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.


The annual Ponderosa Stomp is held in New Orleans in early October, two nights of performances by soul, rockabilly, rhythm ‘n’ blues, rock ‘n’ roll and surf music masters, usually coaxed out of retirement.  This year Lynn August is one of the performers.  The writer and drummer Ben Sandmel has written an excellent article for the Stomp about the history of zydeco.  It’s entitled “If You Can’t Dance to Zydeco, You Can’t Dance–Period.”  Sandmel is also one of the contributors to the Zydeco Crossroads project.

David Brown has written a posting for the National Public Radio blog on “Accordions, Beer And God: Zydeco In Gran Texas.”  It’s headed with a handsome portrait of Step Rideau and includes video of him playing.  The point is that there’s a connection between black Catholics and zydeco music that plays out in Texas and south Louisiana.  As Catholics of all types are common in south Louisiana and so is zydeco, it’s hard to argue with the idea.  Whether one is the ground out of which the other grew is harder to establish.  Brown says that Catholic churches use local dances as important fundraisers.  So there’s certainly an element of mutual support, but zydeco also exists in purely secular dance halls, festivals and trail rides.  This is born out in the video, which takes place in the “Big Easy Social and Pleasure Club,” the “House of Mixology” according to the banner.

Here’s a story from the New York Times about zydeco music in New York City.  One of the main venues for zydeco in NYC is an Irish bar near Times Square, Connolly’s.  A long-time New Orleans resident who’s moved to New York confirmed Connolly’s to me earlier this year as the best place to hear zydeco in the city.  Their schedule shows Terrence Simien, Curley Taylor and C.J. Chenier during summer 2013.  Somebody raise a glass for me!

In Vacaville, California, a sixth grade boy won a local spelling bee with the word ‘zydeco.’  Vacaville is just northeast of the San Francisco Bay area, not far removed from cities like Richmond and Oakland, which have been hot beds of zydeco exiles from Louisiana.  Queen Ida Guillory and many others gather and play regularly.  Wonder if ‘zydeco’ was on standard spelling bee lists around the country.

Just ran across this streaming music service, 8tracks.  They have playlists of selected music by topic.  One is zydeco currently there are 27 playlists available.  Fortunately, there’s a lot of good listening here.  Unfortunately, there is some confusion about what zydeco is, with lots of Cajun and other music mixed in.   No sign up required to listen.  Title, artist, album, and links to iTunes and YouTube are provided.

The blog my hungry heart has a brief story and lots of photos from a zydeco trail ride.  She links to the recent New York Times story, and talks about the purely-by-chance way that she heard about the ride – in a bakery!  As she says, it’s great to hear a positive story coming from the African-American community.  Trail rides are a strong part of the community, bringing people together to enjoy the countryside, each other and music.