YOU CAN DRAW a straight line from the happy-sad music found on Lawrence "Black" Ardoin and his French Zydeco Band's self-titled album back to Amede Ardoin, the great black French accordionist who recorded in the '20s and '30s and who has since influenced generations of Cajun and Creole musicians.

Like his great-uncle Amede and his father Bois Sec (another key figure in the development of zydeco music), Lawrence plays the accordion, pumping gales of life into songs that despite their upbeat and clangorous rhythms are often marked by poignance ("The Lonely Waltz") and despair ("You Used to Call Me"). Some of the tunes date back to Amede's repertoire -- "Cofair" and "Midland Step" -- and all of them, to one degree or another, draw their joy, soulfulness and momentum from a rough and ready blend of squeezebox, fiddle, guitar, rub board, bass, drums and occasional sax.

Granted, the sound mix doesn't always do the band justice, but beginning with the rhythmically infectious "Bayou Two Step," a dance-happy showcase for Lawrence's wheezing accordion and Edward Poulard's sour-toned fiddle, it's clear that what the album lacks in polish it more than makes up for in Southern Louisiana spirit and emotion.