Zydeco music Clifton Chenier
Some know him as ‘The King Of Zydeco’ other as the ‘King Of The South’, he was the first French speaking American grammy winner, this blog is about Clifton Chenier. Clifton is famous for his influential accordion sound and as the creator of a musical mix between Cajun, Blues, Rhythm & Blues, Rock ‘n Roll into a Zydeco sandwich.
Chenier was born in Opelousas, Louisiana he grew up working in the sugar and rice fields of the Pelican State. Clifton’s father was an accordion player, his uncle was a guitarist and a fiddler, the Chenier family was a music family. He featured in the beautiful 1973 documentary film Hot Pepper by director Les Blank about Zydeco. The documentary shows the musical life of Chenier from the sweaty music clubs in Louisiana through the Bayous of the countryside into downtown New Orleans streets.
My favourite album of Clifton Chenier is ‘Frenchin’ the Boogie’ released in 1976 on Bluestar records. It contains covers of Ray Charles ( I Got A Woman), Muddy Waters ( I Just Want To Make Love To You). It is a swinging album with a perfect mix of Zydeco, Rock n Roll and Blues. A typical New Orleans album.
His cousin, Lightning Hopkins wife introduced Chenier to Chris Strachwitz, owner of the roots music label Arhoolie.. Strachwitz quickly Signed Chenier to his label.