Sunday, June 1, 2014

Seven Songs Performed By Clifton Chenier & His Bands

Edited by Azizi Powell

This post provides seven examples of Zydeco music by the renown African American musician and vocalist Clifton Chenier. Information about Zydeco music & Clifton Chenier is also included in the post.

The content of this post is provided for folkloric, cultural, entertainment, and aesthetic purposes.

All copyrights remain with their owners.

Thanks to the musical legacy of Clifton Chenier. Thanks to all other musicians who are featured in this post and thanks to all those who are quoted in this post. In addition, thanks to the publishers of these YouTube sound files and videos.

Origins of Zydeco and Cajun Music by Tom Dempsey, Seattle, WA. May 1996
"My love for zydeco dancing inspired me to dig into the history of zydeco music. I discovered that over several generations, Acadians became “Cajuns,” and the word “Creole” changed meaning several times. In rural isolation, the music of Creoles and Cajuns evolved roughly in parallel until about the 1940’s. After the end of World War II, rural Creole musicians of Southwest Louisiana adapted urban blues and jazz to their La La house party music and gave birth to what we now call zydeco. The roots of zydeco grow deep in the history of the various groups who have intermixed in Southwest Louisiana .". . .

Zydeco is a musical genre evolved in southwest Louisiana by French Creole speakers[1] which blends Cajun music, blues and rhythm and blues....

Though disputed, it is commonly suggested that "zydeco" derives from the French phrase Les haricots ne sont pas salés, which, when spoken in the Louisiana Creole French, sounds as "leh-zy-dee-co nuh sohn pah salay". This literally translates as "the snap beans aren't salty" but idiomatically as "I have no spicy news for you." Alternatively the term has been given the meaning "I'm so poor, I can't afford any salt meat for the beans." The earliest recorded use of the term may have been the country and western musical group called Zydeco Skillet Lickers who recorded the song It Ain't Gonna Rain No Mo in 1929.[2]

Initially, several different spellings of the word existed, including "zarico" and "zodico". In 1960, musicologist Robert "Mack" McCormick wrote liner notes for a compilation album, A Treasury of Field Recordings, and used the spelling "zydeco". The word was used in reviews, and McCormick began publicizing it around Houston as a standard spelling. Its use was also accepted by Clifton Chenier - who had previously recorded "Zodico Stomp" in 1955 - in his recording "Zydeco Sont Pas Salés", after which Chenier himself claimed credit for devising the word.[3]"...

Usually fast tempo and dominated by the button or piano accordion and a form of a washboard known as a "rub-board," "scrub-board," "wash-board," or frottoir, zydeco music was originally created at house dances, where families and friends gathered for socializing.

As a result, the music integrated waltz, shuffles, two-steps, blues, rock and roll, and other dance music forms of the era. Today, zydeco integrates genres such as R&B, soul, brass band, reggae, hip hop, ska, rock, Afro-Caribbean and other styles, in addition to the traditional forms."...

"Clifton Chenier (June 25, 1925 – December 12, 1987),[1][2] a Creole French-speaking native of Opelousas, Louisiana, was an eminent performer and recording artist of Zydeco, which arose from Cajun and Creole music, with R&B, jazz, and blues influences. He played the accordion and won a Grammy Award in 1983.[1] In 1984 he was honored as a National Heritage Fellow [3] in 1989 was inducted posthumously into the Blues Hall of Fame,[4] in 2011, The Louisiana Music Hall Of Fame, and in 2014, a Grammy recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award.

He was known as the 'King of Zydeco',[1][2][5] and also billed as the 'King of the South'.[4]"
These examples are presented in chronological order based on their posting date on YouTube, with the oldest examples given first.

Example #1: Clifton Chenier -- Josephine Par Se Ma Femme

Charlie McTruth, Published on Sep 4, 2009


Example #2: Clifton Chenier I'm a Hog for You

nyekurity Uploaded on Jul 11, 2009

Example #3: Clifton Chenier - Bon Ton Roulet

zydecodave1 Uploaded on Nov 18, 2009

A rare video of the King of the South, the King of the Bayous, the King of the Zydeco. With CJ Chenier on sax, Cleveland Chenier on rubboard, and the late Harry Hypolite on guitar.

Example #4: Clifton Chenier - The King of Zydeco

Arhoolie2, Uploaded on Jun 7, 2011
Scenes from the documentary film Clifton Chenier - The King of Zydeco produced and directed by Chris Strachwitz..

Example #5: Clifton Chenier - Jambalaya

FredCDobbs00 Uploaded on Jul 4, 2011

From the King of Zydeco album. Recorded live at the Montreaux jazz festival, Switzerland

Example #6: Clifton Chenier - Louisiana Blues

montella111, Uploaded on Aug 24, 2011


C'est pas la peine brailler
Oh moi j'suis gone
C'est pas la peine brailler, 'tite fille
Oh oh moi j'suis gone
J'ai donné tout mon argent
Tu prends mon argent là t'es gone

Tous les jours je parle les mêmes choses
Oh et moi je te dit,
Tous les jours je parle les mêmes choses
Tu connais moi j'te l'aime,
Quo' faire tu fais les choses tu fais?

Hey toi, Hey toi!

Tous les jours je parle les mêmes choses
Tous les jours je parle les mêmes choses
Moi j'te l'aime, avec tout mon Coeur

Google Translate's English translation of this song from French:

Oh me J'suis gone
It is not worth bawling, lil girl
Oh oh I J'suis gone
I gave all my money
You take my money there you're gone

Every day I speak the same things
Oh and I told you,
Every day I speak the same things
You know I love j'te,
Quo 'make you do things you do?

Hey you, Hey you!

Every day I speak the same things
Every day I speak the same things
J'te I love with all my heart

Example #7: I'm Comin Home - Clifton Chenier (Live 1973)

Eric Cajundelyon, Published on Jul 9, 2012

The King of Zydeco on this classic Blues song also called "Bring It On Home" covered by so many bands and also by Gene Vincent, another King. (isn't it ?) Enjoy !!!

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