Saturday, September 24, 2016

Buckwheat and John D RIP

The Vinyl Word raises a glass to some more influential musicians who have died in recent weeks.
Stanley Dural, aka Buckwheat Zydeco, who has died aged just 68, was a top zydeco accordionist
who helped to raise the profile of the genre. When I first visited New Orleans and went to Jazzfest in the late eighties, I knew little about zydeco but soon became aware of Buckwheat Zydeco, who were one of the leading zydeco bands. The first time I went to Antone's in Austin a few years later it was Buckwheat Zydeco who were top of the bill. I saw him at Jazzfest on several occasions and at the Ponderosa Stomp, when he played organ with Lil Buck Sinegal. Stanley and his band were always excellent.
Originally from Lafayette, Stanley formed a funk band in 1971 but switched to zydeco when he began backing Clifton Chenier, the king of zydeco. He was an organist, but took up the accordion in 1978 and set up his zydeco band a year later. He went on to record albums for Blues Unlimited, Black Top and Island and was invited to tour with Eric Clapton. Performances with Keith Richards, Willie Nelson, Robert Plant and many others followed. His final album, Lay Your Burden Down, was recorded for Alligator in 2009.
Another significant music death is that of John D Loudermilk at the age of 82. John had only one major solo hit, Language of Love, but was a very successful songwriter. Some friends of mine will know that my party piece is a rendition of the Everly Brothers' Ebony Eyes, with its spoken segment about the plane being delayed by 'toibulent' weather and having
to alter course. That was one of John's. And the list of great songs that he wrote is a long one, including Tobacco Road and Indian Reservation, hits for the Nashville Teens and Don Fardon but also recorded by John himself. Other successful songs included George Hamilton IV's A Rose and a Baby Ruth, Eddie Cochran's Sitting In the Balcony, Angela Jones, a hit for Johnny Ferguson and Michael Cox, The Great Snowman (Bob Luman), Norman, Paper Tiger and Sad Movies (all hits for Sue Thompson), Talk Back Trembling Lips (Johnny Tillotson) and Thou Shall Not Steal (Dick and Deedee).
A final word too for Fred Hellerman who, at 89, was the last surviving member of the Weavers, the folk group which also included Pete Seeger, Ronnie Gilbert and Lee Hays and which was accused of Communist sympathies during the McCarthy era. Fred went on to record with Joan Baez and produced the Alice's restaurant album by Arlo Guthrie.


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