Thursday, September 14, 2006

Old School Zydeco



Recently, I've created some posts about Zydeco from the 90s. Before I leave the Zydeco theme for a while, though, I can't do it without recognizing some old-school Zydeco. When I first discovered this music, Clifton Chenier (pronounce that shen-eer, s'il vous plait) was the king. You knew it because he wore a crown and a cape - make no mistake. He played a big piano accordion and some of his music featured sax, and other horns as well. His music really fell into two distinct categories - what he referred to as French music - two-steps and waltzes with a cajun feel.....and what is sometimes called bayou boogie.

I've included a cut below, strictly for educational purposes (that means buy the album please) from his 1989 album on Alligator Records, I'm Here. Clifton had some pretty serious medical problems - diabetes, and a lot of people thought he was done recording. I'm Here is a fantasticly driven record, featuring his son CJ on trumpet. CJ has since picked up the big accordion and leads the Red Hot Louisiana Band.

So, here is an example of old-school bayou boogie zydeco - Clifton Chenier covering Glenn Miller's In the Mood. I hope you have your dancing shoes on.

PS...hearing Clifton Chenier many years ago convinced me that the accordion is such an incredible instrument

7 comments:

Gardenia said...

Alright! You have made an accordion lover out of me - please, just a little more longer on the zydeco - where do you find these wonderful pieces....

mister anchovy said...

hey Diana,
here's a good place to start:
CD Baby. This is an excellent source for independent music of all varieties and you'll find some really good stuff here.

L.M. said...

One of my fave zydeco tunes is "la danse de mardi gras", I have a version by the Balfa brothers and a version by Steve Riley and the Mamou Playboys. Do you know of any others?

Candy Minx said...

That was a very warm version of the song. Be easy to dance to that one! A perfect use of accordion too.

mister anchovy said...

LM, I'm familiar with the tune, and I believe that a number of Cajun bands have recorded it over the years. I don't have the Steve Riley version, but I'm sure I have a Balfa brother version on a compilation. I'll dig around and see if I have any other recordings of it.

accordion-dude said...

Hey, if we're talking old-school zydeco shouldn't someone mention Wilson "Boozoo" Chavis - who was the first one to record a studio session of zydeco for Goldband back in 1952; years before Clifton Chenier recorded his first record.

Accordion-dude

mister anchovy said...

It's true enough that Mr. Chavis recorded early on, but I still think of the old school sound as embodied by Mr. Chenier and his piano accordion. I think, though, that when he returned to music, Mr. Chavis burned up the zydeco scene and revitalized the music in the 90s. I think of Chavis along with Beau Jocque and Chris Ardoin as new-school 90s players, right or wrong.