What They're Saying
"Can we TALK about the Squeezebox Stompers? I mean, HOLY COW!! Please pass along our deepest gratitude to your band for bringing us the sounds of New Orleans - people were RAVING about it!! I just wish I could have taped the whole night. You really added that authenticity to our Mardi Gras - you were TOTALLY AWESOME!! THANK YOU!!"
– Habitat for Humanity
Roots and Branches is an engaging sampler of the band’s many elements, within the dozen tunes, all written by Tufo. “Let the Music Take You Away” is a lovely midtempo two-step contrasting the accordion and guitar. “Mardi Gras Magic” might be a tribute to New Orleans’ special musical gumbo, and it rides an easy, toe-tapping second line rhythm. But then “El Dia Del Los Muertos,” or “Day of the Dead” is focused on the fiddle and accordion. “Caribe Zydeco” is another intriguing blend, with its foundation from an old Boogaloo Swamis song that Tufo updated with island accents. Tufo also plays standout piano on several cuts, like the rollicking stride number “Nothing But the Blues,” and the muscular roadhouse gem “Brickyard Blues,” inspired by his father and brothers who are Lynn firefighters.
But the Squeezebox Stompers have a couple of capable singers, as Plitt does a fine job on the elegaic ballad “Midnight on the Bayou,” and also on the poignant “I Won’t Give Up On You.” Guest singer Erinn Brown sings the sultry r&b number “What Do You Want From Me,” which also rides a gumbo rhythm, as Migliozzi crafts some really unique drum patterns. Wadsworth’s smart sax accents throughout the record are another bonus, and he adds stellar harmonica to the finger-popping shuffle “I’d Rather Be Lucky Than Good.” And the nearly six-minute epic that ends the album, “Zydeco Train” has such an irresistibly surging rhythm it is virtually impossible to hear it and sit still.
Jay N. Miller - The Patriot Ledger
“Sincere in its reverence for the musical stylings, Roots and Branches is a solid outing that will beg repeated spins. The music is dramatically different from track to track, "Midnight on the Bayou" a slow blues contrasts with "Zydeco Train" - the CD's final track, which has lots of flavoring from Slim Harpo's "Shake Your Hips" as envisioned by the Rolling Stones on Exile on Main Street. "I'd Rather Be Lucky Than Good" is a happy-go-lucky (if you will) four and a half minute hop a long stomp while "Nothin' But the Blues" is almost 5 minutes of a chant that Duke & The Drivers would love to get their hands on.
The dozen compositions from Ralph Tufo, who also sings some lead vocals, grand piano and Cajun accordion, all crawl through the bayou but show different flavors and colors.
Joe Viglione http://joevigtop40.blogspot.com/
As soon as this came in the mail I figured it was a very similar band to my own Filé Gumbo up here in Seattle. True enough, and one of the most interesting aspects of them is that all12 songs are original, written by squeezebox and piano man Ralph Tufo. Like Filé Gumbo, the Squeezebox Stompers straddle both sides of the imaginary line between Cajun and Zydeco, though they do feature fiddle which makes them feel a little more Cajun. But songs like “Midnight On The Bayou,” while a Cajun waltz, has an almost Pop feel, and would fit just about anywhere. They also feature mandolin, and so have a fairly acoustic feel, though they do feature drums and bass. Tufo sings 6 of the songs, guitarist Larry Plitt sings 4 (backup on 5), Erinn Brown sings lead on one (backup on 4), and mandolin player Eric Kilburn sings one of the songs. “Mardi Gras Magic” ranges further into the Mardi Gras music area, and ranging further yet is “El Dia De Los Muertos,” with its Mexican Halloween theme (but sung in English). “Nothin’ But The Blues” is that with Tufo on piano, and “Caribe Zydeco” reminds me of my own “Calypso Zydeco,” but really with a little more Zydeco flavor and featuring saxophone! Maybe that one’s my favorite track here! “What Do You Want From Me” has more of that Mardi Gras flavor with piano and sax. Hey, if you’re in the Boston area, you should definitely find one of their gigs and check ‘em out! I’d love to do a show with these folks some day! Interestingly Tufo once played with a group called the Boogaloo Swamis, and a drummer who played several shows with Filé Gumbo was with The Swingin’ Swamis (who appear on our Family Jewels CD). More spiritual connections! Squeezeboxstompers.com -MB
“Not only does this CD [Rockin' Ralph’s Roadhouse] swing and swamprock, but it was drawn from the Katrina disaster as a play emphasizing the New Orleans area's unique vibe and contribution to American culture —thus expect blues, zydeco, cajun, a bit of country, jigs, reels, jazz, and a smidge of rock & roll. The combo's accordionist, Ralph Tufo, wrote the entire thing though the liner's more than a little unspecific as to whether the play was actually performed or not. If not, it should be. The character cast is well set up, and the songs indicate the narrative line quite well.
Miss Bon Vivant, Those People, and Alligator Stomp are my favorite cuts, all naturals for the stage as well as for purely sonic purposes, though Larry Plitt's haunting slide guitar in Down on the Delta bids fair to make the fourth place slot. Several cuts are less than perfectly polished, especially re: the vocals, which adds an extra element of down-hominess and rough-road light opera to everything. It'd be interesting to see just how this would all be carried off in the flesh, under the lights, and beside the roadhouse.”
– Mark S. Tucker, Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
The Squeezebox Stompers...play an eclectic and breezy mix of rootsy music - sometimes with an Irish flavor, sometimes Cajun. There’s folk, there’s blues, there’s Zydeco. It’s a mix of new and old, traditional but pertinent . . .Call the music what you want, but the Stompers certainly bring credibility to the project. All are veterans of the local music scene and have crossed paths musically over the past three decades. They also, despite differing approaches, tap into the same vein of experience and resources.
– J.C. Lockwood, North Shore
“Various members of the band have distinguished themselves as music award winners: Ralph Tufo with 4 Boston Music Awards and Larry Plitt as the 2007 winner of the Boston Folk Festival Songwriting Contest.”
– Winthrop Sun Transcript
“How much fun is attending a Squeezebox Stompers show? I dare to say that it’s so much fun that the band should be banned in Boston and made illegal. Nawwwww. . . then we wouldn’t get to listen to their rollicking tunes and do the two-step and swirl around like we were all born on the bayou!”
– Kathy Sands-Boehmer, Me & Thee Blogspot
“Listening to the Squeezebox Stompers is like taking a walk through the streets of the French Quarter. The Stompers keep the dance floor busy with their trademark Louisiana sound injected into every genre from Cajun, Zydeco, Blues, to country. They are a refreshing change of pace in New England, a long way from the warm Bourbon Street vibe they lovingly conjure with every performance.”
– Brett Cromwell, Lowell Sun
“Even in staid New England, every day is Mardi Gras with the Squeezebox Stompers. Wherever they go, they bring the party with their mix of Zydeco, Cajun, blues and good ol’ roadhouse rock ‘n roll. Whether you’re a dancer or just a toe tapper, the Stompers will get your blood boiling and put a smile on your face at the same time. Led by Rockin’ Ralph Tufo, formerly of the award-winning Boogaloo Swamis, the Stompers feature musicians who have decades of experience playing the roots and branches of American music. Guitarist Larry Plitt was the winner of the 2007 Boston Folk Festival Songwriting Contest…”
– WUMB Music Fest 2011, University of Massachusetts 91.9 FM
“ The band ranges through styles, writers and performances that will leave your head spinning in the most delicious way…”
– Rambles Magazine