- Released: June 23, 2003
- Label: Arhoolie Records
- 1.Je Me Reveiller Le Matin (I Woke Up This Morning)3
- 2.I'm Coming Home (To See My Mother)
- 3.Ay, Ai, Ai
- 4.Brown Skin Woman (Who Can Your Good Man Be)
- 5.Hot Rod
- 6.It's Hard
- 7.All Your Love
- 8.Party Down (At The Blue Angel Club)
- 9.Why Did You Go Last Night
- 10.Ma Mama Ma Dit (My Mama Told Me)
- 11.Zydeco Cha Cha
- 12.Bon Ton Roulet
- 13.Black Gal
- 14.Johnny Can't Dance
- 15.I'm On The Wonder
- 16.Zydeco Sont Pas Sale (Snap Beans Ain't Salty) - (previously unreleased, alternate take)
- 17.Ain't No Need Of Cryiny (Every Day Is The Same) - (Louisiana Blues)
- 18.Interview With Clifton Chenier Over Radio Station KPFA - (Berkeley, CA 1978)
Personnel: Clifton Chenier (vocals, accordion); Paul Senagal (guitar); John Hart (tenor saxophone); Elmore Nixon (piano); Joe Brouchet (bass); Robert Peter (drums).
Recorded between 1964 & 1983. Includes liner notes by Chris Strachwitz.
Personnel: Clifton Chenier (vocals, accordion); Elmore Nixon (vocals, piano); Bob Murphy (vocals, drums); Elvin Bishop, Antoine Victor, Felix Benit, Paul Senegal, Sherman Robertson, Cleveland Keyes, Ray Monette (guitar); Morris Chenier (fiddle); John Hart (saxophone, tenor saxophone); C.J. Chenier (alto saxophone); Warren Ceaser (trumpet); Stephen Miller (piano); St. Judy (drums); Cleveland Chenier (rub-board).
Liner Note Author: Chris Strachwitz.
Recording information: Bill Quinn's Gold Star Studios, Houston, TX (02/08/1964-??/??/1983); Grant Street In Lafayette, LA (02/08/1964-??/??/1983); Houston, TX (02/08/1964-??/??/1983); KPFA, Berkeley, CA (02/08/1964-??/??/1983); Long Beach Blues Festival, Long Beach, CA (02/08/1964-??/??/1983); St. Mark's Hall, Richmond, CA (02/08/1964-??/??/1983); Studio In The Country, Bogalusa, LA (02/08/1964-??/??/1983); Wally Heider Studios, San Francisco, CA (02/08/1964-??/??/1983).
Editor: Chris Strachwitz.
The origins of zydeco are traceable to one man: Clifton Chenier, who started blending Cajun music with blues and R&B back in the '50s. He recorded for the Arhoolie label over a nearly 30-year span, and The Best of Clifton Chenier is (yet another) collection of his music culled from his Arhoolie sides.
People familiar with the sound of contemporary zydeco may be surprised at how prevalent the blues influences are on some of these tunes. Tracks like "Brown Skin Woman," "It's Hard," and "Why Did You Go Last Night" are quite bluesy, while "Ay, Ai, Ai" sounds like what is called zydeco today (and it's the oldest cut on the set). Actually, this variation in style helps with the pacing of the album, providing some stylistic relief from the homogeneous zydeco of some latter-day bands. The inclusion of a previously unissued take of "Zydeco Sont Pas Sale" and a 15-minute interview conducted by Chris Strachwitz make this release of interest to Chenier fans, but it's also a good starting point for someone new to him or someone who wants to investigate the origins of zydeco in general. ~ Sean Westergaard