One of Cajun music’s great writers and performers, 85-year-old D. L. Menard, has passed away.   Menard was often called “the Cajun Hank Williams,” because of his well-written songs with catchy melodies and partly because of his meeting with Williams.  Menard had a warm voice and a percussive guitar style, often copied.  His song “The Back Door” (“La porte d’en arrière”) was one of Rolling Stones’ 100 Best Country Songs of all Time.  KLFY-TV Lafayette coverage. He was a favorite at music festivals, mostly playing with the Jambalaya Cajun Band in the last decade.

Selected discography:

D. L. Menard. Cajun memories. Swallow Records. SW 6125-2. 1995. CD.
D. L. Menard. No matter where you at, there you are. Rounder Records. C-6021. 1988. CS.
D. L. Menard. Sings The Back Door and other Cajun hits. Swallow Records. LP-6038. 1980. 33.
D. L. Menard. Happy Go Lucky. Swallow Records SW6219. 2010. CD.
Dewey Balfa, Marc Savoy & D. L. Menard. En bas d’un chêne vert. Arhoolie Productions, Inc.. CD 312. 1976 & 1989. CD.
Marc Savoy with Dewey Balfa & D. L. Menard. Made in Louisiana. Voyager Records. VCD 325. 1998. CD.
Eddie LeJeune, D.L. Menard, Ken Smith. Trio Cadien. Rounder Records. 6049. 1992. CD.

 

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New Orleans’ WDSU-TV Channel 8 aired this short (2:58) video recently with background on the rubboard used so much in zyeco music.  It shows one being manufactured, in stop motion, by Tee-Don Landry.  Landry claims it was his father who made the first one for Clifton Chenier’s brother Cleveland to play in the band.  A transcription is included, if you’re having problems with Louisiana-accented English.

On Saturday, June 24, 2017, radio station WWOZ-FM will broadcast live and pre-recorded performances by artists at the day’s Cajun Zydeco Festival.  If you’re not in New Orleans, listen via the World Wide Web at http://wwoz.org/.  The schedule is:

2pm- Broadcast will be begin with Jim Hobbs from the station.

2:05- 2:45pm Airing of Les Freres Michot set (recorded earlier)

2:50- 3:40pm Geno Delafose and French Rockin Boogie (Live)

3:45- 4:30pm Airing of Corey Ledet & His Zydeco Band (recorded earlier)

4:35- 5:30pm Lost Bayou Ramblers (Live)

5:45-7:00pm D.L. Menard with the Jambalaya Cajun Band (Live)

Sunday will not be broadcast.

Today and tomorrow are the free Cajun Zydeco Festival in New Orleans from 11:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. both days held in Louis Armstrong Park at 701 N. Rampart Street, across Rampart St. from the French Quarter.    This is the 11th festival, put on by the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Foundation.  They use profits from the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival to put on several free festivals in New Orleans.  This year’s festival features these artists:

Saturday, June 24:
11:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.   Les Freres Michot
12:45 p.m. to 2:15 p.m.    Corey Ledet & His Zydeco Band
2:30 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.      Geno Delafose & French Rockin’ Boogie
4:15 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.      Lost Bayou Ramblers
5:45 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.      D.L. Menard with the Jambalaya Cajun Band

Sunday, June 25: 
11:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.    Bruce Daigrepont’s Cajun Band
12:45 p.m. to 2:15 p.m.     Cedryl Ballou & the Zydeco Trendsetters
2:30 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.       Sunpie & the Louisiana Sunspots
4:15 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.       Dwayne Dopsie & the Zydeco Hellraisers
5:45 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.       Chubby Carrier and the Bayou Swamp Band

There is also an arts market and lots of great local food!

Accordionist and vocalist Belton Richard has passed away at age 77.  Richard was a popular musician whose major local hit was the song “Un autre soir ennuyant (Another Lonely Night) [originally released as “Autre soir d’ennui (Another lonely evening)”].”  His band was known as the Musical Aces.  Richard quit active performing for a while but returned to it in the 2000s.  His songs have been covered by many Cajun musicians and are considered classics in the genre.  Swallow Records released many of his tracks as 45s, but they are found on these LPs:

Belton Richard. At his best. Swallow Records. LP 6043. 1981. 33.
Belton Richard. Good n’ Cajun. Swallow Records. LP-6021. n.d.. 33.
Belton Richard. Modern sounds of Cajun music. Swallow Records. LP-6010. n.d.. 33.
Belton Richard and the Musical Aces. Louisiana Cajun music. Swallow Records. LP-6032. 1978. 33.
Belton Richard and the Musical Aces. Modern sounds of Cajun music volume two. Swallow Records. LP-6013. n.d.. 33.

His CDs include:

Belton Richard. Essential Belton Richard. Swallow Records. SW 6117-2. 1994. CD.
Belton Richard. I’m back! Swallow Records. 6135. 1996. CD.
Belton Richard. Modern sounds in Cajun music. Ace Records. CDCHD 378. unk.. CD.

There’s an exhibit of photography of Louisiana zydeco trailrides currently on at Columbus State University in Georgia.  The photographer says that trailrides go back to “the 17th century,” which seems rather early.  Still interesting reading.  The photographer lives in Baton Rouge.

The excellent documentary film “Dry Wood” can now be viewed online for free.  As the description says: “A glimpse into the life, food, and Mardi Gras celebrations of black Creoles in French Louisiana, featuring the stories and music of “Bois Sec” Ardoin and Canray Fontenot. Dry Wood is one of a number of Les Blank’s critically acclaimed films on Lousiana life and culture. Hot Pepper, a film on zydeco great Clifton Chenier, is a companion to Dry Wood. These films and many other important documentary films about American folklife are available on DVD at Les Blank’s Flower Films.”  It is for “Home streaming only.”