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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Cleveland Crochet

& The Sugar Bees - Hillbilly Ramblers And The Sugar Bees

Review by Gary Hill

Cleveland Crochet was a Cajun fiddler who had a hit with "Sugar Bee" in 1961. This collection from Bear Family gathers up all the recordings they could find from Crochet with various groups. It includes alternate takes and more. This double CD set includes a great booklet and comes in a cool digi-pack. It makes a good introduction to both this artist and the Cajun musical style.

This review is available in book (paperback and hardcover) form in Music Street Journal: 2022  Volume 6. More information and purchase links can be found at:

Track by Track Review
CD 1
Deedle-E-Deedle-D-Da (Keep Knockin')

There is a down-home old-school Cajun sound to this bluegrass hoe-down type tune. This is a fun way to start things in a legitimate roots way.

Big Boy Waltz
Here we get more old-time Cajun music. This isn't quite as energetic as the opener way.
Sha Meon Waltz (Chere Meon)
This is a bit more pounding, but overall the basic premise hasn't changed much. That said, I think I like this more than either of the songs that preceded it.
Midnight Blues (Blues De Minuit)
A bouncy tune, this is even more energetic and fun. It feels a bit more immediate and even a little rocking. This is definitely a step up from the three that preceded it. I swear that there are some melody lines here that were used in the song "Ice Cream Man" (originally by John Brim) that was recorded by Van Halen on their first album.
Sugar Bee
Much more of a rock and roller, this is great fun. It still has some of that Cajun angle in some of the instrumental work, but overall it's a great old-time rocker.
Sugar Bee (alt. edit / early fade out)
This version of the song seems to have a different flavor to it, with the mix favoring the older sounds just a little. It's still a killer rocker, though.
Drunkard's Dream
Here we get more of the old-school type stuff. This is entertaining enough, and I do like the vocal section (which I think is in French).
Sweet Thing
Another that's more of a rocker, this has a call and response thing at play that works well.
Hound Dog Baby
Rock and roll infused with a bit of Cajun edge, this is another fun romp. It somehow feels a little too restrained, though. It seems like they need to just let loose.
Come Back Little Girl (Midnight Blues)
This variant on the earlier tune works really well. It has such a cool rock and roll groove.
Come Back Little Girl (Long Long Note On My Door) (alt. take)
Another version of the tune, this one really emphasizes that rock angle. It still has some Cajun sound via the accordion, but overall this gets to rock out really well.
Telephone Port Arthur
Down-home music is on the menu on this stripped back tune. This feels more like the songs that began the album than it does the last few. I love the violin (or perhaps it should be called "fiddle") on this.
Vorris (Shorty) LeBlanc & The Sugar Bees - Kaw Liga
Here we get an energized Cajun romp that's a lot of fun. This has a great rock and roll groove to it, but the roots grooves are still fairly prominent.     
Vorris (Shorty) LeBlanc & The Sugar Bees - Kaw Liga (alt. take)
I think I prefer this version of the tune. I love the driving stand-up bass on the song. This does lean more on the roots sounds, but somehow it works really well.
Vorris (Shorty) LeBlanc & The Sugar Bees - La Valse De Soldat (Soldier's Waltz)
Another that's very much down-home in nature, this doesn't work as well for me as some of the others do.
Vorris (Shorty) LeBlanc & The Sugar Bees - Boss Cajun (Mayou De Cajun)
Here is a driving rock and roller that's so much fun. It still has plenty of roots sound on it, too. This is an instrumental. 
Vorris (Shorty) LeBlanc & The Sugar Bees - La Valse De Chagrin
Here we are in slower, roots based zones. This is another classy number of the vintage variety. 
Jay Stutes & The Sugar Bees - Coming Home
I dig the mix of Cajun and rock and roll sounds on this number. It's another fun one.       
All The Sugar Bees feat. Doris Mott - Not My Fault
A bouncy, roots based Cajun song, this doesn't work that well for me.    
Waltz Of A Broken Heart
This is more of the down-home Cajun styled stuff.
CD 2
Vorris (Shorty) LeBlanc & The Sugar Bees - Good Morning Blues

A bluesy rocker with plenty of Cajun sound in the mix, this is great fun.

Vorris (Shorty) LeBlanc & The Sugar Bees - Good Morning Blues (alt. edit)
This alternate take feels a little more vocal dominated.
Wedding Day (Demain Moi Je Va M'arier)
Another down-home Cajun tune, this has a cool groove to it.
Jay Stutes & The Sugar Bees - Playmates
Bouncy bluegrass gets some blues and Cajun sound in the mix. This is another fun tune.
Jay Stutes & The Sugar Bees - La Branche De Mon Murier (Waltz Of The Mulberry Limb)
The slide guitar on this, along with the fiddle, really make it work well. This is very much Cajun-styled bluegrass.
Jay Stutes & The Sugar Bees - Mariez-vous Donc Jamais
There is a good energy and groove to this roots tune.
Vorris (Shorty) LeBlanc & The Sugar Bees - Forgot I Was Married
A little lower in energy, this has a traveling kind of vibe to it, nonetheless. It's well set in Cajun sounds, too.
Vorris (Shorty) LeBlanc & The Sugar Bees - My Little Cabbage
This instrumental is a fun rock and roller with roots sound in the mix.
Vorris (Shorty) LeBlanc & The Sugar Bees - Time And Time Again
A driving Cajun blues with plenty of hillbilly sound in the mix, I love the bass work on this.
Vorris (Shorty) LeBlanc & The Sugar Bees - Three Years Waltz
Here we get another down-home cut.
Vorris (Shorty) LeBlanc & The Sugar Bees - Rambler's Lonely Dream
More Cajun bluegrass is on the menu here.
Vorris (Shorty) LeBlanc & The Sugar Bees - Tears Of Sorrow
I dig the piano on this cut. The track is another roots based Cajun number.
Listen To My Heart
The pedal-steel guitar on this works well. The track is another with plenty of Cajun angles at its core.
Country Women
The guitar picking on this is so cool. This is an energetic bluegrass styled number that has so much energy and style.           
Jay Stutes & The Sweet Licks - Hey! Boss Man
More of a pure rock and roller, the lyrics are in French.
The Sweet Licks - Sweet Lick
This is sort of a three-fer piece. It starts with an instrumental section that's a powerhouse old-school rock and roller, this has some smoking hot guitar on it. This instrumental portion is one of my favorite things here. That eventually gives way to a pure Cajun treatment for the entrance of the vocals. It really does feel like two completely different songs. We get another roots track that has a lot of down-home style and charm to it from there. It's slow moving and classy.
Jay Stutes & The Swamp Pickers - Sugar Bee
Rock and roll merges with Cajun concepts on this energized tune.
Jay Stutes & The Swamp Pickers - Come Back Home Little Girl
A bluesy rock and roller with some Cajun angles, this is a strong piece. In fact, this is one of my favorite tunes here. It has some seriously edgy guitar.
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