"Living Legend"

Right on Rhythm/Severn

If gospel music hadn't been dubbed a "joyful noise," the term might have attached itself to zydeco -- at least the unvarnished and contagiously spirited kind championed by Roy Carrier and the Night Rockers.

"Living Legend" often conjures a Louisiana roadhouse racket, with Carrier's accordion producing skeins of riffing blues notes and thick, wheezing chords. Meanwhile, the rhythm section -- bassist Kevin Carrier, scrubboard player Phillip Carriere and drummer Steve "Skeeter" Charlot -- pushes, pulls and propels, as if intent on keeping the dance floor sawdust from settling. Completing the picture is guitarist Raymond Randle, who helps underscore the band's blues roots and boost its seemingly inexhaustible energy.

A sonic upgrade from previous Carrier recordings, "Living Legend" is also his most revealing collection of tunes. In addition to "Put a Hump in Your Back," "What You Gonna Do With a Man Like That" and other full-tilt zydeco romps, the album boasts a stylistically diverse group of songs. Carrier composed all of them, and among the highlights are the stripped-down "lala" music track "I Come From the Country" and the loping blues "You Told Me That You Love Me." Of course, the lyrics seldom amount to much. But as long as Carrier and company are pumping out surefire party grooves, you're not likely to care.

-- Mike Joyce

Appearing Wednesday with Mark Wenner and Robert Lighthouse at Chief Ike's Mambo Room and June 24 at Taliano's in Takoma Park.