history


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.

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The United States Library of Congress is the de facto national library of America.  Its National Recording Preservation Board annually selects musical and spoken recordings of importance to add to its National Recording Registry.  This year they’ve chosen recordings as diverse of Clarence Williams, Mahler, Julie London, and John Coltrane.  Among them is the wonderful 1976 Clifton Chenier release, Bogalusa Boogie.  This year is the 40th anniversary of this amazing session, recorded in a single day in Bogalusa, Louisiana.  Clifton left us many years ago, but his recordings live on!

Some think that zydeco was invented in Houston.  Whether true or not, it’s a strong center of zydeco music and Creole culture.  The Houston Chronicle has an article on Creoles in Texas entitled:  ‘Creole’ in Houston: not black, not white, different than ‘mixed.’  Definitely worth reading.

The best blog on Cajun music is Early Cajun Music by an anonymous author (no, that’s not him in the photo on the profile page).  As the initial page says, “A unique window into the world of Cajun music between 1928 and 1965. Compiled histories from websites, books, news articles, liner notes, and interviews. Most come from my personal 78 collection. Also covering Creole, Cajun-Country, and Cajun swing.”  Must be quite a collection!  Ten to fourteen times a month, the author write one article about a single 78, covering side A, with photo.  You’ll get the lyrics and an embedded recording.  The author has collected her or his very informative posts as PDFs.  The two (so far) links are on the right side, right above the label index.  I’ll be spending some of my time reading through these excellent background pieces.

There are still a lot of untold stories about French North America.  One is about the French of what is now called Missouri.  This was part of upper Louisiana, the French corridor through the current United States, sold to the fledgling country by Napoleon in 1803.  (The Louisiana Purchase was completed 210 years ago today!)  Reminds me of the call in a New Orleans Mardi Gras parade in 2006, just after the Corps of Engineers/Hurricane Katrina disaster to “Buy us back, Chicac!”  This is not at all the usual Friday video, though it does has a musical background.  The music sounds Cajun to me.