Photos by Lou Montesano, taken at NYC’s Iridium on Feb 25th, 2015
Buckwheat Zydeco, born Stanley Dural, Jr., in 1947 in Lafayette, Louisiana, died on September 24th. Anyone lucky enough to have experienced him in person — as I was, most recently at New York’s Iridium in February 2015 — won’t easily forget the heaping helping of R&B, jump blues and hot Creole party music Dural served up through his accordion alongside organ, guitars, washboard, spoons and just about anything else he and his band could find to create their happy, bouncy sound.
A direct heir to Clifton “Zydeco Dynamite” Chenier, the acknowledged king of zydeco music, Dural remained one of the genre’s leading practitioners right up until his passing. He grew up playing organ and got his start as a member of Chenier’s legendary Red Hot Louisiana Band. Already proficient on one keyboard, Dural taught himself to play another, and began fronting his own band on the accordion. He released his debut album in 1979, and the rising interest in roots music and alternative sounds helped him record and/or perform with Willie Nelson, Mavis Staples, Paul Simon, Ry Cooder, Robert Plant, Keith Richards, Eric Clapton and many other great artists across the music spectrum. Buckwheat Zydeco’s final album was the 2009 Grammy-nominated Lay Your Burden Down, produced by Steve Berlin of Los Lobos, with cameos by Warren Haynes, Sonny Landreth and Trombone Shorty.
Anyone who doubts if Buckwheat Zydeco could rock need listen only to his cover of “Why Does Love Got To Be So Sad” with Eric Clapton and an over-the-top take on “When the Levee Breaks.” Buckwheat joins the many great artists we’ve lost in 2016. His music, energy and incredible smile will be missed.
Read our Influences interview with Buckwheat HERE.