A Drunken Poet's Dream

Way Down in Louisiana: Clifton Chenier, Cajun, Zydeco, and Swamp Pop Music

South Louisiana stew with a side of accordion

A Drunken Poet's Dream

South Louisiana's bayous and prairies are home to French-speaking Cajuns and black Creoles whose culture and accordion music remain utterly unique. Writer/producer Todd Mouton serves up a comprehensive, if somewhat dated, survey of the major figures in the scene over the past several decades. Although virtually all the segments were written 15-20 years ago with brief, up-to-date postscripts tagged on, his chapters on Stanley "Buckwheat" Dural, Sonny Landreth, Beausoleil, Filé, Steve Riley, Zachary Richard, Lil' Buck Sinegal, and more cover the breadth of the state's native traditions. The centerpiece, literally, stacks up 100-plus pages on Clifton Chenier, who, along with his Red Hot Louisiana Band, brought deeply soulful, hard-rockin' zydeco from the bayou to Carnegie Hall and beyond. Blending traditional French accordion music with blues and R&B, Chenier (1925-87) forged an irresistible modern sound that birthed a renaissance in Louisiana music.


Way Down in Louisiana: Clifton Chenier, Cajun, Zydeco, and Swamp Pop Music

by Todd Mouton
University of Louisiana at Lafayette Press, 312 pp., $24.95 (paper)

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
More Clifton Chenier
Day Trips
Day Trips
Take the Texas music heritage tour and learn more about Texas' homegrown talent, such as Bob Wills, Buddy Holly, and more

Gerald E. McLeod, March 10, 2006

Audio Snapshots
Audio Snapshots
Arhoolie Records Marks 40 Years of Groundbreaking Musical Archeology, From Texas and Beyond

Mike Quinn, Dec. 15, 2000

More Music Reviews
<i>Me & Mr. Cigar</i>
Me & Mr. Cigar
Butthole Surfers singer Gibby Haynes debuts a deeply weird and wonderful young adult novel.

Alyssa Quiles, Feb. 21, 2020

Revenge of the She-Punks
Revenge of the She-Punks

Rachel Rascoe, Dec. 6, 2019

More by Jay Trachtenberg
New Austin Music Worth Your Bandwidth This Week
New Austin Music Worth Your Bandwidth This Week
What we’re listening to

April 16, 2021

Top Books of 2020 That Struck a Literary or Musical Chord
Top Books of 2020 That Struck a Literary or Musical Chord
A writer's fictional joyride, a rock & roll memoir, and jazz fairy tales are books that sang this year

Dec. 18, 2020

KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

Clifton Chenier, Gift Guide 2015

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle