OFFBEAT MAGAZINE | December 2022
Lil’ Bit O’ Dis, Lil’ Bit O’ Dat
When you got 67 years in the music biz, chances are you pretty much done it all. VJ Boulet, a.k.a. “Boo” to his circle of buddies and associates, can certainly make that claim. He’s been a piano-pounding sideman and an esteemed songwriter whose songs have been recorded by Jim Olivier, Jimmy C. Newman, Clarence “Frogman Henry,” Freddie Fender, and Jamie Bergeron, not to mention featured in an occasional movie or two. He’s acted and directed TV shows and produced albums by T.K. Hulin, but that’s a book for another day. Ironically, Boo never set out to record a full-length album until Jin Records honcho Floyd Soileau suggested it a couple of years ago. So, at 84 years old, Boo makes his multi-genre debut, which runs the gamut of his musical breath with nine swamp pop, Cajun, country, and spiritual originals—10 tracks altogether.
What’s striking here is how Boulet appears so candid about his mortality. On the country tinged “My Last Rodeo,” a protagonist admits his life is in its final chapter. “Don’t Cry For Me” is even more moving: someone at peace with the idea of returning home to the grace of God. The arrangement is majestic, glorious, and inexplicably comforting, overpowering at times, with the female background vocalists conjuring up images of watchful angels. Interestingly, it’s an original that has been around for a while. Boulet sang for his friend Olivier’s funeral in 2008. Since then, it’s been oft heard at funerals around the area.
As noted in “What’s Going to Happen to Swamp Pop,” Boulet also worries about the future of the indigenous Gulf Coast genre when its defining legends no longer walk the Earth. It’s a situation popper pundits can relate to, but that’s what Boo does—he writes about situations anyone can visualize. “Let’s Sit and Talk Things Over” is another example: a man attempts to reconcile a rocky relationship by inviting dialogue.
Boo also shares his Cajun heritage on three stirring tracks, with the talented Chris Stafford playing everything (accordion, twin fiddles, steel guitar, and rhythm guitar) except bass and drums. With this composite sketch of Boo’s extensive musical personality, it goes to show it’s never too late to rack up another milestone.
written by Dan Willging