Stanley Dural Jr. has died in Lafayette, La. Stanley was a 68 year old victim of lung cancer. An article in today’s KC Star chronicled the life and death of Stanley, offering a tribute to this tremendously talented man from the cajun country he vividly portrayed in the music he made. You may or may not know anything about Stanley, who was known simply as Buckwheat Zydeco by his innumerable fans, but it is worth noting that he was a part of the fabric of America.
Buckwheat, a name he preferred to his given name, began his musical career as an organist, however; he loved to listen to the accordion music so prevalent in his “neck of the woods”. So the transformation began and he went on to fame forming a band playing the catchy music we know simply as zydeco…..another name for the accordion. Folks, he could tear up the zydeco. His talent was such that he appeared with the likes of Eric Clapton, Dwight Yoakum, Willie Nelson and Paul Simon. He succeeded in a venue that is of passing interest to most folks who prefer one of the more traditional genres of music, such as country, classical or rock. Zydeco may not have the broad appeal of traditional music…..but it’s appeal to those who enjoy it’s grin evoking rhythm is strong.
Zydeco music evolves from the black French Creole segment of the Louisiana low country. It gets it’s name from a French phrase, “Les haricots sont pas sales” which translates into “the snap beans aren’t salty”. The phrase, to a cajun, literally means “times are hard”. Enough of the history……the beauty of this music is in the way it frees your mind, replacing the cares and concerns of living with an upbeat, foot stomping, all is well, to hell with the trouble in your life sort of feeling. It is best enjoyed with a plate of freshly steamed crawfish and plenty of cold beer. A bowl of black beans and rice or jambalaya may be added or substituted. A zydeco band will likely involve horns, a washboard, fiddles and perhaps a keyboard to back the accordion……a combination of rhythm and blues that courses through you as you rock back and absorb the pulse. Good stuff, trust me.
As I write this, a motorcycle ride to the heart of cajun country is entering my mind. It is too late to listen to the mastery of Buckwheat Zydeco, but there are other bands in the low country who can pound out the beat. A heaping mound of crawfish sounds pretty good too…..
Thanks Buckwheat…….for being a part of the fabric of America.