Florida Cajun Zydeco Update! Newsletter
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Welcome to ISSUE #35 of FloridaCajunZydeco.com Update!
This newsletter showcases dance events from the FloridaCajunZydeco.com website as well as articles not on the website pages. The feature story this month is "That Cajun Beat."

EVERY FIRST AND THIRD TUESDAY in St. Petersburg you can find us dancing at EDGE OF 9 to some of the best Cajun and zydeco tunes DJ Jim has been able to uncover. Enjoy your own adventure in good music at each Zydeco Dance at Edge of 9 with new tunes and discovered gems from the past.

SEVERAL BANDS COMING TO FLORIDA in December: Steve Riley & The Mamou Playboys on Dec. 11, Donna The Buffalo on December 31, and Dikki Du and The Zydeco Krewe on January 1st. Check out the Dance Calendar Page at www.FloridaCajunZydeco.com for more information.

NEW AND IMPROVED on FloridaCajunZydeco.com is the “Stories” page. It contains archives of THIS NEWSLETTER, and each issue has a photo representing the artist featured in the main article. Check out some of the archived newsletters at www.FloridaCajunZydeco.com/stories.

Also, we're on FACEBOOK in Groups (Florida Cajun Zydeco Dancers) and with our own Page (Florida Cajun Zydeco). Check us out and "Like" us to see the posts and reminders throughout the week. This is a good way to get your zydeco fix between newsletters.

FloridaCajunZydeco.com loves to travel and fits neatly in your pocket on your smart phone. Check the website for dance information wherever you may travel.

Regards, Jim Hance
Publisher, FloridaCajunZydeco.com


First and Third Tuesdays in St. Pete ---
Cajun-Zydeco Dance Edge of 9

TUESDAY, DEC. 1 AND TUESDAY DEC. 15 CAJUN-ZYDECO DANCES:  Join us 6 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. at Edge of 9, 900 Central Avenue #25B, St. Pete 33705. We meet to dance here on the FIRST AND THIRD TUESDAYS each month. The music will be played softly from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. for socializing and dance lesson. The music volume goes up at 7 p.m. No cover charge, parking lot, painted cement dance floor, NO SMOKING. Hungry? You're welcome to bring food in from sandwich shop or restaurants. Check out the venue at facebook.com/edgeof9. Questions and requests: Jim Hance, (813) 465-8165, j-hance@wowpromotions.com.

I will be playing a few tunes by Steve Riley & The Mamou Playboys to set the mood for their performance at BBC on December 11. A number of Tampa Bay dancers are heading to Tallahassee for this opportunity to dance to Steve Riley, so you might want to join us. Writeup on that event below.

By the way, a number of our dance friends have had difficulty finding Edge of 9, particularly since there are restaurants and other establishments on Central Ave. using the name "Edge." The exact location is actually on First Avenue South, not Central. It is best to drive down First Avenue South, and pull into the parking lot just west of 9th St. (Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. St.). A sign is posted on the sidewalk on First Ave. South to let you know you're there.


Every Saturday in December --- Easy Street at Zydeco Grille  (Englewood)

7-9 p.m. Vermont's Easy Street Duo with Mary Morella at Zydeco Grille, 8501 Placida Rd. (Cape Haze Plaza), Englewood, FL 33946, Phone 941-828-1472. Website: zydecogrille.com
Easy Street duo is comprised of Mark Trichka and Lisa Brande, who share their time between Putney, Vermont, Nokomis, Florida and Cecilia, Louisiana. They are full time musicians, having performed for over 20 years, playing swing, bluegrass, cajun and zydeco, rockabilly and honkytonk and all manner of popular, sometimes obscure, but always interesting music, on fiddle, mandolins, guitars and voices. They also perform under the name the Maple Sugar Serenaders for retirees in Florida and Vermont, and are members of other groups as well. One band in which they both played was Thomas “Big Hat” Fields. Last year they performed with friends from Louisiana at Fogartyville in Sarasota to a sold-out crowd under the name Easy Dooz.


Gumbo Boogie  (Tampa Bay)

Tampa Bay’s resident Louisiana party band is Gumbo Boogie. You can catch Gumbo Boogie at the following venues this month.
Sat., Dec. 12 — 7 p.m. Gumbo Boogie Band at JR’s Old Packinghouse Cafe, 987 S Packinghouse Rd, Sarasota, FL 34232.
Sun., Dec. 13 — 5 p.m. Gumbo Boogie Band at Ace’s Live Music, 4343 Palma Sola Blvd, Bradenton, FL 34210.


Fri. Dec. 11 --- Steve Riley & The Mamou Playboys (Tallahassee)

9 p.m. ---  at Bradfordville Blues Club, 7152 Moses Lane, Tallahassee, FL 32309, 850-906-0766. The band recently released its 13th album, Voyageurs. With a decidedly rock and blues sound fused with traditional Cajun instruments, Steve Riley and his band (now with Kevin Wimmer on fiddle and vocals) takes us on a new adventure to places we’ve never been. As World Music News Wire describes it, Voyageurs bursts with the full growl and sparkle of the region’s music, honed over decades. With the new member, the band finds the funky, unexpected crossroads of rock, blues, country, zydeco, and just about every other branch of Americana out there. It’s quite a trip, from East Texas wedding travails (beloved Cajun singalong “Brasse Donc, Le Couche-Couche”), to the wild journey of Mardi Gras (Dewey Balfa’s galloping classic “Le danse de Mardi Gras”), to saying a playful good riddance to your hometown (“Au Revoir Grand Mamou”). “You bring what you need with you and you keep pushing forward,” explains Riley, describing the band’s journey and the Cajun experience. “A lot of the songs on the record are about travels. There is all this imagery that’s really striking, all the things you had to go though to leave your home and take your music and your message around the world.”


Thurs. Dec. 31 --- Donna The Buffalo (Tampa)


Dec. 31 ---  Celebrate the new year with Skipper's New Year's Eve party band, Donna The Buffalo. A little bit Cajun, a little bit roots, a little bit rock'n'roll. Always a good time. Skippers Smokehouse, 910 Skipper Rd., Tampa 33613. More info at skipperssmokehouse.com.


Fri. Jan. 1 --- Dikki Du and The Zydeco Krewe (Bradenton)

Another member of the Carrier dynasty of zydeco music, Dikki Du is making a rare appearance outside of Louisiana at Ace's Live, 4343 Palma Sola Blvd., Bradenton, FL 34210. 941-795-3886. Dikki Du (Troy Carrier) was born in 1969 in Church Point, Louisiana and discovered his love for zydeco music at the tender age of nine. After school he would get together with his brother Chubby, sister Elaine and father Roy to play zydeco music. At the age of twelve Troy moved to Lawtell, where his father had owned the Offshore Lounge for over fifteen years. Troy played the washboard for Roy Carrier, his father, at local gigs. He then joined forces with the great C.J. Chenier for two years. Troy's brother Chubby Carrier then started a family band and offered Troy a job playing the drums. Troy toured with his brother from the late 80's until the 90's, when he returned home to pick up the accordion. Dikki Du has incorporated his musical heritage with unique experience to create one of the most innovative zydeco groups around. "Personally the triple row is the sound that I like the best". says Dikki Du. He takes songs from classic zydeco and turns them inside out with fresh and funky renditions driving it to the next level. You won’t want to miss Dikki Du & the Zydeco Krewe when they come to Ace’s Live in January.


That Cajun Beat Through
the Centuries

According to Rick Koster, author of Louisiana Music, “The [Cajun] tunes have a paradoxical quality: a heaving, mournful sound that’s contradicted by the innate cheerfulness of the music. Most Cajun music — be it two-step dance stuff or the slower waltzes — holds an undercurrent of melancholy despite the exuberance of the tunes, as though musically proclaiming that, no matter how much we’ve been screwed over, tonight we’re gonna rock.”

Cajun and Creole music have come a long way since the nineteenth century when the two similar styles of music started to evolve in a tiny section of southwest Louisiana. Things were set in motion as far back as 1764 — before the American Revolution — when the area was settled by Acadians (later shortened to “Cajuns”), a French-speaking group booted out of Canada for refusing en masse to take an oath of loyalty to the English king. Over time, Creoles — French-speaking ex-slaves and free persons of color who had, over the years, mixed with immigrant Haitians, American Indians, Spanish and French — also began to occupy the region as they left post-Civil War New Orleans to head west. Both the Creole and Cajun cultures, though different, have intermingled in a variety of ways, and archivist John Lomax characterized the early music from both groups as being a collision of French Europeans, Afro-Caribbean, and Mississippi Indian influences. Working in the same fields in the same impoverished, family-oriented environments, Cajuns and Creoles have withstood extreme prejudice — frequently from one another. Still, the similarities between them caused no small amount of empathy among the more enlightened of their respective citizenry. As time passed, much of the food and music cross-pollinated and the results have been spectacular.

According to the founder of the Cajun band Beausoleil, Michael Doucet, “Basically, you had two different cultures living in the same place. There was a lot of sharing but there were incredible differences too. If you had a 180-degree graph, put Creole culture on the left and Cajun culture on the right. Go up 30 degrees from the left and you’d have blues and field hollers and a very rhythmic sensibility. On the Cajun side you’d have ballads and fiddle tunes. And then there’d be 120 degrees of gray area with varying degrees of overlap.”

In 1916 the government in Louisiana outlawed French as an official language, and the French-speaking cultures began to decline. Children were forbidden to use the French language in schools. After the Compulsory Education Act forced Cajun children to attend formal schools, American teachers threatened, punished, and sometimes beat their Cajun students in an attempt to force them to use English (a language many of them had not been exposed to before). During World War II, Cajuns often served as French interpreters for American forces in France; this helped to overcome prejudice. However, after the conclusion of WWII, the suppression of all other languages but American English was redoubled particularly in public schools in Louisiana in favor of “American English”.

In 1968 the organization Council for the Development of French in Louisiana (CODOFIL) was founded to preserve the French language in Louisiana. Besides advocating for their legal rights, Cajuns also recovered ethnic pride and appreciation for their ancestry. Since the mid-1950s, relations among the Cajuns of Louisiana and Acadians to New England and Nova Scotia have been renewed, forming some common Acadian identity.

With this history in mind, Cajun music has continued to evolve through the centuries and more rapidly through the recent decades. According to folklorists, cultures can be defined as living traditions passed down over time and closely connected to community history, shared by a group of people who have something in common, learned by word of mouth, observation and imitation, and having conservative elements that stay the same through many transmissions.

The living Cajun traditions of 100 years ago are somewhat different from those of today, so we can describe Cajun music as having some different characteristics depending on when it was performed and recorded. Here are some categories of Cajun music I found on the web and some representative artists of each.


Traditional Cajun

This style comprises the roots of Cajun dance music, involving only a few instruments such as the Cajun accordion, fiddle, and triangle. This form holds firm to a basic rhythm with staccato style notes, including lots of fiddle double stops. Each fiddle solo is composed of a major scale riff, repeated between verses. This form has existed since the early 1900s and the waltz and two-step are the most common dances of this Cajun music genre. Many songs that became standards in the Cajun music repertoire were first recorded in this period of the 1920s and 1930s. A number of the most prominent traditional Cajun musicians such as Dewey Balfa, D.L. Menard, Louisiana Aces, Belton Richard, Paul Daigle and Beausoleil are featured in the 1989 documentary J'Ai Ete Au Bal (I Went to the Dance).

JOE AND CLEOMA FALCON (1900 – 1965, 1906 – 1941) were best known for the first recording of the Cajun song "Allons à Lafayette" in 1928. Joe, an accordionist, and Cleoma, a guitarist and vocalist, recorded the song in New Orleans for Columbia Records and it became a smash hit. The couple sold thousands of copies and played shows across Louisiana and Texas.

DENNIS McGEE (1893 – 1989) was one of the earliest recorded Cajun musicians. His most notable recordings were done with fellow fiddle players Sady Courville and Ernest Frugé, and those sessions are said to be among the few existing that reflect Cajun music prior to accordions being the prominent instrument.

SADY COURVILLE (1905 – 1988) is a Cajun fiddler known for his collaborations with Dennis McGee. The pair’s most famous work was recorded in New Orleans in 1929.

IRY LeJEUNE (1928 – 1955) was one of most popular and best selling Cajun musicians in the late 1940s. He was among a small group of Cajun recording artists who returned the accordion to prominence at a time in which the western Texas swing sound was starting to influence Cajun music.

LAWRENCE WALKER (1907 – 1968) was a Cajun accordionist best known for the original songs Reno Waltz, Evangeline Special, Bosco Stomp and Mamou Two Step. He was inducted into the Cajun French Music Association Hall of Fame in its inaugural year.

BALFA BROTHERS were a group of five who played across America and Europe in the 1960s, at a time when Cajun music’s influence on other American genres had been somewhat forgotten. One of their most prominent appearances was at the 1968 Summer Olympic Games in Mexico City.

BALFA TOUJOURS is the Cajun band led by Christine Balfa, the daughter of acclaimed Cajun musician Dewey Balfa. The band has recorded a half dozen albums, made several television and movie appearances and have toured on four continents.


Country and Texas Swing Cajun

This style involves heavy elements of Texas country music influence and a move away from the traditional accordion. This music has more of a "swing" style popularized by Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys. Instead of the music being dominated by the accordion, Cajun swing relies heavily on the fiddle and piano with a swinging tempo. Bands in the 1940s began using the steel guitar, an instrument which also found use in dancehall Cajun music. Dances such as "the jig" are common among this genre of Cajun music. Harry Choates and the Hackberry Ramblers are early examples of this style, The Red Stick Ramblers and The Lost Bayou Ramblers are contemporary bands playing in this style.

RED STICK RAMBLERS is a contemporary Cajun group, playing traditional songs as well as covers of Western swing, early jazz, blues and honky-tonk music. The band formed while members were attending Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, which inspired the band’s name.

LOST BAYOU RAMBLERS is a contemporary Cajun band that has toured throughout the U.S. and Europe. They have played some of America’s largest music festivals and they earned a Grammy nomination in 2008.

HARRY CHOATES (1922 – 1951) penned the famous Cajun song “Joli Blon” in 1946. It was a major hit for Choates and was even bigger when country singer Moon Mulligan covered the song later, but Choates was never compensated for the song’s success because he had waived the rights to it.

D.L. MENARD (1932) has been called the “Hank Williams of Country Music” because of the country-like sound of his voice and his original music. He has been nominated for a Grammy twice in recent years. His song La Porte En Arrière (The Back Door) is one of the most popular Cajun recordings ever — it sold over 500,000 copies in 1962 alone.


Dancehall Cajun

Dancehall Cajun is often known in South Louisiana as "Fais do-do" music. “Fais do-do” comes from the local practice of couples bringing their young children with them to the dance hall. It is similar to traditional Cajun music with added accompaniment such as the bass guitar, drum kit, steel guitar, and rhythm guitar, electric or acoustic. The same abrupt, staccato feel can be felt as in traditional Cajun. This style originated in the post-war era of the late 1940s and continues up until the present in small town dancehalls. Electrification of the dance venues allowed the fiddle to be played in a smoother style, alternating leads with the accordion. The steel guitar also adds remarks. Typically in dancehall Cajun performances the melody is played by the accordion followed by a bridge, a vocal verse, a leading line by the steel guitar, a leading line by the fiddle, then a leading line by the accordion player again followed by a bridge. This is followed by the next vocal verse, and so on. The characteristics of dancehall Cajun can be seen in artists such as Jesse Légé, and The Basin Brothers Band.

ALDUS ROGER (1915 – 1999) led the Lafayette Playboys for more than 20 years. His popularity in the 1950s and 1960s led to him hosting a Cajun music television show on KLFY in Lafayette. He also recorded a Cajun French version of the Hank Williams hit Jambalaya (On The Bayou), which Williams had based on the Cajun tune Grand Texas.

AL BERARD AND THE BASIN BROTHERS Cajun band founded by musician, composer, vocalist Al Berard received a Grammy nomination for their 1990 album "Let's Get Cajun"

JESSE LEGE AND BAYOU BREW music is deeply rooted in tradtional Cajun styles but with a rhythm and beat demanded by patrons in dance halls in Louisiana and Texas.


Cajun “Renaissance"

Drawing on elements of the earlier traditional, Texas swing, and dancehall periods, the Cajun "renaissance" also incorporates more modern elements of folk, blues, jazz and swamp pop, and bluegrass styles. The fiddle players relax, involving a more legato feel to the solos. The quick fiddle action and double stops are missing, replaced by dominant blues chords and jazz slides.
Pioneers such as BeauSoleil with Michael Doucet, Zachary Richard, Jambalaya Cajun Band, Bruce Daigrepont, and others broke new ground, while other musicians such as Eddie LeJeune, Robert Jardell, Les Frères Michot, The Pine Leaf Boys, and others bring energy to older, more traditional forms.

PINE LEAF BOYS have been nominated for three times for a Grammy award. They tour internationally and in 2009, they were part of a U.S. State Department tour in which they performed in Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Jerusalem.

BEAUSOLEIL avec MICHAEL DOUCET is one of the most known Louisiana genre bands worldwide. Their music includes Cajun and zydeco songs, many with elements of American rock, jazz, blues and even calypso music. The group has won two Grammy awards and earned a dozen nominations.

ZACHARY RICHARD has been a prominent performer in Cajun music for four decades. In addition to touring worldwide, Richard has published three volumes of poetry and three children’s books.

BRUCE DAIGREPONT has played at New Orleans’ Tipitina’s almost every Sunday since 1986. Bruce is credited with popularizing Cajun music and Cajun dancing in the cosmopolitan New Orleans area, and has emerged as one of Cajun music’s finest cultural ambassadors.


Contemporary Cajun

This style involves Cajun music with a heavy influence of rock, R&B, blues, soul, and zydeco, producing a less traditional, more contemporary sound. Although led by the accordion, the electric guitar, washboard, and keyboard are all present in this form. Since the 1940s, musicians such as Wayne Toups, Roddie Romero and the Hub City Allstars, Lee Benoit, Damon Troy, Kevin Naquin, and Steve Riley and the Mamou Playboys have popularized this modern form of Cajun music.

STEVE RILEY AND THE MAMOU PLAYBOYS — This month marks 25 years that Steve Riley and the Mamou Playboys have been together!
The band was founded in 1988 with Steve Riley on accordion, David Greely on fiddle, Mike Dupuy on guitar and Mike Chapman on drums. The band has made 13 albums, four of which have received Grammy nominations. Today’s Mamou Playboys is comprised of Steve Riley on accordion and fiddle, Kevin Wimmer on fiddle, Sam Broussard on guitar, Kevin Dugas on drums and Brazos Huval on bass.

WAYNE TOUPS fused his love of Cajun music, rock, R&B and zydeco into a genre he calls “zydecajun,” and he sings in English and French. He has performed around the world and has contributed accordion tracks to songs by Mark Chesnutt, Clay Walker, Alan Jackson, George Jones and Garth Brooks.

DOUG KERSHAW recorded "Louisiana Man", an autobiographical song that he had written while in the army. The song sold millions of copies; over the years it has come to be considered a standard of contemporary Cajun music. The song has been covered by more than 800 artists.


Cajun Music in the Tuesday Cajun-Zydeco Dance Playlist

Cajun artists represented in my library are from the 1920s (The Alley Boys of Abbeville and Cleoma Beaux) to the latest recordings by Steve Riley and Kevin Naquin. As a deejay, I don’t select dance tunes based on those categories listed above, but more on tempo, mixing in a few fast songs with mostly medium tempo and zydeco tunes.

Here are some of my favorite artists and tunes of different tempos which are sure to fill the dance floor.

Fast Tempo (180 beats per minute or faster): “Lafayette Two Step” by San Diego Cajun Playboys; “Choupique Two Step” by Ray Abshire; “Quand Jetais Pauvre” by Pine Leaf Boys; “McGee’s Medley” by Feufollet; “Fait L’amour Dans le Poulaillier” by La Recolte; “Ossun Two Step” by Kevin Naqin; “Chanson de Mardi Gras” by Jambalaya Cajun Band; “Cow Island Hop” by Feufollet; “Yo Yo Two-Step” by Cory McCauley; “Petit Mamou” by Bruce Daigrepont; “Tipitina Two Step” by Bruce Daigrepont; “Reel de Dennis McGee” by Beausoleil; “Le 2 Step de Platin” by Balfa Toujours;

Medium Tempo (140-180 beats per minute): “My True Love” by Steve Riley; “Co Fa” by Tom Rigney; “Toi, Tu Veux Pus de Moi” by The Revelers; “Louisiana Saturday Night” by Nouveaux Cajun Xpress; “Rubboard Stomach” by Lisa Haley; “One Scotch, One Bourbon, One Beer” by Kevin Naquin; “Jambalaya (On The Bayou)” by Hank Williams; “Mamou Two-Step” by Gator Beat; “The Back Door” by D.L. Menard;  “Johnny Peut Pas Danser” by BeauSoleil; “Freetown Breakdown” by Bonsoir, Catin; “Broken Hearted” by Cedric Watson

Swing Tempo (100-135 beats per minute): “Boozoo’s Blues” by Steve Riley; “Oh Mam” by Jeffery Broussard; “Diamond Smile” by Lisa Haley; “634-5789” by Kevin Naquin; “Blues a Basile” by Dennis Stroughmatt; “Blues a Bébé” by BeauSoleil; “Hey Lucille” by Lynn August; “I Want It All” by Geno Delafose; “I’ll Go Crazy” by BeauSoleil

Cajun Waltz: “Katherine” by Steve Riley (Kevin Naquin does a nice version too); “Old Carpenter’s Waltz Revisited” by Ed Pollard; “Neitzcsche’s Waltz” by Charivari; “Le Petit Cadeau” by Bruce Daigrepont; “it’s a Sin to Tell a Lie” by BeauSoleil; “Le Bons Temps Rouler Waltz” by Beausoleil; “Cest Tout Perdin” by Balfa Toujours; “Mom I’m Still Your Little Boy” by Kevin Naquin; “You’re Mine Forever” by Pine Leaf Boys; “La Toussaint” by Steve Riley


Allen Toussaint, New Orleans R&B Mainstay, Dies at 77

By Ben Sisarionov, New York Times

Allen Toussaint, the versatile producer, songwriter, pianist and singer who was a fixture of New Orleans R&B, died after appearing in concert in Madrid on Monday night. He was 77.

Alison Toussaint-LeBeaux, his daughter, confirmed his death. Javier Ayuso, a spokesman for Madrid emergency services, told The Associated Press that rescue workers had been called to Mr. Toussaint’s hotel early Tuesday and were able to revive him after a heart attack, but that Mr. Toussaint later stopped breathing en route to a hospital.

In concert, in the studio or around his beloved New Orleans, Mr. Toussaint (pronounced too-SAHNT) was a soft-spoken embodiment of the city’s musical traditions, revered as one of the master craftsmen of 20th-century American pop.

“In the pantheon of New Orleans music people, from Jelly Roll Morton to Mahalia Jackson to Fats — that’s the place where Allen Toussaint is in,” said Quint Davis, the longtime producer of the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, where Mr. Toussaint played almost every year since the mid-1970s.

Mr. Toussaint’s career began when he was a teenager in the ’50s and his jaunty piano playing caught the ear of Dave Bartholomew, Fats Domino’s producer. It continued to the present, with a late-blooming love for performing live and collaborating with rock and pop musicians like Elvis Costello.

Mr. Toussaint had his greatest impact in the ’60s and ’70s, when, as both songwriter and producer, he worked on records, like Ernie K-Doe’s “Mother-in-Law,” Lee Dorsey’s “Working in the Coal Mine” and Jessie Hill’s “Ooh Poo Pah Doo,” that described everyday pleasures and nuisances with empathy, wit and a loose, funky swing.

During the ’70s Mr. Toussaint’s studio, Sea-Saint, which he founded with the producer Marshall Sehorn, became renowned for recordings by the Meters, Dr. John and Labelle, and attracted international pop stars like Paul McCartney and Robert Palmer. Mr. Toussaint, then still a largely behind-the-scenes figure in music, also found his way to No. 1 on the pop charts in 1977 when Glen Campbell recorded a cover of his song “Southern Nights.”

Mr. Toussaint’s inspiration, he often said, was New Orleans itself, and over the years he became an unofficial musical ambassador for the city, where for decades he maintained a modest home in a middle-class neighborhood.

At Jazz Fest, as the Jazz and Heritage Festival is known, he usually performed in a bright and elaborately decorated coat. Even offstage, Mr. Toussaint had an eccentric dandy style; he drove a Rolls-Royce with the license plate PIANO and favored pinstriped suits and purple silk shirts paired with Birkenstock sandals.

“It’s who we are,” Mr. Toussaint said of New Orleans, in an interview last year published by the Red Bull Music Academy. “The food we eat, the history, Mardi Gras Indians who rehearse all year around, the second-line brass bands who strut that stuff, the syncopation, the humor, and the slightly slower pace than the rest of America — the way we mosey along rather than running the race.”

On Tuesday Paul Simon, with whom Mr. Toussaint was scheduled to give a benefit concert in New Orleans on Dec. 8, recalled their long history together, which goes back to recording sessions in the early ’70s, when Mr. Toussaint played piano for him and wrote chord charts for his musicians.

“We were friends and colleagues for almost 40 years,” Mr. Simon wrote in an email. “We played together at the New Orleans jazz festival. We played the benefits for Katrina relief. We were about to perform together on Dec. 8. I was just beginning to think about it; now I’ll have to think about his memorial. I am so sad.”

Allen Toussaint was born on Jan. 14, 1938, in Gert Town, a working-class neighborhood of New Orleans, to Clarence Toussaint, a railway worker, and the former Naomi Neville, whose names he occasionally used as songwriting pseudonyms. By his early teens he was playing piano with the guitarist Snooks Eaglin, and he got his first break when he substituted for the New Orleans bandleader and pianist Huey Piano Smith on tour in 1957.
The next year, Mr. Toussaint recorded “The Wild Sound of New Orleans,” an album of instrumentals released by RCA Victor under the name Tousan. It was no hit, but it later gave him a taste of success as a songwriter: One song on the album, “Java” — for which Mr. Toussaint shared credit with Alvin Tyler and Freddy Friday — was covered by the trumpeter Al Hirt in 1963 and reached No. 4 on the Billboard pop chart.

In 1960, Mr. Toussaint became the house producer, arranger and songwriter for the Minit label, where he worked with Irma Thomas, Aaron Neville, Benny Spellman and others. After serving in the Army from 1963 to 1965, he returned to music, establishing Sansu Enterprises, a publishing company and group of record labels, with Mr. Sehorn.
The sound that Mr. Toussaint developed in the ’60s built on the rollicking piano style of earlier New Orleans figures like Professor Longhair, with arrangements that melded deep R&B grooves with touches of pop.

“Allen was the crucible of New Orleans music,” said the producer Leo Sacks, who in the 1990s recorded a gospel singer, Raymond Myles, who was later signed to Mr. Toussaint’s NYNO label. “Allen’s call-and-response choruses were catchy and clever, his harmonics were rich and gospel-flavored. And no one had his handiness with a hook.”


Atlanta Dances

Atlanta Cajun-Zydeco Association will be hosting the following bands over the next several months:
Saturday, Dec. 5 --- Holiday House Party with Jambalaya Cajun Band at Dorothy Benson Center, 6500 Vernon Woods Drive, Sandy Springs, GA 30328; Phone: 404-613-4900. Free beginners dance lesson 7-8 p.m. Free intermediate dance lesson 6:15 p.m. to 7 p.m. Dance to live music 8 p.m. to 11 p.m.
January 9 --- Jeffery Broussard and the Creole Cowboys
February 13 --- Tardi Gras dance with Kevin Naquin & the Ossun Playboys
March 12 --- Lil’ Malcolm & the House Rockers
March 19 --- Pot luck & House Party at the Kwashas 5-9 PM
April 9 --- ACZA Anniversary party with Dennis Stroughmatt & Creole Stomp

Additional information: http://aczadance.org


Still Free…

and worth every penny! I hope you have enjoyed this issue of FloridaCajunZydeco Update!

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Regards, Jim Hance