(As published in the Times of Acadiana ... )
Silver Jubilee: The Best of Zachary Richard 1973-1998
Richard is a local hero as much for his crusade to preserve and to keep vital the Cajun identity as for his music. But it isn't Richard the cultural crusader who comes through on these nineteen songs--it's Richard the Zack of all Musical Trades, the talented singer, songwriter, and musician whose culturally bifurcated musical identity has proven both an artistic boon and a commercial curse. Not surprisingly, the disc as a whole feels scattershot. Yet because scattering his shots (political, linguistic, artistic) has long been Richard's modus operandi, this set also feels more like him than any of the dozen discs on which these songs first appeared. The a capella last cut comes from his never-released 1973 Elektra album and makes one hope that, as the liner notes suggest, it will eventually come out. As for "Who Stole My Monkey," am I the only one who thinks Little Village stole it for "Don't Bug Me When I'm Working"? Rating: Four-and-a-half bullets in Satan out of six.