Clifton Chenier (1928-1987) may not have invented Zydeco (or "Zodico," as it's sometimes spelled), an accordion-driven, blues-drenched variant of Cajun music, but he almost single-handedly defined the style as we know it today. Compiled and annotated by British researcher Ray Topping, this compact disc of Chenier's mid-Fifties Specialty sessions--the ones that first helped to bring him attention beyond the bayous--brings together his three singles for the label, two cuts from his Specialty LP, and a dozen previously unissued takes, presented for the first time in their raw, rollicking glory, without overdubs or edits, the way the King Zydeco laid them down nearly four decades ago.
ZODICO BLUES & BOOGIE includes 12 previously unreleased alternate takes.
Personnel: Clifton Chenier (vocals, accordion); Phillip Walker, Lonesome Sundown (guitar); Lionel Prevo (tenor saxophone); James K. Jones (piano); Louis Candy (bass); Wilton Siemen (drums); Cleveland Chenier (scrub board).
Principally recorded at Master Recorders and Ted Brinson's Studio, Los Angeles, California between April and September 9, 1955. Includes liner
notes by Ray Topping.
Digitally remastered by Kirk Felton (1993, Fantasy Studios, Berkeley, California).
Personnel: Clifton Chenier (vocals, accordion); Cornelius Green, Phillip Walker (guitar); Lionel Prevo (tenor saxophone); James K. Jones (piano); Wilton Siemen (drums); Cleveland Chenier (washboard).
Liner Note Author: Ray Topping.
Recording information: Masters Recorders, Los Angeles, CA (04/1955-09/1955); Ted Brinson's Studio (04/1955-09/1955).
Unknown Contributor Role: Cleveland Chenier.
This set was assembled in 1992, five years after the death of Clifton Chenier, the proclaimed King of Zydeco and the man most responsible for the spread of the music's popularity. The twenty tracks date from 1955 and are some of his earliest national recordings. These were all recorded for the Los Angeles-based Specialty label, and came after previous records on regional based outfits in his Bayou homeland of Louisiana and Gulf Coast Texas. It's easy to see why there was interest in presenting him to a wider audience, as these largely blues-based songs are both invitingly friendly and irresistibly danceable. His band was well seasoned from constant road work and the recordings capture the warm and intuitive interplay. rhythmically dynamic, one of their secret weapons was the scrub board playing of Clifton's brother Cleveland.