Release Date: 05/19/09
Zydeco's popularity can be attributed to Chenier and his 1954 recording of Clifton's Blues and Louisiana Stomp. Clifton Chenier was born in Opelousas, LA in June 1925. He grew up listening to his father play. He switched from the button to the piano accordion in his mid-teens. In 1942 Clifton and his older brother Cleveland moved to Lake Charles to work in the oil refineries. Clifton was fired. He returned to plead for his job. While waiting, he played his accordion around the sandwich wagon and made more money in an hour than he'd earned all week. A professional career beckoned. He joined Clarence Garlow's band. In 1954 Elko signed him and sold the entire session of six songs to Imperial. Clifton's debut single was a hit. Chenier was set up with gigs in Los Angeles, one of which was attended by Specialty A&R man Bumps Blackwell. Chenier was signed to Art Rupe in April 1955. The first release, Ay-Tete-Fee, repeated the success of his first release and Chenier was drafted into R&B package shows. His career wavered toward the end of the 1950s but recovered in the 1960s, with a series of releases. He toured widely and kept recording. He died in Lafayette, LA on December 1, 1987. Clarence Garlow pursued a similar career to Chenier, combining blues and zydeco, but without the younger man's success. Born in Welsh, LA, east of Lake Charles, in 1911, by the age of eight, he was playing fiddle in the family band, later adding guitar and accordion. In the 1920s he moved to Beaumont, TX, taking work as a postman, keeping up with music at weekends. Eventually, he retired from gigging and confined his musical involvement to his job as a deejay for Beaumont's KJET station. In 1984 he was coaxed back into playing and appeared at the San Francisco Blues Festival. He appeared alongside Clifton Chenier at the 1986 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival. After a short illness, he died at Beaumont's Baptist Hospital on July 24, 1986.
|Label: Jsp Records|
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