Vinyl archive: Clifton Chenier

Clifton Chenier is an old favorite of mine, and I have six LPs plus one concert collection with him, Mance Limpscomb and Lightning Hopkins. All the albums are on the label Arhoolie.

Zydeco is one of the most entertaining styles of music I know. It’s hard-swinging, joyful for the most part, eclectic (a mix of cajun, blues, rock, waltz, swamp rock and what not) and many songs are in (Louisiana) French. I never saw Chenier live, and while he was the King of Zydeco I’ve seen three other top zydeco artists, all in the 1980s: Rockin’ Dopsie, Queen Ida and Buckwheat Zydeco, who sadly passed away last year. I saw Buckwheat in a small jazz club in Sweden, the concert was arranged by a local music association of which I was a member at the time. That concert was on a Tuesday, and not surprisingly there were not that many guests. But after a while the audience cleared part of the floor of chairs and tables and made an impromptu dance floor. Zydeco does that to people! Even on a practically sober Tuesday night! The concert with Queen Ida was one of the longest I been to. People were dancing like crazy and demanded encores. A very happy music memory. Zydeco is dance music and gigs can last for hours. Chenier could play for five (!) hours or more.

Pointing out specific Clifton Chenier albums is maybe not that relevant anymore in our digital one-tune culture, but here are a few songs with Clifton Chenier and His Red Hot Lousiana Band that you might like: Grand Prix, Parti de Paris, Tante Nana, Sa m’appel fou, Bogalusa Boogie and Zydeco Cha Cha.

I bought my Chenier vinyls in late 70s and early 80s. In those days records were often in print for quite a long time. My oldest Chenier record is Bon Ton Roulet, which was issued in 1967. I bought it about 15 years later, I think. Inside my Chenier “Live” album (1971) there is a facsimile of two magazine articles. One has the interesting info that Clifton’s parents are dead, but he often visits his 108 year old grandmother!

If you don’t feel happy and stomp your feet (at least) when listening to zydeco, seek help!

2 Comments

  1. That is some cheerfull music there, thank you for sharing!

    “the audience cleared part of the floor of chairs and tables and made an impromptu dance floor.” – that must have been fantastic to be a part of; so great when music makes people come together in such a good mood. 🙂

    • Indeed it is. 🙂

      As a side note, alcohol, except in very moderate amounts, tend to make concerts and festivals worse. re: the practically sober Tuesday night.

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