.

But I love the fast stuff by this band, and there are plenty of samples here to choose from. Personal favorites include "Dans Paris y'a t'une brune (The Brunette from Paris)," "La demon sort de l'enfer (The Devil Comes Out of Hell)," "En p'tit boggie (Giddy Up)," "Suede Inn" and "Reel de Baie St-Paul."

If there's one failing on the album, it's the final track, "Et boucle La Bottine," which is more a studio experiment than anything else. It was created by looping track extracts from the album and adding some percussion; the effect is interesting in a small dose, but at nearly 7 1/2 minutes, it just drones on too long.

Otherwise, this album was exactly the medicine I was looking for.

music review by
Tom Knapp

11 October 2014

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