Florida Cajun Zydeco Update! Newsletter No Images? Click here

Welcome to ISSUE #30 of FloridaCajunZydeco.com Update!
This newsletter showcases dance events from the FloridaCajunZydeco.com website as well as articles not on the website pages. This month the feature article is “Rockin' Sidney and The Best Selling Zydeco Song of All Time!”

EVERY FIRST AND THIRD TUESDAY in St. Petersburg you can find us dancing at Enigma at 1110 Central Avenue in St. Pete 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 Enigma with new tunes and discovered gems from the past. More than 50% of the music is different every dance, and a lot of it has never been played at any previous dance.

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


Dwayne Dopsie Raises Hell at BBC on Aug. 8

Saturday, Aug. 8, 10 p.m. Dwayne Dopsie and the Zydeco Hellraisers at Bradfordville Blues Club, 7152 Moses Lane, Tallahassee, FL, 32309. Phone 850-906-0766. Website

Dwayne (Dopsie) Rubin has blazed his own distinct path of extremely high energy Zydeco music. Dwayne is a remarkable talent on accordion with a soulful but growling voice, and rubboard artist Paul Lafleur is an act all by himself. Mixed in with the straight ahead zydeco will be some R&B, funk and soulful blues stylings. On August 8, the band Dwayne Dopsie and The Zydeco Hellraisers will definitely raise the BBC crowd to its feet with it’s intense energy and dynamic exuberance on stage. There will be no one sitting by the end of their sets.

Dwayne is on a concert tour promoting his soon-to-be-released tribute album to his late father, Rockin’ Dopsie Sr. and some of his dad’s most popular zydeco songs. The band’s most recent album Up in Flames received positive critical reviews and a Grammy nomination. The band has completed a European tour and is heading to South America in late August.

Here is a commercial produced for the New Orleans Saints.

And don’t forget, FloridaCajunZydeco.com is your source for Cajun and zydeco music in the state of Florida, with a calendar of all the major festivals across the United States. Keep FloridaCajunZydeco.com bookmarked on your smart phone.

Dwayne Dopsie

Spotlight on:
Rockin’ Sidney and The
Best Selling Zydeco Song
of All Time

Michael Tisserand in The Kingdom of Zydeco relates the story of a 10-year-old Sidney Simien in Catholic school when his class is visited by a priest to discuss career choices. Sidney had a dream of becoming a singing cowboy in the movies, but his brothers burst that bubble when they told him no black man could be hired for such a role. The other kids in his class each took their turns to stand up that day to declare they wanted to be a doctor, a lawyer or a farmer. When it was Sidney’s turn to stand, he said, “Well, it’s not what I want to be, it’s what I’m going to have to be.  And I don’t believe the Lord can do much about it, either.” The priest asked why, and Simien said it was because he was black. “That’s when the teacher told me to wait in the hall,” he remembers.

Simien figured the priest was going to hit him. Instead, the priest asked, “You want a soda water?” Then he asked young Simien what he wanted to be. Sidney told the priest he wanted to be a singing cowboy like Roy Rogers, playing the guitar, cleaning the town, getting the girl, and getting respect. “That’s it!” the priest exclaimed. “You want to be an entertainer.”

Three days later he went back to talk to the priest. “That’s when he turned my life around. He told me to study piano, and he paid for it. I started playing at school, and he started calling churches and booking me. That was Father Mulkeen. He heard some of my records, but he never saw me get famous.”

Sidney was a professional musician at age 12, and took over his uncle’s band at age 15. After graduating from high school, he began playing clubs and a few years later recorded some regional R&B hits with Floyd Soileau’s Jin label. Then in 1965 he recorded pop and soul tunes on the Goldband label, with some success. The Goldband record producer, Eddie Shuler, thought Sidney could become the next Clifton Chenier, and got him to make a record in French playing harmonica. That record went nowhere.

Clifton Chenier’s Derision

When he was at a dance, and had had a bit too much to drink, Sidney approached Clifton Chenier to ask him about buying an accordion. “Man, don’t bother me,” was the terse reply. A little later, he approached Chenier again and asked if he could play harmonica with the band. Chenier picked up the microphone and made an announcement to the crowd of 500 dancers present that Rockin’ Sidney wants to play the accordion and the harmonica. “He kind of embarrassed me a bit.”

But the ridicule from the stage that night only fueled Sidney’s desire to out-do Chenier with a bigger stage presentation of his own. He made a couple zydeco albums, and had his first regional hit, “If It’s Good for the Gander.” The song became a showstopper in local clubs, where Simien would parade in a goose made up with lipstick and earrings on a leash. “I knew the first thing a goose does when it gets to a door is it wants to go in, so I’d go by the women’s bathroom, and the house would go wild.”

In 1982 the main event at the Texas-Louisiana Blues and Zydeco Festival was the “battle for the crown of zydeco” featuring both Clifton Chenier and Buckwheat Zydeco. That gave Simien the idea for his next act. He fashioned a Clifton Chenier costume with a wig, a cape and plastic gold teeth, studied ventriloquism and got a Buckwheat Zydeco dummy to take on stage, and impersonated them both doing their hit songs. “Buckwheat stayed mad at me a long time. But that’s what made me real popular. And actually Clifton Chenier and Buckwheat both would catch my show to see if I was going to do them. So when Cliff would come, I would do Buckwheat, and when Buckwheat would come, I’d do Cliff.”

The Mystery in the Lyrics of
"Don't Mess With My Toot-Toot"

It was late at night in 1982 that Sidney would compose the zydeco song that would be the sensation of 1985 and still be the blockbuster hit of all time 30 years later. He set about recording the song "Don't Mess With My Toot-Toot" in his garage playing all of the parts himself. The story told in The Kingdom of Zydeco of how Sidney came up with the lyrics is hilarious.

Before playing a song, Chenier would say “Eh toi, fais attention,” or ‘Hey, you, pay attention.” Cajun bands would often comment from the stage, “Fais pas ça,” “Don’t do that,” and introduce a song in French, with “ma chére tout-toute”, or “my sweet little everything.”

“Well, I don’t speak French,” admitted Simien, “so what I’m hearing is, “Blah-blah-blah-blah-toot-toot.”

“So then I sang it one time and made a bunch of mistakes on that thing. One place I said, ‘C’est pas ça’ but it’s supposed to be ‘Fais pas ça….’ Now it turns out the Spanish people would think I was trying to sing, ‘¿Qué pasa?’

“I thought I would be clever with my words and change them around, because I used to like the way Chuck Berry would write…. So I said, ‘You can look as much, but if you much as touch.’… I got the idea that I was going to let people try to figure out what I was trying to say. I said, ‘She was born in her birth suit, the doctor slap her behind.’  I thought that was a clever thing, but nobody ever questioned me about that.”

The song “Don’t Mess with My Toot Toot” was released in 1984 by Maison de Soul as the “B” side to “My Zydeco Shoes Got the Zydeco Blues.”  It wasn’t long before the the B side was being played by Cajun stations, and then country stations, and then top 40 stations when Casey Kasem played it. And then it was picked up and re-recorded in Europe, but made the biggest splash in the Latino community. The elusive meaning of the term “Toot Toot” fueled much of the song’s appeal.

Herman Fuselier recently revisited the phenomenon of “Don’t Mess with My Toot Toot” in his Advertiser article, “Thirty years after ‘My Toot Too,’ zydeco seeks more gold”. Fusilier reports, ’Toot Toot’ was soon leased to Columbia Records for national distribution. The tune leaped into the country music’s Top 20 and clocked its first million in sales. Simian enjoyed music celebrity, appearing on “Hee Haw,” “Austin City Limits” and other national TV programs. Other artists cashed in. Jean Knight, Denise La Salle, Fats Domino, Doug Kershaw and John Fogerty of Creedence Clearwater Revival fame recorded cover versions. Some scored hits, but none as big as the popular Colombian group, La Sonora Dinamita. They achieved million sellers with two Spanish versions, ’Tu Cucû” in 1988 and “No Provokes mi Zichichi’ in 1989.”

When asked on a television broadcast what a toot toot is, Rockin’ Sidney said, “It’s a hit record,” which got a lot of laughs. He went on to explain it’s a Cajun-Creole saying for a little baby, a girlfriend or a sweet person that you love. That went over well with the fans because at first a lot of people thought it was a risqué record, but it had nothing to do with that.

Will There Ever Be Another Million Seller?

Many artists dream of scoring zydeco’s next gold record, but despair that the music industry has changed so much that it’s impossible.

Sean Ardoin created a stir last year with a zydeco version of Pharrell Williams’ “Happy,” and said it’s not about record sales in record stores or in jukeboxes anymore but about Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube. “Before you had to work really hard for one person to see you so he could sign you,” said Ardoin. “Now you’ve got to work really hard for everybody to see you.”

Ted Fox, manager of Buckwheat Zydeco since 1986, has helped his artist achieve a lot of firsts including a recording contract with a major label and performances with U2 and Eric Clapton. According to Fox, “The likelihood of another zydeco million seller is tiny. It’s tiny for anybody in any genre  these days…. [But] some of the vintage Buck clips  [on Youtube] have over a half million views, which means over a half million listens.”

There is reason for optimism though in the popularity of songs like “The Cupid Shuffle,” Fuselier reports. Since its release in 2007, the song has had more than 3 million in sales and still enjoys thousands of downloads weekly. The song even mentions zydeco in its opening lyrics. The song has become one of the all-time most popular line dances, attracting dancers to the floor immediately from the opening “boom.”

Fuselier quotes Ted Fox in his article: “[Cupid Shuffle] to me was just as strong as ’Toot Toot,’ in its own way, and it’s still going. We have some great young, and older, minds in zydeco. Anything is possible.”


For more to this story, read “Thirty years after ‘My Toot Toot’, zydeco seeks more gold” by Herman Fuselier in The Advertiser (March 20, 2015), and The Kingdom of Zydeco by Michael Tisserand (Arcade Publishing).


Latest Facebook Postings on
The Home Page


Check out the the latest postings on the Florida Cajun Zydeco Facebook page on the home page a www.FloridaCajunZydeco.com. Get reminders of internet Cajun and zydeco programs from Louisiana and across the nation (even from the Netherlands), and of course you can check the times of those programs yourself on the "Links" page (under Cajun-Zydeco on the Radio).

Another valuable page is the C-Z Video page where you can check out some festival performances and learn to dance Cajun and zydeco with online videos.

The Calendar page lists events in the state of Florida. Festival-O-Rama page lists the major Cajun and zydeco festivals coming up this season.

But my favorite page is the Stories page where you will find links and  descriptions of each edition of this newsletter. There is a wealth of information on that one page alone.

This website is produced entirely by one person, not a team of folks. Any time you learn of a new event which should be posted to the site, email me at j-hance@wowpromotions.com. I will make sure people learn about it.


Goldman Thibodeaux,
Folk Heritage Award Winner

Goldman Thibodeaux

Paul Tamburello has a blog at ptatlarge.typepad.com where he posts video and journal entries on his travels, some relating to Cajun and zydeco dance events and artists. Click on the link for a video of Goldman Thibodeaux who learned to play directly from Amede Ardoin and Iry LeJeune. Stay tuned for his story about 5 minutes in. 

Last year, Goldman Thibodeaux was awarded Folklife Heritage Award, which recognizes an individual or organization for creating, promoting or maintaining Louisiana cultural traditions. Thibodeaux was nominated for his promotion of Creole music.

Ruben Moreno, Complique

New Music

Complique by Ruben Moreno 

Produced and arranged in collaboration with Andre Thierry, Ruben Moreno’s second CD has a definite R&B vibe with good song writing and perfect zydeco tempos for dancing. Ruben is one of the best song writers of zydeco music from outside Louisiana, expressing complex feelings of love and its disappointments and broken promises, yet with unflagging optimism. Love is never simple; as the album title says, it is "complicated". Every one of the seven songs on this CD is good.  I am disappointed, however, that this album, self published and produced, is not available on iTunes (as his first album Por Ti Volare is), and with only seven songs we are paying a premium per song to purchase this CD for $20 compared to getting an album with 11 songs for $9.99 on iTunes (his first album). I suspect Ruben didn’t want to deal with a music publisher or Apple. If you’re a fan of Ruben you’ll buy the CD and be happy.  You can get more information and purchase the CD at rubenmusik.com  Look for Ruben Moreno and Zydeco Re-Evolution at Rhythm & Roots Festival in Rhode Island in September, Festivals Acadiens in Lafayette in October.

nouveaux cajun xpress

Nouveaux Cajun Xpress nominated in 2015 Cajun Music Awards

 Congratulations to John Ortis and the Nouveaux Cajun Xpress band for being nominated in the following categories: Best First CD, Album of the Year, People’s Choice Award, and Fiddle Player of the Year. Nouveaux Cajun Xpress has some nice tunes which I have played regularly at the twice monthly Zydeco Dance in St. Pete. Become acquainted with their music at this link: https://www.reverbnation.com/NouveauxCajunXpress/songs. This is a Louisiana Cajun band  registered with Louisiana Development of the Arts and Louisiana Department of Tourism, and they have played in the Florida panhandle. Their music is available on iTunes and Amazon.com.



Zydeco Dance on Tuesdays, Aug. 4 and 18

5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Enigma, 1110 Central Avenue, St. Pete 33705. We meet to dance here on the FIRST AND THIRD TUESDAYS each month. Dance 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m., and Happy Hour pricing on some drinks throughout the dance, and no cover charge. Hungry? You're welcome to bring food in from Ricky P's across the street, or Bodega's or Red Mesa Mercado (they have the menus at Enigma). Park in the "free" parking lot across the street or behind the buildings to the west on Central. Two hour restrictions on diagonal parking on Central apply.

On Aug. 4 we will be featuring music from six albums by Chris Ardoin! Music from other artists too. Send me a request and I will try to make sure it gets played.

Questions and requests: Sharon Stern, (727) 648-7858, sternsl@hotmail.com, or Jim Hance, (813) 465-8165, j-hance@wowpromotions.com. And “like” us on Facebook ("Florida Cajun Zydeco") for daily zydeco postings. There is another "group" page for "Florida Cajun Zydeco Dancers" too.


Trendsetting at Disco Today
Tampa Bay on Sunday, Aug. 23

5 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Enigma, 1110 Central Avenue, St. Pete 33705. Free admission, free parking in the lot across the street, drink specials all evening, good sound system, good dance floor (a little slow though).

Disco purists will not describe all of the music that will be played at Disco Today Tampa Bay on Sunday, Aug. 23 as “disco”.  The music played covers more than four decades of dance music from the 70s to today, as well as other genres like funk, electronica, R&B, soul and pop. In short, it’s just plain fun, and most at a moderate tempo around 100 - 120 beats per minute — for those who want to dance all evening.  

One song that will be played is “Take That To The Bank” by Shalimar.  The band was created by Soul Train booking agent Dick Griffey, and when they produced “Take That To The Bank” the band had recruited two of the TV show’s most popular dancers, Jody Watley and Jeffrey Daniel, to join lead singer Gerald Brown. Besides having a smash hit with this song and being terrific dancers, the group was regarded as fashion icons and trendsetters, particularly in the UK. Music, dancing, and fashion — how cool is that?

Here is a video of Shalimar singing and dancing to “Take That To The Bank”

The nitty-gritty: Our first dance drew a small crowd, which may be due to other dances the same night, and people not being familiar with the venue, Enigma. But more than that, I became very aware that the dance floor at Enigma is slow for hustle. I am considering moving the dance to a venue with a faster dance floor and a little more space because the hustle dance requires it. Everyone is welcome to dance swing, cha, salsa and other dance they like, but my intent is to provide a good venue for hustle dancing. Moving to a different venue will probably make the dance NOT free. And, we will need a minimum of 30 dancers to make it happen. Your input is welcome!

“Disco Today Tampa Bay” has its own Facebook page, so check it out and “like” for daily postings on artists that will be featured at the next dance.




Long Beach Crawfish Festival

August 14-16, 2015 — Long Beach Crawfish Festival featuring headliner Step Rideau and the Zydeco Outlaws and a good selection of California zydeco talent: Andre Thierry & Zydeco Magic, Theo & The Zydeco Patrol,  David Sousa and the Zydeco Mudbugs, Bennie & The Swamp Gators, Bonne Musique Zydeco, Euphoria Brass Band, A.J. Gibs "Mr. One-Man Show”, Acadiana with Teresa Russell, California Feetwarmers, High Steppers New Orleans Boogie Band, and Felix y Los Gatos. At Rainbow Lagoon in Long Beach. Check FloridaCajunZydeco.com for Long Beach Crawfish Festival website.

Cotati Accordion Festival

August 22-23, 2015 — Cotati Accordion Festival in Cotati, California always has a wild array of accordion players from every conceivable genre of music. Zydeco bands this year include MotorDude Zydeco and hopefully  Mark St. Mary Louisiana Blues and Zydeco Band (Mark has had some health issues. Get well, Mark!)  Festival location is north of San Francisco. This website and others at FloridaCajunZydeco.com.

Rhythm & Roots Festival

Sept. 4-6, 2015 — 17th Annual Rhythm & Roots Festival  at Ninigret Park, Charlestown, Rhode Island. An excellent lineup of talent headlined by Keb Mo, The Mavericks and Royal Southern Brotherhood and including Steve Riley and the Mamou Playboys, Marcia Ball, Corey Ledet and His Zydeco Band, Roddie Romero & the Hub City All Stars, Ruben Moreno and Zydeco Re-Evolution, Dog Hill Stompers, Ed Pollard & Preston Frank, and Cajun fiddler David Greely. Get more info at FloridaCajunZydeco.com. 

FloridaCajunZydeco.com loves to travel with you to festivals, and doesn’t require an ticket. Just bookmark FloridaCajunZydeco.com on your smart phone.


Still Free…

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

Please forward to friends who are interested in Cajun and zydeco music and dancing…or just reading about it!


Please click on our Facebook Page at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Florida-Cajun-Zydeco/362375913950779 and HIT THE LIKE BUTTON. If you "Like" us you can see more of our news postings on all things Cajun and zydeco in the state of Florida --- and elsewhere too! Enjoy good music.

Regards, Jim Hance