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.”

Stanley “Buckwheat Zydeco” Dural, Jr. has passed away in Lafayette on Saturday, Sept. 24, 2016.  Buckwheat had a history of cancer since 2013, and was thought to be cancer-free, but it returned recently.  It is hard to overestimate the importance of Buckwheat to zydeco music.  He started as Clifton Chenier’s keyboard player, went out on his own on accordion, and has recorded a massive catalog over the last 40 years.  Our sincerest condolences to family, friends, and colleagues.

The flooding in southern Louisiana is well known to everyone by now, and it has affected many, including Buckwheat Zydeco.  To make matters even more difficult, his cancer has returned (warning: Advertiser page).  There are currently two GoFundMe appeals currently available to contribute:  In Support of Buckwheat Zydeco created by Cynthia Simien and Buckwheat Zydeco and Family (created by “Tomorrow Dural”).  I am not endorsing either of these campaigns, but want to make others aware of them.

The mammoth New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival will go on April 22-24 and April 28 through May 1 at the Fairgrounds.  The “cubes” are out, showing who plays at which stage at what time.  As in past year, look for the lion’s share of zydeco, Louisiana Creole and Cajun acts at the Fais Do-Do stage.  The biggest acts occasionally appear on the Gentilly or Acura Stages, but those are the behemoths, like Buckwheat Zydeco (Friday, April 22, Acura Stage, 2:05-3:05pm).  Fais Do-Do is also the scene for larger, touring alt-country and folk acts, like the Black Lillies, and locals, like Gal Holiday.  The Allison Miner Music Heritage Stage is in the grandstand, has air conditioning, seats and decent toilets, definitely worth trying at least once.

Recommendations for zydeco, Louisiana Creole and Cajun music and interviews:

  • Goldman Thibodeaux The rural Creole “la-la” legacy of Amédé Ardoin Interviewer: Darrell Bourque, Friday, April 22, Allison Miner Music Heritage Stage, 1:30 – 2:15 pm
  • Belton Richard, Fais Do-Do, Saturday, April 23, 12:20-1:10pm (he never plays New Orleans–the big dancehall sound)
  • Belton Richard Cajun accordion and vocal legend, Interviewer: Barry Ancelet, Allison Miner Music Heritage Stage, Sunday, April 24, 4:00 – 4:45 pm ()
  • Savoy Family Band, Fais Do-Do, Thursday, April 28, 12:15-1:15pm (Marc Savoy is one of the best accordion players alive)
  • Lost Bayou Ramblers with Ricki Lee Jones and Spider Stacy (The Pogues), Gentilly Stage, Thursday, April 28, 1:45-3:10pm (an incredible matchup)
  • T’Monde, Lagniappe Stage, Thursday, April 28, 12:35 – 1:30 pm  (amazing trio with the old-time sound)
  • T’Monde Cajun tradition meets classic country harmony, Interviewer: Jim Hobbs, Allison Miner Music Heritage Stage, Thursday, April 28, 4:30-5:15 pm (yeah, that’s me)
  • C.J. Chenier and Todd Mouton Way Down in Louisiana Interviewer: Herman Fuselier, Allison Miner Music Heritage Stage, Friday, April 29, 4:00 – 4:45 pm
  • The Band Courtbouillon, Fais Do-Do, Sunday, May 1, 1:20-2:15 (Steve Riley, Wayne Toups and Wilson Savoy; Grammy winners)

The annual free French Quarter Festival will take place April 7-10, 2016.  Cajun and zydeco music will appear on the stage on N. Peters St. again, as in past year.  The lineup includes Bruce Daigrepont, T’Canaille, Grammy-nominated The Revelers, the Lost Bayou Ramblers, Granny-winner Chubby Carrier, Jo-el Sonnier, and Feufollet.

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