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King of the Bayous

Clifton Chenier

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Album Review

After gaining initial notoriety in the '50s and '60s on Specialty Records and a variety of small Texas and Louisiana labels, Zydeco King Clifton Chenier brought the blues-fueled Cajun music he practically invented to Chris Strachwitz's roots label Arhoolie, subsequently recording a series of fine albums including 1970's King of the Bayous. Featuring brother and longtime partner Cleveland Chenier on rubboard, Robert St. Judy on drums, Joe Morris on bass and Antoine Victor on guitar, King of the Bayous includes Chenier's standard blend of zydeco two-step, waltzes and blues, and provides an excellent taste of what the band no doubt played on countless one-niters along the Louisiana-Texas Gulf Coast. Zydeco-brand blues predominates with Chenier originals "Hard to Love Someone," "Who Can Your Good Man Be" and "I Am Coming Home," in addition to a cover of the honky-tonk weeper "Release Me." Offering a contrast to the blues and something for the dancers, the band lays down a lively two-step beat on "Tu Le Ton Son Ton," "Josephine Par Se Ma Femme" and "Zodico Two Step." Throughout the varied set, Chenier's irrepressible vocals and accordion playing stand out. A nice sample of bayou zydeco by one of its finest and most original practitioners.

Biography

Born: 25 June 1925 in Opelousas, LA

Genre: Blues

Years Active: '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s

The undisputed "King of Zydeco," Clifton Chenier was the first Creole to be presented a Grammy award on national television. Blending the French and Cajun 2-steps and waltzes of southwest Louisiana with New Orleans R&B, Texas blues, and big-band jazz, Chenier created the modern, dance-inspiring, sounds of zydeco. A flamboyant personality, remembered for his gold tooth and the cape and crown that he wore during concerts, Chenier set the standard for all the zydeco players who have followed in...
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King of the Bayous, Clifton Chenier
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