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Cajun Zydeco

Zydeco, Buckwheat and Otherwise, is Fun

This is second zydeco post at The Daily Music Break. The first is the almost fun and infectious Don’t Mess with My Toot Toot by Rockin’ Sidney. As the name implies, it is more a novelty number. I feel ignorant, because despite the greatness of Buckwheat Zydeco, the king of the musical form is Clifton Chenier, as Buckwheat Zydeco’s profile says. Chenier definitely is next.

None of this take away from Buckwheat. Check out Hey Ma Petit Fille I’m Going Now (above) and Creole Country (below). Here is how AllMusic describes Zydeco.

Contemporary zydeco’s most popular performer, accordionist Stanley “Buckwheat” Dural was the natural successor to the throne vacated by the death of his mentor Clifton Chenier; infusing his propulsive party music with strains of rock and R&B, his urbanized sound — complete with touches of synthesizer and trumpet — married traditional and contemporary zydeco with uncommon flair, in the process reaching a wider mainstream audience than any artist before him. Dural was born in Lafayette, LA, on November 14, 1947; with his braided hair, he soon acquired the nickname “Buckwheat” (an homage to the Our Gang character), and by the age of four was already touted as a piano prodigy. Although often exposed to traditional zydeco as a child, he preferred R&B, and by the mid-’50s was playing professionally with Lynn August; Dural’s acclaim as a keyboardist quickly spread, and he also backed notables including Joe Tex and Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown. (Continue Reading…)

Unfortunately, Buckwheat Zydeco has been diagnosed with cancer. Hopefully, the prediction of a full recovery will be accurate.

Zydeco music is absolutely terrific. I bet some of music that was played at the parties described here was unbelievable:

When times got tough for a family, they would throw a “La La”, a Saturday night dance in the living room. Emptying the room of all furniture, they would charge ten or fifteen cents admission and sell gumbo, homemade beer and lemonade. Even churches would give benefit “La La” to support different functions of the church.

By most of the music being sung in Creole French, “La La” music was only thought of as being for rural and “old folks. One noted musician, the late great “King of Zydeco”, Clifton Chenier, is credited with naming the music ZYDECO “les haricots” (snapbeans). (Continue Reading…)