In December, Steve Riley & the Mamou Playboys celebrated three decades as a band with a show at Lafayette's Vermilionville. The Grammy-nominated quintet — along with a few surprise guests — captured that concert on the recently released live album, "30 Years Live."
After being introduced as “the best Cajun band in the land” at their Dec. 7 show, Riley and his band were welcomed by lively applause from the audience. Soon Riley’s accordion took the lead as the band opened with the song “Freetown,” showcasing the Mamou Playboys’ signature blend of rock and traditional Cajun French music. It’s the type of good-time Southern sound that lifts people out of their chairs and carries them to the dance floor.
Later in the show, Riley paused to bring the first of several special guests to the stage. “We started hanging out and playing a lot of music together, and started this band in the winter of 1988,” Riley said, introducing founding band member David Greely.
Greely left the Playboys in 2011, but his fiddle made a seamless addition when he joined the band for its fourth number of the night. Greely then led one of the live album’s standout tracks, a riveting rendition of “Eyeball at the Bottom of the Well,” bolstered by the same rhythm section that backed him in the band's earliest days.
Riley & the Mamou Playboys sample from all parts of their discography on the live album, laying down 15 songs, including the title track from the 1995 album “La Toussaint” and “Pointe Aux Chênes” from the “Happytown” project. Throughout "30 Years Live," two-step rhythms, robust accordion and dizzying fiddle melodies remind listeners why Steve Riley and the Mamou Playboys have been around for so long.
“30 Years Live” is available for purchase at mamouplayboys.com.
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