Evangeline Playboys pay 'A Tribute to Austin Pitre' with release of 1999 recording of classic Cajun dancehall music. 18 January 2023

Set for release on March 10, ‘A Tribute to Austin Pitre’ features original members of the Evangeline Playboys Allen (T-Lan) Ardoin on fiddle, Eston Bellow on drums, Junior Martin on steel guitar, and a former drummer of Pitre’s band, Mike Tate, playing accordion in the late bandleaders’ place. Bobby Michot, joins the Evangeline Playboys on guitar and vocals.

Austin Pitre and the Evangeline Playboys represent a golden age of Cajun music, when dancehalls were packed every weekend, and bands were electrifying the generations of repertoire passed on in Cajun and Creole households, giving new life to old melodies, and making new songs that are still standards today. Born in Ville Platte, Louisiana, Pitre drew from diverse influences; traditional dances and tunes, the blues, and nursery rhymes, and popular music of his time.

Mike Tate’s accordion style is as close as one can get to that of Austin Pitre himself, and that is no coincidence, as Tate was hugely inspired by his late bandleader’s mastery of the instrument. As recounted by Fred Charlie: “Mike's love of Cajun music was easy to see, growing up with him. His idol of course was, Austin Pitre. The ones that knew Mike, could hear it in his accordion playing”.Though Eston Bellow was the main drummer for the band, Mike Tate is featured on the famous recording of ‘Les flammes d’enfer’ (The Flames of Hell) recorded in the late 1960s by Ralph Rinzler for the Newport Folk Foundation.

Recorded in 1999 at T-Lan’s outdoor kitchen in Opelousas, LA, The Evangeline Playboys’ “Tribute to Austin Pitre” not only brings Pitre’s music back to life, but is also a rare true representation of a Cajun musicians house jam, often cooking for his musical friends, while playing hours of tunes with no audience, just for themselves. A typical host will keep starting song after song, while the musicians grow hungrier, and perhaps more buzzed, as he knows once he serves the meal the music may be done for the evening. It takes hours to make a good sauce piquant or a courtboullion, so the jam can last hours before the meal is ready. This record was made during a few such occasions.


Evangeline Playboys

Mike Tate – Accordion

Allen “T-Lan” Ardoin – Fiddle

Eston Bellow – Drums

Junior Martin – Steel

Bobby Michot – Guitar, Vocals

Recorded by Bobby Michot in 1999

at T-Lan’s outdoor kitchen in Opelousas LA

Mastered by Kirkland Middleton


01 Evangeline Playboys Special

02 Opelousas Waltz

03 Bayou Teche Two Step

04 Lakeview Special

05 Jungle Club Waltz

06 Tante Adele Two Step

07 Valse d'Arc-en-ciel

08 China Ball Blues

09 Renee Special

10 Grand Mamou

11 Les Flammes D’Enfer

12 Evangeline Playboys Special (trio)