This retrospective offers catchy, danceable tunes from one of Louisiana’s most compelling performers. Stanley Dural Jr. (alias Buckwheat Zydeco) ranks as the best-selling zydeco artist of all time. Hard to believe that he once wanted no part of zydeco.
Son of an accomplished Creole accordian player, Dural first made his mark in the ‘70s as a piano and organ player in various blues and R&B bands in his hometown of LaFaytette. Nicknamed Buckwheat because of his unruly hair, Dural considered zydeco uncool until his father convinced him to play organ behind Clifton Chenier when the latter visited LaFayette. Stanley Jr. was so smitten by Chenier’s music that he promptly signed on as Chenier’s full-time keyboardist and eventually became protégé to the original King of Zydeco.
This 15-song collection is a fine overview of Buckwheat’s work, but it only includes tunes that Dural recorded for big labels. It might have benefited from a few of his local hits from the early ‘80s, but this is a minor complaint.
Most of Buckwheat’s best songs are here, including his first national success "Zydeco Boogaloo," the rowdy instrumental "Ma ‘Tit Fille," (the popular song from the movie The Big Easy ), a live take on "Hey Baby," and swampy versions of the Rolling Stones’ "Beast of Burden." and Derek and the Domino’s "Why Does Love Have To Be So Sad?" (with Eric Clapton on guitar).
Some purists have criticized Buckwheat for injecting too much R&B into his zydeco, but his soul and pop covers have always sounded better to me than his versions of traditional Creole and Cajun tunes. With its funky horns, raucous rhythms and authentic downhome soul, Buckwheat’s brand of zydeco is the perfect antidote to a blue mood.
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