Cajun and zydeco music is not just for old people

Message Bookmarked
Bookmark Removed
Geoff Himes has a nice article in the March 4, 2007 NY Times about young Louisiana Cajun bands like the Pine Leaf Boys, and how they are attracting a young audience in Louisiana. I know that there are also young Louisiana and Texas Creole zydeco bands who incorporate rap and funk into their sound. Now I discovered Louisiana sounds when I was in my 20s. Years later though, in the DC area at least, the only people who go to zydeco and Cajun shows are fanatic Cajun and zydeco dancing couples who also discovered the music back when i did or even before. The Pine Leaf Boys play to 40 something and up only crowds here in the DC area. Maybe there's nothing wrong with that (since I'm in the over 40 age group myself)? Maybe there's not enough media attention to attract current 20 year olders the way I was intrigued by Joe Sasfy articles in DC papers and Christgau and others mentioning stuff in the Voice? Maybe cuz the groups uysed to play bars years ago and not just dances (where folks who can't do all the 'right' steps might feel intimidated). Whether you worry about this or not, you can weigh in here on zydeco and Cajun sounds... I'll post the Pine Leaf Boys article below...

curmudgeon, Monday, 5 March 2007 14:23 (eleven years ago) Permalink

Pine Leaf Boys NY Times article

March 4, 2007
Cajun Sound, Rock ’n’ Roll Energy

THIS wasn’t a show for Mardi Gras tourists. On Lundi Gras, as they call the day before Fat Tuesday in south Louisiana, the Pine Leaf Boys were onstage before a crowd of locals at the Grant Street Dancehall here. The five musicians, all in their 20s, played songs by Cajun legends like the 1950s accordionist Iry LeJeune and the 1930s fiddler Dennis McGee, but the dancers who were packed shoulder to shoulder on the well-worn wooden floor didn’t seem to care about the history. They were more interested in the visceral excitement of the band’s signature song, “Pine Leaf Boy Two Step.”

The songwriter Wilson Savoy, a long and lanky accordionist in a white mesh farmer’s cap, sang in Cajun French with whoops of excitement. A bleating melodic phrase from his button accordion was echoed by a high-pitched fiddle line and shoved along by an impatient rhythm section of guitar, bass and drums. A spell was cast, combining a mysterious past — the nearly forgotten dialect and the archaic squeezebox’s red bellows — with an unabashed rock ’n’ roll energy conducive to the elbow-flying, hip-swiveling spirit on the dance floor.

The band sustained that spell for 90 minutes. The fiddler Cedric Watson, dressed in a blue Cajun Mardi Gras costume with yellow and green fringe, closed out the show with a new arrangement of “Zydeco Gris Gris.” Mr. Watson sawed out the infectious tune and led the cries of “Zydeco!” The musicians’ fellow 20-somethings in the crowd hollered right back.

This was the Pine Leaf Boys’ seventh show in five days, and if you had spent the Mardi Gras weekend in Lafayette, the biggest city in the Cajun region known as Acadiana, you could have also seen the Lost Bayou Ramblers at the Blue Moon Saloon on Saturday night and the Red Stick Ramblers at 307 Downtown on Sunday night. At each spot you would have found young dancers responding with the same enthusiasm.

These three Lafayette bands, with a fourth — Feufollet, a teenage group that spent the weekend touring the Midwest — form the core of a renaissance in Cajun and Creole music. After years of recycled arrangements and graying performers and listeners, Acadiana’s dance halls are suddenly filled with young musicians, young dancers and a hard-rocking approach to the old acoustic instruments.

Next month Arhoolie Records will release the Pine Leaf Boys’ second album, “Blues de Musicien,” an impressive recording that may vault them onto the national roots-music scene — though probably not onto the pop charts. They are introducing the album with an East Coast tour that brings them to Connolly’s in Manhattan on Sunday night.

Cajun music is the fiddle-and-accordion-based sound invented by French immigrants in rural southern Louisiana and first recorded in 1928; Creole was the variation created by their African-American neighbors. In the 1990s Cajun and Creole were eclipsed on the local music scene by zydeco, an outgrowth of Creole that was bluesier and more percussive. There were some great zydeco acts in the ’90s — Beau Jocque, Boozoo Chavis, Geno Delafose, Nathan & the Zydeco Cha Chas — but they largely abandoned the fiddle, the waltzes and the French language, all essential elements of Cajun and Creole. The Pine Leaf Boys are able to bring back those neglected Cajun aspects without sacrificing any of zydeco’s dance-floor excitement.

“Cajun music has survived because it’s dance music,” Mr. Savoy, 25, said before the show. “Cajuns have a need to go out on a Saturday night to a dance hall and have a good time.”

When he goes out to dance, Mr. Savoy said, “I want to hear a 25-year-old kid jamming on the accordion in a bar where young people are screaming on Football Friday.” Then again, “I don’t want to hear five two-steps in a row,” he added. “I want to hear a waltz so I can get close to a woman.”

ON the Sunday afternoon before Mardi Gras, Marc and Ann Savoy gave a tour of the home where their four children, Wilson, Joel, Sarah and Gabie, developed their deep affection for Cajun culture. Outside Eunice, La., northwest of Lafayette, the 1911 white farmhouse with the yellow trim and red roof sits at the end of a long driveway flanked by old cypress and oak trees and at the center of a 200-acre farm that belonged to Marc’s grandfather. There are home movies, Ann Savoy said, of her children in their pajamas sprawled on the screened porch with their coloring books while some of the greatest figures in Cajun music — Dennis McGee, Dewey Balfa and D. L. Menard — jammed with the parents of the oblivious children.

Like many Acadiana musicians Wilson and his siblings more or less inherited the family business from their parents. Marc Savoy is one of North America’s most respected makers of button accordions, smaller and reedier-sounding than piano accordions. His shop, the Savoy Music Center in Eunice, sells Cajun instruments and recordings. With his wife and the fiddler Michael Doucet of Beausoleil he plays accordion in the Savoy-Doucet Band; last year he self-released his latest solo album, “Marc Savoy Plays Cajun Accordion: Back to the Basics Savoy Style.”

Ann Savoy, a singer and guitarist, has her own bundle of projects, including the Zozo Sisters, a duo with Linda Ronstadt that resulted in the 2006 album “Adieu False Heart” (Vanguard). Nominated for a Grammy for best traditional folk album, it lost to Bruce Springsteen last month.

Ms. Savoy’s parents were jazz buffs in Richmond, Va., and she revisits those roots on a swing record to be released in May, credited to Ann Savoy and Her Sleepless Knights. Meanwhile her all-female Cajun band, the Magnolia Sisters, is working on a second album of traditional Cajun children’s songs. And the second Savoy Family Band album, with Marc, Ann, Wilson and Joel, is set for a summer release.

“Music was a part of the household,” Ann Savoy, 55, recalled. “The instruments were all over the place. We didn’t make a big deal about taking lessons. We just said you can pick up an instrument and join in if you want. Sometimes the best way to drive children away from music is to pressure them to play.”

Marc Savoy, 66, added: “When Wilson said, ‘Daddy, can I play your accordion?’ I said, ‘Sure, but you have to treat it with respect, because it’s delicate. But don’t expect me to show you anything. You have to figure it out for yourself.’ ”

He admitted that later, after he saw that his children were serious about music, he showed them a thing or two. “This music is part of who we are as a family and a people,” he said, “so you don’t want to screw around with it.”

The Savoy tradition was also passed along to Joel, who was a founding member of the Red Stick Ramblers. He didn’t adapt well to the band’s grueling road schedule and amicably departed to start a new Cajun-Creole label, Valcour Records. His most recent release is “Allons Boire un Coup: A Collection of Cajun and Creole Drinking Songs.” Featuring contributions from the Pine Leaf Boys, the Red Stick Ramblers, the Lost Bayou Ramblers, Feufollet, Ann Savoy and Joel Savoy himself, the disc’s combination of old songs and fresh approaches is a fine introduction to the lively revival.

“I want to document what’s going on here,” Joel Savoy, 26, said, “because it’s exciting to see all these young kids playing this weird traditional music with accordions and fiddles and to have all these young kids eating it up like it’s the coolest thing ever.”

Joel Savoy’s commitment to the Cajun-Creole revival includes organizing a traditional Courir de Mardi Gras near his parents’ home. This old rural Mardi Gras run features costumed revelers on horseback or foot going from farm to farm to beg for chickens for the gumbo pot while a Cajun band wagon plays on an old hay wagon.

In recent years the courirs in many Louisiana towns have allowed floats, beads, recorded music, uncostumed onlookers and drunken fights until, he said, they became a bad parody of Mardi Gras in New Orleans’s French Quarter. So he and his childhood friend Linzay Young started a traditional courir.

“Linzay and I have always been into creating our own scene,” Joel Savoy explained, adding, “We did that with the Red Stick Ramblers and now we’re doing it with our Courir de Mardi Gras.”

So it was that at 9:30 on Mardi Gras morning 300 people in screen masks (made from window screens), conical caps and fringe-draped costumes stood in the front yard of Joel Savoy’s neighbor, Rick Smith. Mr. Smith was on his roof, holding a writhing, flapping chicken in each hand. He was willing to donate them to the gumbo pot, but according to custom he was going to make the maskers chase and catch the chickens. The maskers responded by stretching out whichever hand wasn’t holding a beer.

Meanwhile, beneath a tree in the yard, Joel’s brother Wilson, dressed in a plaid costume with gold and maroon fringe, was playing accordion while Joel, decked out in a red and yellow costume, was playing fiddle. It was Cajun music for catching chickens, and the two brothers were beaming.

curmudgeon, Monday, 5 March 2007 14:25 (eleven years ago) Permalink

I need novamax (Lomax) from Houston to add some wisdom here, and the American Routes people.

curmudgeon, Monday, 5 March 2007 16:41 (eleven years ago) Permalink

The Bluerunners, also from Lafayette, have always had a big dose of punk energy.

If Timi Yuro would be still alive, most other singers could shut up, Monday, 5 March 2007 21:33 (eleven years ago) Permalink

Yea, I think they're still around. I saw them up here in DC and once down in Louisiana.

curmudgeon, Tuesday, 6 March 2007 05:09 (eleven years ago) Permalink

A sad article

Losing Louisiana

This Robert Buckman article says that in Louisiana small zydeco clubs are closing and Creole-Americans are losing interest, although some zydeco bands are playing to bigger crowds in more anglo clubs.

curmudgeon, Tuesday, 6 March 2007 14:39 (eleven years ago) Permalink

Yeah, when I was living in Richmond, you'd get large doses of this stuff in Anglo clubs and at festivals.

If Timi Yuro would be still alive, most other singers could shut up, Tuesday, 6 March 2007 23:04 (eleven years ago) Permalink

In DC it is now less heard at clubs and festivals. Just mainly special dances ala swing dances and folk contra events. It's interesting (and disappointing) to see how now the music seems most popular around the US only to over 40 white folks though (I remember when under 40 white folks got into it), and in Louisiana and Texas it is appealling to, well --I'm not sure, it depends on whom you talk to how many Creole Americans of whatever age are still into it (and Cajuns too). The only under 40 folks outside of the gulf coast who seem the most remotely interested are jamband types (and I do not like jamband sounds at all)!

curmudgeon, Tuesday, 6 March 2007 23:50 (eleven years ago) Permalink

Sounds cool, I wish the show had been this Sunday instead.

calstars, Wednesday, 7 March 2007 00:37 (eleven years ago) Permalink

On the Houston-Beaumont zydeco Web site, there are about a dozen zydeco shows listed in the Greater Houston area in the next week alone. There is zydeco on black radio here and about six or seven Creole Catholic churches that hold dances. And it's not just an old crowd that goes to these shows -- crowds for the rap-influenced groups like J. Paul and the Zydeco Nu-Breed and Nooney and the Floaters have a median age of about 30.

Zydeco is kind of the unofficial soundtrack to spring time in Houston. There are lots of crawfish boils this time of year and you can't have one of those without zydeco. (Or brass band music if you're rollin' NOLA style.)

Creole fiddler Cedric Watson of the Pine Leaf Boys is from near here; so is accordionist Corey Ledet, another ardent neo-traditionalist. (Ledet is from the prosperous suburb of Sugar Land; Watson is from the rural town of Sealy, which is about 40 miles west of Houston.) What's striking is that both of these young guys have turned up their noses at the easy money they could get pandering to the zyde-rap market to play the super-trad music they love, which has meant that they have had to go to Louisiana. There they can play for both the Creole old-timers and the young (often white) kids who seem to be leading another South Louisiana cultural renaissance.

I also found that Buckman article pretty sad, but possibly flawed. It could be that he just talked to the old guard. Zydeco is definitely not frozen in time down here, and just because a 40-year-old joint run by a 89-year-old man is having trouble does not mean the music is dying out. It could be that his audience has died off, the type of zydeco he likes is no longer hip, or his place now seems shabby compared to a nicer joint across the Parish that might even have its own beer license. The same rock clubs don't stay cool forever -- why should zydeco be any different?

Which is not to say that casinos aren't tough competition for club owners, 'cause they are. And here in Houston, there are a few places that don't bother with bands and opt for zydeco DJs instead. (They will mix in country, soul-blues, R&B and the odd rap tune, too.)

Roger Wood's book Texas Zydeco is a must-read for anyone curious about the state of modern zydeco, as well as its all-too-often neglected Texas history.

As for Cajun music, there is almost none here and I recently wrote a column wondering why the hell that was so. My guess is that the Cajuns assimilated more. The Creoles had a lot more cohesiveness -- as Catholics they were apart from the black community and it has always been their churches that have held them together. Cajun emigres to Houston have never had their own parish churches -- they just mixed in with the Catholics that were already here. And that's a bit weird since there are so many of them -- more here than in all but a couple of La Parishes according to census data -- and Houston does have Catholic churches that started out German, Polish, Mexican, Vietnamese and even an Italian one if I am not mistaken. (Most of the urban churches that aren't black or Vietnamese are now Mexican or Central American in any case.)

This article was spurred on by seeing the excellent young Cajun swing revival band the Red Stick Ramblers. I caught 'em at the Continental here -- don't miss 'em if they come through your town.

novamax, Wednesday, 7 March 2007 04:48 (eleven years ago) Permalink

Unfortunately, I did miss the Red Stick Ramblers the last time they came through town. Of the young Cajun bands, I've only seen the Pine Leaf Boys but not the Red Stick Ramblers, the Lost Bayou Ramblers, or Feufollet. I think J. Paul and the Zydeco Nu-Breed once came through this way (hmmm, I forgot whether I saw them). I did see Lil Brian and the Zydeco Travelers, a Houston area group that incorporates old-school funk into their zydeco sound. Lil Brian told me awhile back that he's doing more gigging in Europe and around the US then back in Texas.

curmudgeon, Wednesday, 7 March 2007 09:25 (eleven years ago) Permalink

I saw Lil' Brian in 1997 in Nashville and his music was one of the things that cemented my then-shaky decision to move from there to Houston.

Yeah, he doesn't play here that often because he has become expensive, so that angle of the Buckman story does have some merit now that I think about it.

CJ Chenier also lives here and rarely plays here, but in his case it's not just his fee. There is some animosity toward him from the other bands...Not sure how much is over the Clifton connection or because they think he is overrated or what, but people really hammer him down here. (At least that was the case about six years ago.)

novamax, Wednesday, 7 March 2007 18:43 (eleven years ago) Permalink

Thanks for all that info.

curmudgeon, Friday, 9 March 2007 13:59 (eleven years ago) Permalink

[Removed Illegal Link]

From the Times of Acadiana

story by Nik belanger, Times staff
photos by Leslie Westbrook


"Sid Williams, owner of El Sid O's Zydeco dance club, holds his local liquor license Monday at the club. Williams said there's a possibility that he will close his club when the license expires.

As zydeco gains popularity around the globe, local support dwindles. El Sid O's may soon close its doors permanently, ending the legendary venue's multidecade reign as Lafayette's premiere zydeco stop.

They don't dance at El Sid O's like they used to. The club, which at one time brought excitement to the corner of Martin Luther King Drive and St. Antoine Streets every weekend, now holds only a few dances every month. ...."

curmudgeon, Friday, 9 March 2007 14:09 (eleven years ago) Permalink

Acadiana article

Hopefully I posted it right this time

curmudgeon, Friday, 9 March 2007 14:11 (eleven years ago) Permalink

But the Grant Street club in Lafayette is apparently doing ok.

curmudgeon, Friday, 9 March 2007 15:25 (eleven years ago) Permalink

one month passes...
Lots of zydeco and Cajun action down in New Orleans at the Jazz & Heritage Fest (Aka Jazzfest). I'm not there this year, but here's one of likely several folks blogging about it:

curmudgeon, Saturday, 28 April 2007 16:55 (eleven years ago) Permalink

I wish some of those Houston zydeco bands would come up to DC. We just keep getting the same ol' Louisiana acts (they're not bad, I just want something new).

curmudgeon, Tuesday, 1 May 2007 14:54 (eleven years ago) Permalink

Longtime Offbeat writer John Swenson has an article in the May issue of that magazine about how zydeco no longer has performers competing and claiming the title of King of the genre (like in the Boozoo vs Beau Jocque days or way back when with others). He does not mention any Texas zydeco bands though (but notes how zydeco has developed a following internationally). The article confirms for me why I lost interest in Terrance Simeon--he just wants to reach aging deadheads and jamband fans. Ugh. He does talk about Boozoo's relatives and Rosie Ledet. I haven't seen her or heard her in years, but I always loved her early double-entendre filled stuff.

curmudgeon, Monday, 14 May 2007 15:57 (eleven years ago) Permalink

I gotta research those Houston bands...

curmudgeon, Tuesday, 15 May 2007 04:16 (eleven years ago) Permalink

Bois Sec Ardoin died. Story in the Louisiana Advertiser:

This Creole accordionist was something special.

curmudgeon, Sunday, 20 May 2007 04:07 (eleven years ago) Permalink

Bois Sec with Canray on Youtube.

curmudgeon, Sunday, 20 May 2007 04:09 (eleven years ago) Permalink

Not punk, but plenty of soul, was Balfa Toujours, at least live; I haven't heard their albums. Started by the daughter of Dewey Balfa, I think, and some other offspring of the Balfa Brothers involved at some points. Wanna say they're broken up, though hope not. There's also some excellent cajun and zydeco on the soundtrack to a German movie, Shultze Gets The Blues. It's about a German folk fan who gets totally bored with middle age, and comes to the American South, and it's got German-American bands, and the Bobby Jones Czech Band, and Kerry Cristensen, who combines Swiss- and Jimmie Rodgers-associated yodelling (the combination, or unbroken connection, seems to have its own party tradition in the Southeast-Southwest cusp that Schultze is travelling) Cajun and zydeco incl. Sunpie and the Louisiana Sunspots, The Creole Connection, Carriere Brothers,Zydeco Force, Cleoma B. Falcon (some of these are from Shultze's collection, apparently, like 78s)Forced Exposure's where I got mine.

dow, Sunday, 20 May 2007 19:47 (eleven years ago) Permalink

Kerry "Christensen," that is.

dow, Sunday, 20 May 2007 19:52 (eleven years ago) Permalink

Yea, Balfa Tujours are nice Cajun. I also have fond memories of the late Dewey Balfa. I found the below at a website:

With the birth of their second child, Sophie Jo Powell, born February 12, 2004, Christine Balfa and Dirk Powell and Balfa Toujours have not been touring as much lately, but the group is still making appearances at select venues around the country, including a performance before a crowd of some 5,000 in El Paso, Texas, in June 2005. Meanwhile Dirk Powell has been busy with a variety of projects, including performing on Loretta Lynn's Grammy-winning album.

curmudgeon, Sunday, 20 May 2007 20:02 (eleven years ago) Permalink

Forgot she'd married Dirk Powell! Good to know they'll be back, apparently/hopefully.

dow, Sunday, 20 May 2007 21:27 (eleven years ago) Permalink

Not all zydeco or Cajun, it's Texas accordion music in Houston courtesy of Ramiro Burr's San Antonio blog:

It's down to the final seven contestants in the Texas Folklife's 18th annual Accordion Kings & Queens show and The Big Squeeze. Film producer Hector Galan will be in Houston Friday, June 1 to work on his latest project, 'The Big Squeeze,' a film about Texas Folklife's first accordion contest, including the June 2 Accordion Kings & Queens concert at which the winner will be chosen.

Performing at the 2007 Accordion Kings & Queens concert will be Chubby Carrier & the Bayou Swamp Band, Mingo Saldívar y Sus Tremendos Cuatro Espadas, Ginny Mac & the Road to Texas Band Miller Outdoor Theatre is located at 100 Concert Drive in Hermann Park.

And, the seven contestants in the big squeeze are: George Arechiga, Mission; Jose Ricardo Calleros, Mission; A.J. Castillo, Austin; Juan Longoria Jr., Brownsville; Matt Tolentino, Dallas; Robert Vega

curmudgeon, Saturday, 2 June 2007 20:33 (eleven years ago) Permalink

I wonder who won

curmudgeon, Sunday, 3 June 2007 04:21 (eleven years ago) Permalink

Still wondering. Maybe google will eventually help me find out.

curmudgeon, Sunday, 3 June 2007 14:20 (eleven years ago) Permalink

three months pass...

LSU website that lists lots and lots of zydeco and Cajun bands, offers bios, and links

curmudgeon, Saturday, 15 September 2007 20:14 (eleven years ago) Permalink

Maybe that music critic guy from Baton Rouge Advocate who shows up here every once in a while to do ask some research questions will have something to add.

James Redd and the Blecchs, Sunday, 16 September 2007 01:27 (eleven years ago) Permalink

I just went to a zydeco dance with Rosie Ledet and her band band tonight. I hadn't seen her in years but have always loved her sultry soulful voice. They are still worth seeing even if you don't have the proper zydeco dancing footwork down. They're gonna be in NYC at Connolly's in midtown Sunday night.

curmudgeon, Sunday, 16 September 2007 05:04 (eleven years ago) Permalink

I do not think she did my fave cut though, "I'm Gonna Take Care of Your Dog (Show him where he can bury his bone)."

curmudgeon, Sunday, 16 September 2007 12:29 (eleven years ago) Permalink

My two sons were on stage with Buckwheat Zydeco last week.
Sorry, had to tell someone.

Jazzbo, Sunday, 16 September 2007 12:49 (eleven years ago) Permalink

That's cool (I once sneared at Buckwheat and Dimension 5 (Haikunym Cibula) rightly took me to task for my snobbery. Buckwheat has a zydeco kids cd, right. Plus I think he used to play in funk and soul bands in the 70s.

curmudgeon, Sunday, 16 September 2007 23:20 (eleven years ago) Permalink

I was a Zydeco skeptic until I saw Beau Jocque perform at the Mid City Lanes Rock 'n Bowl back in the early '90s. He was a pretty intense performer, which I guess you have to be if you want to be heard above the sound of balls smashing into bowling pins.

James Redd and the Blecchs, Monday, 17 September 2007 01:37 (eleven years ago) Permalink

Beau's bass player, Chuck Bush, was on guitar with Rosie Ledet at the zydeco dance the other night. He added more fuzztone than you usually hear from a zydeco axe-slinger.

curmudgeon, Monday, 17 September 2007 04:48 (eleven years ago) Permalink

one month passes...

Saw Rosie Ledet last month, and Leroy Thomas & the Zydeco Roadrunners last night (I think they're playing in Providence tonight and New York City Sunday night). Need to blurb more about this. Plus I've been reading about various festivals and stuff.

curmudgeon, Saturday, 27 October 2007 17:02 (eleven years ago) Permalink

Nice funky bottom from Leroy Thomas' rhythm section. Plus covers of Ray Charles, Hank Williams and the Everly Brothers. He does some of the same songs that Geno Delafose does. Like Geno he takes a traditional approach--that means he can get '70s style funky but no hiphop influence like some of the younger guys. Zydeco couples dancing when done right is so cool. But I don't have the time to practice.

curmudgeon, Monday, 29 October 2007 14:33 (eleven years ago) Permalink

three weeks pass...

Article published Nov 19, 2007
Popular accordion player Zydeco Joe dies at age 64
Herman Fuselier
Funeral services are pending for musician Zydeco Joe, aka Joseph Adam Mouton of Lafayette, who died Saturday at Lafayette General Hospital. Mouton was a popular accordion player, known for hits such as "You Can't Rooster Like You Used To," "Poppa Jack" and "Jack Rabbit."
Mouton was 64. Syrie Funeral Home in Lafayette is in charge of arrangements.

Joseph Mouton, Mouton's son, confirmed Sunday that his father died from complications related to strep pneumonia. After several attempts to revive Mouton from cardiac arrest, he was declared brain dead Saturday afternoon. Mouton was kept on life support for 24 hours so his organs could be harvested for donation.

Mouton's death came as a shock to many in the zydeco music community. He had performed Nov. 10 at Rock the Moon, a KRVS listener appreciation party, held Nov. 10 at the Blue Moon Saloon. He also played Wednesday during the 21st Annual Thanksgiving Zydeco Food Drive at El Sido's Zydeco and Blues Club.

Cullen Washington of Lake Charles, his longtime producer, said Mouton was preparing to go back into the studio. His recent CD, "Black Cat" on Zydeco Gumbo Records, had become a best seller. Washington was ordering more copies for distribution.

Washington remembers Mouton as "a giving person" who often played for elderly residents nursing homes. Mouton was also proud of his Creole roots and the French language used in his music.

"What you see with Zydeco Joe was what he was," said Washington. "He used to tell me he might not be the best accordion player.

"But I used to tell him he might not be Keith Frank or J. Paul, but nobody could beat him at what he did. Not many could do the old school zydeco and the Creole French like he did. He was a natural guy."

Mouton was born Oct. 25, 1943, in rural Lafayette Parish. Although he played guitar as a teen, Mouton did not learn accordion until he was 45. A close friend, Robley Hebert, died in an auto accident and his mother gave the accordion to Mouton.

Dudley Broussard, a nursing home resident, showed Mouton how to play blues and old-style, zydeco tunes.

After mastering the instrument, Mouton formed his Laissez Le Bon Temps Rouler Band in 1988. The group played clubs and festivals from Lafayette to New Orleans, along with some out-of-state appearance.

Mouton recorded two CDs, "Jack Rabbit" in 2001 on Maison de Soul Records of Ville Platte, and "Black Cat" in 2006.

curmudgeon, Monday, 19 November 2007 20:22 (eleven years ago) Permalink

Man, that's terrible. Me and a friend of mine here in Houston have a two-man Zydeco Joe cult. "Can't Rooster Like You Useta" is a classic.

novamax, Tuesday, 20 November 2007 12:15 (eleven years ago) Permalink

Awesome song title

curmudgeon, Tuesday, 20 November 2007 19:26 (eleven years ago) Permalink

two months pass...
croc style - boom like that

CaptainLorax, Sunday, 27 January 2008 21:59 (ten years ago) Permalink

CaptainLorax, Sunday, 27 January 2008 22:05 (ten years ago) Permalink

two weeks pass...

Terrence Simien used to put on some great zydeco shows back in the 80s and he would occasionally add some blues and reggae and roots rock into the mix. By the '90s he increased the amount of non-zydeco and began to attract a jam band following. I lost interest in him. Recently I read that he and his wife's multi-year effort to get a Cajun and Zydeco category added to the Grammies paid off. And sure enough, the Grammy folks just gave him the award this year! While his efforts schooling the Grammys folks on the need for such an award is to be commended, it's a bit more questionable saying his latest cd was more worthy than that of the other artists nominated (and some of the great artists not even nominated). Yes I will admit that I have not heard his latest. And maybe expecting a smart decision from the Grammy folks (who once gave Jethro Tull the best heavy metal band award)is naive.

curmudgeon, Wednesday, 13 February 2008 01:17 (ten years ago) Permalink

one month passes...

I'm way into zydeco right now. I admit, the 'hipster proof'ness of the genre is what drew me to it initially, but man, there is some rockin' shit to be discovered here. This was sorta my last stone unturned, genre wise, and I'm pretty excited about it right now. Anyone got any recommendations besides those listed above?

If Assholes Could Fly This Place Would Be An Airport, Wednesday, 9 April 2008 06:31 (ten years ago) Permalink

do u guys prefer polkas or waltzes

Curt1s Stephens, Wednesday, 9 April 2008 06:56 (ten years ago) Permalink

Waltzes are Cajun (and sometimes Creole), polkas are not. I prefer faster-tempoed zydeco to both, but if I had to choose I'd take waltzes.

I like all the zydeco acts that regularly come through the DC area--Curley Taylor, Andre Thiery, Geno Delafose...Plus, if you want to just listen to cds of old classic stuff you can also check out that Kingdom of Zydeco book. There's another book on Texas zydeco that I've been meaning to get.

I wish the more hiphop-inflected zydeco acts from Texas (Houston area mostly) would come my way-Step Rideaux and others. I'm spacing out on some of the names right now. Will list more of 'em later.

curmudgeon, Wednesday, 9 April 2008 11:28 (ten years ago) Permalink

Actually Novamax listed 'em above. On the Cajun side of things, I've always liked Steve Riley & the Mamou Playboys who add zydeco, melodic swamp pop, and minor-key balladry to their Cajun sound. They're touring the US in May (or at least coming to DC).

curmudgeon, Wednesday, 9 April 2008 12:40 (ten years ago) Permalink

Another great Houston act: Lady D and the Zydeco Tornadoes. Her albums just make me smile.

novamax, Wednesday, 9 April 2008 16:28 (ten years ago) Permalink

I think director Mugge has been influenced by Blank. I have seen and danced to Keith and Rosie, but not the others, although I have heard good things from them all.

curmudgeon, Wednesday, 21 October 2015 15:01 (three years ago) Permalink

one month passes...

Cajun band from Louisiana with former members of the Red Stick Ramblers

curmudgeon, Monday, 7 December 2015 22:24 (three years ago) Permalink

Watched a bunch of zydeco dancing YouTube videos yesterday. Looks fun

i;m thinking about thos Beans (Michael B), Monday, 14 December 2015 21:06 (three years ago) Permalink

It is although some folks try a little too hard to be all fancy with too many spins and such. It takes a lot of practice too.

curmudgeon, Thursday, 17 December 2015 03:48 (three years ago) Permalink

And some folks who get really good at couples zydeco dancing, sneer at those who are not so good. Or maybe that's just me being paranoid...

curmudgeon, Thursday, 17 December 2015 18:33 (three years ago) Permalink

one month passes...

Sad news. I always wanted to go there and now its closing

January 17, 2016

After 69 years, Slim's Y-Ki-Ki closing

Herman Fuselier

Slim’s Y-Ki-Ki, a zydeco dancehall in Opelousas since 1947, has closed its doors. Owner Tony Gradney confirmed Sunday that the club is no longer in business and held its last event Dec. 29. The world-renowned dancehall will likely be appraised soon and put up for sale. As word of the club’s closure spread last week, Gradney has had at least six people inquire about buying it.

But Gradney, 58, said he’s had enough. Since they were teenagers, Tony and his sister, Cynthia, 67, have worked in the club, opened by their late father, Arnold “Slim” Gradney. Grammy winners, like Clifton Chenier, Rockin’ Sidney and Terrance Simien, cut their musical teeth at Slim’s. Clifton Chenier, the late King of Zydeco, are among the Grammy winners who have performed at Slim's Y-Ki-Kin in Opelousas.

Media outlets across the globe have visited the club. “Passion Fish,” a 1992, Oscar-nominated movie starring Mary McDonnell and Alfre Woodard, features a frenetic dance scene with John Delafose and the Eunice Playboys on stage at Slim’s. But Gradney said, in recent years, the atmosphere has changed. Ever-increasing expenses, along with young, often unruly crowds, caused him to close the doors. “It’s a lot of changes with the crowd that’s coming out now,” said Gradney, who works as a pipeline welder. “My sister is at the age where she couldn’t handle it anymore. We decided, after 43 years, it was time for a break.

“It’s a younger crowd and a lot of disrespect. They’ll take off their shirt and want to dance with no shirt. It’s not like it used to be with the older people. People would just come out and have a good time. You’re under four hours of nothing but stress now.” Gradney said band fees have only elevated the stress level. Top zydeco bands have charged him $3,500 or more for one performance. Gradney said there’s little money left to make a profit. “They don’t look at the overhead you have, the utilities and things like that. They tell me, ‘We’ll take the door (cover charge.) They’ll start off charging at $10, then $15 and $20. By midnight, they’ll have a packed house.

“They’ll put the money in their pockets and go home. Then you have all the stress of what the night crowd destroyed and what you have to fix. It got to where we weren’t hardly making any more money.” Gradney longs for the days when parents, often dressed in their Sunday best, brought the entire family to Slim’s. Besides the legendary musicians, he recalls numerous couples who married after meeting at the club. Gradney said he’ll miss the good times and cherish the old memories. But recent memories haven’t been pleasant.

“Things changed when the older crowd stopped coming out. Before you used to be able to kick back, enjoy it and let the night go on. “Now, you have to be on your Ps and Qs at all times. The things they do now are very disrespectful. "We said, 'Let’s close and have good remembrances.' My sister and I did 43 years of this for the public and we never had bad, bad stuff at the place. We need to go out with it like that. Back in the day, it was a nice place to come out and enjoy yourself.”

curmudgeon, Tuesday, 19 January 2016 23:42 (two years ago) Permalink

So the late Houston, Texas music scholar Mack McCormick helped Chris Strachwitz of Arhoolie find Lightnin Hopkins who introduced them to the live zydeco music of CJ Chenier, way back when. Of course.

curmudgeon, Wednesday, 20 January 2016 17:23 (two years ago) Permalink

one month passes...

I am really liking this Revelers album "Get Ready." It was Grammy nominated but lost. The Revelers are a rockin Cajun band who also do swamp pop, made up of members from the Pine Leaf Boys and the red Stick Ramblers. They have horns and an accordion. They are coming to the DC area March 11th and 12th

curmudgeon, Wednesday, 2 March 2016 04:13 (two years ago) Permalink

Well, some of the album is not all that. The songs with the country-swing influence from the Red Stick Ramblers. Their swamp pop is good but not quite at the Lil Band of Gold level

curmudgeon, Wednesday, 2 March 2016 13:58 (two years ago) Permalink

i enjoyed lil nathan & the zydeco big timers' 2015 record face 2 face, good mix of covers and originals. definitely in the modern digital zydeco style that i know some find offputting.

adam, Wednesday, 2 March 2016 14:58 (two years ago) Permalink

argh sorry for embed

adam, Wednesday, 2 March 2016 14:58 (two years ago) Permalink

it occurs to me i've never hyped my former coworker jim's excellent WWOZ show on this thread--sundays at 1pm central check it out. dude is extremely knowledgeable about cajun and southwestern LA music.

adam, Wednesday, 2 March 2016 15:00 (two years ago) Permalink

Thanks for both. The modern digital zydeco types never come up North.

Revelers md gig last night emphasized Cajun waltzes, ballads and swamp pop ballads. Nice but I coulda used more of their rockin tunes

curmudgeon, Sunday, 13 March 2016 18:23 (two years ago) Permalink

Cedryl Ballou & the Zydeco Trendsetters are making their first trip up north. Thursday show in College Park, D. Cedryl's got a great contemporary r'n'b voice that he mixes with more traditional zydeco playing . A native of Lake Charles, Louisiana, Cedryl (pronounced “see-DRELL”) Ballou began playing music at the tender age of five, making his professional debut as a drummer with his grandfather, legendary guitar pioneer Classie Ballou, at the age of 11. His future as a frontman was inevitable—both Cedryl’s father, Cedric Ballou, and step-grandfather, “Rockin’ Sidney” Simien, were successful touring musicians, and Cedryl grew up steeped in Creole music and culture.

“Being raised in a family of musicians gave me the chance to learn the ropes,” says Ballou, “but also the freedom to try new things. This music is all about people—people change, and the music changes with us. ”

A young but seasoned zydeco musician and singer, Ballou shifts easily from drums to accordion and vocals, fronting the Zydeco Trendsetters and touring extensively with regional Zydeco artists, including Andre Thierry, Corey Ledet, Rosie Ledet, Step Rideau and Soul Creole.

curmudgeon, Sunday, 13 March 2016 18:26 (two years ago) Permalink

That's near me. Where exactly in cp?

Heez, Sunday, 13 March 2016 22:16 (two years ago) Permalink

Cedryl Ballou & the Zydeco Trendsetters at College Park American Legion at 8 pm, 9218 Baltimore Ave (Route 1), College Park, MD

DC, Maryland, Philly, and New York zydeco and Cajun gigs are often listed here:

curmudgeon, Monday, 14 March 2016 13:42 (two years ago) Permalink

In the DC area there is a group of oh 50 to 75 people who are real into zydeco and Cajun couples dancing. But no need to feel intimidated by them if one is not able to or doesn't want to dance like that. Standing and head-noddin is ok.

curmudgeon, Monday, 14 March 2016 13:44 (two years ago) Permalink

Some dances have lessons beforehand

curmudgeon, Monday, 14 March 2016 13:45 (two years ago) Permalink

Oh I'm gonna dance!

Heez, Monday, 14 March 2016 15:05 (two years ago) Permalink

Report back here. Not sure if I am gonna make it there.

At the Revelers gig, one of the promoters was telling me that Geno Delafose, who used to tour a fair but, just stays home now as he can make decent money and still sleep in his own bed. Also, the same with Houston-based and Louisiana based zydeco bands that add autotune and synth funkiness.

curmudgeon, Wednesday, 16 March 2016 16:20 (two years ago) Permalink

I need to research online and see if I can find recorded material by Houston combos and Louisiana folks who don't tour

curmudgeon, Thursday, 17 March 2016 18:11 (two years ago) Permalink

David Egan, one of the bright lights in South Louisiana’s musical firmament, has died. The singer-songwriter, whose tunes were covered (and on Grammy-nominated and -winning records) by Irma Thomas, Joe Cocker, Solomon Burke, Etta James and many others, succumbed to cancer after a two-year battle. He died at home surrounded by family.

Egan was a member of several trailblazing Louisiana bands including A-Train, Filé and Lil’ Band O’ Gold.

curmudgeon, Friday, 18 March 2016 20:39 (two years ago) Permalink

two months pass...

May 31 to June 5

The series will begin on Tuesday, May 31 with an early set from his family band–Les Freres Michot–which feature his father Tommy Michot on accordion and his brother Andre Michot on guitar. It will be followed by a standard set from the Lost Bayou Ramblers.

Michot will lead a number of other off-kilter performances throughout the week, including sets from the Lost Bayou Ramblers Unplugged, Spider and the Cajuns (playing The Pogues with Spider Stacy of The Pogues), Michot’s Meldoy Melody Makers, The Mello Joy Boys (cajun swing), Le String Noise (violins ‘n’ fiddle) and a rendition of the Beasts of the Southern Wild score with members of the Wordless Music Orchestra. Some of these acts will be performing for the first, and possibly the last, time.

curmudgeon, Wednesday, 25 May 2016 15:29 (two years ago) Permalink

two months pass...

Louisiana Cajun musician (and professor) coming to the US East coast for some gigs in September

curmudgeon, Friday, 19 August 2016 16:48 (two years ago) Permalink

Not zydeco or Cajun, but from Louisiana.

Legendary blues piano player Henry Gray is a resident of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, hard hit by the flooding. Henry’s home is underwater and earlier today Henry stated “I lost everything.”

curmudgeon, Saturday, 20 August 2016 16:52 (two years ago) Permalink

A portion of the article--

Friends of Stanley “Buckwheat” Dural Jr., leader of Buckwheat Zydeco, have established a GoFundMe account to raise money for the Emmy- and Grammy-winning musician. Dural, who has been seriously ill with lung cancer, is dealing with high medical bills and other expenses.
Dural’s illness has caused him to miss numerous gigs in the past year.
According to spokesperson Dustin Cravins, Dural’s struggles increased last weekend when his Carencro home took on some water during the historic flood that struck south Louisiana. Bernite Dural, his wife of 40 years, suffered a fall during the cleanup.

curmudgeon, Sunday, 21 August 2016 18:42 (two years ago) Permalink

Lost Bayou Ramblers instagram says they are releasing an old show of theirs on bandcamp as a Louisiana flooding fundraiser. They are also doing multiple benefit events down there Friday night Aug. 26th

curmudgeon, Tuesday, 23 August 2016 17:16 (two years ago) Permalink

Yvette Landry often sounds more country than Cajun, though she has played with Cajun bands

curmudgeon, Thursday, 25 August 2016 16:12 (two years ago) Permalink

four weeks pass...

accordionist, bandleader, keyboard player too...

RIP, dead at 68 from lung cancer

curmudgeon, Saturday, 24 September 2016 13:07 (two years ago) Permalink

three weeks pass...

*Sat. Oct. 22-Cajun and Zydeco Music Festival at Glen Echo w/ Cedryl Ballou & the Zydeco TrendSetters; Jeffrey Broussard & the Creole Cowboys; T'Monde; Squeeze Bayou Cajun Band; and Curley Taylor & Zydeco Trouble 2pm to 12mdt.

I want to see Ballou (who's also playing tonight) but am gonna have to miss both gigs

curmudgeon, Friday, 21 October 2016 17:39 (two years ago) Permalink

two months pass...

From Big Daddy Nice's southern soul r'n'b blog/website

Finally, Zydeco continued to influence and infiltrate southern soul, with none other than traditionalist Ecko Records' John Ward picking up tricks from newbies like Baton Rouge producer Beat Flippa (last year's winner) and giving strong proof for producer of the year. Ward incorporated the cajun-style button accordion into percolating fast jams by Jaye Hammer, ("Trail Ride") and O.B. Buchana ("Why Can't I Be Your Lover"). And on the other side, zydeco's Chris Ardoin (following in Keith Frank's footsteps) moved ever closer to a zydeco-southern soul hybrid with the rhapsodic "Boo Thang."

curmudgeon, Tuesday, 3 January 2017 19:04 (two years ago) Permalink

Southern soul singer Ms. Jody on Ecko has a zydeco mentioning and influenced song too

curmudgeon, Tuesday, 3 January 2017 19:06 (two years ago) Permalink

two months pass...®ion=stream&module=stream_unit&version=latest&contentPlacement=3&pgtype=sectionfront

Travel article piece with a kinda generic zydeco overview plus a focus on The Festival International de Louisiane in Lafayette, and Buck & Johnny’s in Breaux Bridge. Some good info

curmudgeon, Thursday, 30 March 2017 17:48 (one year ago) Permalink

Southern soul act Mr. Sam does "Zydeco Sum Mo"

curmudgeon, Friday, 31 March 2017 02:56 (one year ago) Permalink

three months pass...

In her book, “Cajun Music: A Reflection of a People,” author Ann Savoy wrote “Belton Richard is the most widely imitated singer and musician in southwest Louisiana today. Not only has his vocal style set the new standard for Cajun singers, but his songs are played at every dance. Belton Richard’s poetry looks at life with a tough romanticism that appeals to the earthy Cajuns.”

curmudgeon, Thursday, 6 July 2017 14:12 (one year ago) Permalink

three weeks pass...

The 85-year old Cajun Hank Williams, D.L. Menard has passed. He was enjoyable when I saw him live.

curmudgeon, Saturday, 29 July 2017 20:36 (one year ago) Permalink

four weeks pass...

Houston-born zydeco musician Cory Ledet and band are ok according to twitter (re the flood), but stuck in a Houston subdivision

curmudgeon, Monday, 28 August 2017 19:22 (one year ago) Permalink

John Nova Lomax article from January 2017

Houston experiences the same sweltering and sticky climate that afflicts New Orleans and Lafayette. Our Bayou City braces for the same natural disasters—hurricanes and floods—as the Bayou State (Houstonians barely know the tornados that afflict northern and western Texas or the ice storms that paralyze Dallas). Like South Louisiana, the Houston area has seen large-scale sugar and rice production. The I-10 corridor is lined with oil refineries from east Houston all the way to Lake Charles. You can still hear Cajun and Creole music regularly on the radio on noncommercial stations like KPFT and Majic 102, a commercial R&B station.

I could go on, but here is the kicker to my bold declaration. I invite you to drive past the Spanish moss-draped live oaks and swampy prairie landscapes west of Houston on Interstate 10. I promise, it won’t feel as though you’ve entered “real Texas” until you hit the Peach Ridge Road exit out by Brookshire, where the ground finally starts to get a little roll to it. That, and not the Sabine River, is where you are finally truly leaving Louisiana.

According to the “best guesstimate” of Jim Gossen, chairman of Houston-based Sysco Louisiana Seafood, Houstonians now annually consume more crawfish than the entire state of Louisiana.

curmudgeon, Tuesday, 29 August 2017 17:20 (one year ago) Permalink

one month passes...

Marcus Ardoin & the Zydeco Legendz

curmudgeon, Tuesday, 10 October 2017 23:59 (one year ago) Permalink

three months pass...

Lost Bayou Ramblers , Cajun band, won the best regional traditional music Grammy for their Kalenda album beating out Dwayne Dopsie and the Zydeco Hellraisers and Northern Cree (a Canadian native/aboriginal North American group) .

Meanwhile Houston has a big zydeco fest April 7th 2018







curmudgeon, Monday, 29 January 2018 19:52 (eleven months ago) Permalink

three months pass...

A new project by Jean Bertrand (of the Pine Leaf Boys)

curmudgeon, Tuesday, 15 May 2018 02:21 (eight months ago) Permalink

one month passes...

Anthony Bourdain episode last night recorded at Mardi Gras time in southwestern Louisiana was worth watching. Marc & Anne Savoy & family, Lost Bayou Ramblers, zydeco writer Herman Fuselier, Sid Williams, drunk guys in costumes, talented women costume makers, good food, and Bourdain talking with them all.

curmudgeon, Monday, 18 June 2018 13:46 (six months ago) Permalink

i stumbled on the louisiana cajun-zydeco festival in armstrong park in new orleans this past week and caught the first 2 sets (and the final set) on the second day. there were indeed a lot of old people there but 1) they did not appear to be tourists 2) they were dancing with more enthusiasm and genuine mirth than i have seen in years 3) they were for the most part good dancers. there was one (not OLD old but not young) couple in particular whose chemistry was mesmerizing -- they were beautiful to watch.

also i saw a guy there wearing a RLYR tshirt (Chicago band featuring former members of Pelican & idk what other bands, def not a well known band)

<3 <3 <3 zydeco music & people

weird woman in a bar (La Lechera), Thursday, 28 June 2018 14:12 (six months ago) Permalink

was kind of bummed to miss the cajun portion of the lineup but i enjoyed it regardless

weird woman in a bar (La Lechera), Thursday, 28 June 2018 14:13 (six months ago) Permalink

In the Washington DC area zydeco caught on with a sizable group of white roots music fans who became fanatics of the style and pretty good at dancing to the genre couples style. Alas, no subsequent generation similarly caught on. In zydeco's southwest Louisiana home, Afro-creole parents teach their kids how to dance to it, and I think it is also taught now in schools (or at least I have seen video of white Cajun kids learning Cajun dance in class like settings).

Wow, that was a great lineup!


Saturday, June 23:
11:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Bruce Daigrepont
12:45 p.m. to 2:15 p.m. Sean Ardoin
2:30 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. Les Freres Michot
4:15 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. Sunpie & the Louisiana Sunspots
5:45 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. Lost Bayou Ramblers

Sunday, June 24:
11:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Li'l Nathan & the Zydeco Big Timers
12:45 p.m. to 2:15 p.m. Chris Ardoin & NuStep
2:30 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. Corey Ledet & His Zydeco Band
4:15 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. Nathan & the Zydeco Cha Chas
5:45 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. Dwayne Dopsie & the Zydeco Hellraisers

curmudgeon, Thursday, 28 June 2018 16:13 (six months ago) Permalink

Oops, I meant to say that zydeco caught on in DC in the 1980s

curmudgeon, Thursday, 28 June 2018 16:14 (six months ago) Permalink

Watching stylish and adept dancing couples at zydeco (and Latino styles and old-school r'n'b) captivates me and makes me jealous. Despite a handful of lessons, I would need to take many more and practice multiple nights a week I think to get that good.

curmudgeon, Thursday, 28 June 2018 16:18 (six months ago) Permalink

I think it was Chris Ardoin & his band who covered Ginuwine's "Pony" -- that number yielded some *fire emoji* dancing
this was the first time i have experienced actual zydeco music played live in an appropriate context. super duper enjoyable and def not just for old people.

i was too hot and had no partner but i could follow and was dancing by myself in the shade :)

weird woman in a bar (La Lechera), Thursday, 28 June 2018 16:19 (six months ago) Permalink

three months pass...
I know f all about this genre but this track makes me smile

calstars, Sunday, 21 October 2018 03:51 (two months ago) Permalink

You must be logged in to post. Please either login here, or if you are not registered, you may register here.