Saturday, October 31, 2009
Buckwheat ZYDECO - One for the Road 1979
The debut album from Buckwheat Zydeco, the heir to the late Clifton Chenier's crown. The mood is more relaxed than a lot of his later work, but the technical ability is all present. Instead of the jumping horn sections and flashing accordion work that dominates the majority of the catalog, here there is a collection of deeply blues-based songs. The tone is a little slower and a little more bass-heavy, but the music has the same lump of power in it deep down. That power is based more in emotion than in party-readiness now, though. Those who have heard the prior major-release albums might enjoy this one as a new dimension to Buckwheat's music. On the same note, it's a decently large step from what the average listener might have already heard. The party music here has the same bounce to it, but the instrumentation is different. The non-party music is more prevalent anyway, with some exceptional playing and vocals on the part of the bandmembers, as well as Dural himself. Pick it up for a nice change, but listen to the whole collection for the full picture.
By Adam Greenberg, All Music Guide.
Contemporary zydeco's most popular performer, accordionist Stanley "Buckwheat" Dural was the natural successor to the throne vacated by the death of his mentor Clifton Chenier; infusing his propulsive party music with strains of rock and R&B, his urbanized sound -- complete with touches of synthesizer and trumpet married traditional and contemporary zydeco with uncommon flair, in the process reaching a wider mainstream audience than any artist before him. Dural was born in Lafayette, Louisiana on November 14, 1947; with his braided hair, he soon acquired the nickname "Buckwheat" (an homage to the Our Gang character), and by the age of four was already touted as a piano prodigy. Although often exposed to traditional zydeco as a child, he preferred R&B, and by the mid-1950s was playing professionally with Lynn August; Dural's notoriety as a keyboardist quickly spread, and he also backed notables including Joe Tex and Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown.
In 1971, Dural founded Buckwheat and the Hitchhikers, a 16-piece funk band which he led for the next half-decade; however, in 1976 he finally fell under zydeco's sway when recruited to back Chenier -- a friend of his father on tour. Originally brought on as an organist, Dural picked up the accordion within two years and began learning from the master himself; rechristening himself Buckwheat Zydeco, he formed his own combo by 1979, the Ils Sont Partis Band (translated as "They're off!, " so named in honor of the cry heard at the beginning of each horse race at the Lafayette track). Upon signing to the Blues Unlimited label, the group debuted in 1979 with One for the Road, followed in 1980 by Take It Easy, Baby. After 1983's 100% Fortified Zydeco, the group moved to the Rounder label, where they issued the Grammy-nominated Turning Point; its 1985 follow-up, Waitin' for My Ya Ya, was similarly honored.
In 1986, New York-based music critic Ted Fox helped Buckwheat Zydeco land a deal with Island Records, in the process becoming the first zydeco act ever signed to a major label; Fox subsequently acted as their producer as well. The group made their Island debut in 1987 with the acclaimed On a Night Like This, another Grammy nominee; that same year they also appeared in the hit movie The Big Easy, further increasing their public visibility. Taking It Home followed in 1988, but after 1990's Where There's Smoke There's Fire, Buckwheat Zydeco was dropped by Island, signing to Charisma for 1992's On Track. The years to follow saw the band drifting from one label to another, signing to Warner for 1994's Choo Choo Boogaloo, then hopping to Atlantic for 1997's Trouble; although their commercial fortunes may have dipped, they remained hugely popular as a live attraction, despite purists' charges of commercialism, and celebrated two decades of music in 1999 with The Buckwheat Zydeco Story: A 20 Year Party.
Buckwheat Zydeco- Accordion, Keyboards
Stanley Dural- Organ, Vocals, Piano-Accordian
01. I Bought a Raccoon 3:23
02. Zydeco Honky Tonk 2:44
03. Madame Coco Bo 3:13
04. Rock Me Baby 4:19
05. Please Little Girl (Let Me In) 3:29
06. Zydeco Rock 2:31
07. Bim Bam, Thank You Mam 3:01
08. You Got Me Walkin' the Floor 4:18
09. Zydeco Boogie Woogie 2:15
10.One for the Road 3:27
11. Lucille 3:26
12. Buckwheat Music 2:23