Friday, April 28, 2017

Rockin' to the East and West: Buckwheat Zydeco and "Tutti Frutti"

Today's tune is by Buckwheat Zydeco, a zydeco riff on an old rock standard, Tutti Frutti. Buckwheat Zydeco was the stage name of Stanley Dural, Jr. He got the name "Buckwheat" from his childhood resemblance to a character on the Our Gang film shorts. Dural's father was an accomplished Creole accordionist, but Dural preferred rhythm and blues, and actually started out backing artists such as Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown and Joe Tex. He started his own funk band in the early 70s with some success, but then began backing zydeco legend Clifton Chenier as an organist and discovered the popularity of zydeco. His relationship to Chenier led him to take up the accordion, and after a year he felt confident enough to start Buckwheat Zydeco in 1978. Buckwheat Zydeco opened for and collaborated with some of the biggest names in music, and was one of the few zydeco bands to achieve mainstream success. Unfortunately, Stanley Dural, Jr. died of lung cancer in September, 2016 at the age of 68 - one of many of a long line of musicians that died in their late 60s last year. Tutti Frutti is on his 1992 album Turning Point.