Buckwheat Zydeco

On this day in 1947, Stanley Dural Jr. was born in Lafayette, La. As Buckwheat Zydeco,

the accordion/piano/organ player is one of the principal figures in the zydeco genre.

Dural has played keyboards since he was 9 years old. Nicknamed after the character

Buckwheat of "The Little Rascals," he stuck with the moniker while recognizing its racist


Buckwheat began playing piano in bands that gigged around southeastern Louisiana.

During the '60s, he worked with such R&B singers as Joe Tex, Barbara Lynn and

Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown. In 1971, he began his own group, Buckwheat and the

Hitchhikers. During the mid-'70s, he worked with zydeco-giant Clifton Chenier;

Buckwheat's time with Chenier gave him a new appreciation of his musical heritage. At

this point, he began playing the accordion and concentrating on zydeco music.

In 1979, Buckwheat formed Ils Sont Partis, with whom he played on eight albums. He

signed with Island Records in 1987. One of his best-known LPs is the

Grammy-nominated On a Night Like This (1987), which includes his cover of Bob

Dylan's title track as well as songs done earlier by the Blasters and Booker T. and the


Also in the '80s, Buckwheat toured with Eric Clapton (a guest on Buckwheat's 1988

Taking It Home), U2 and Robert Cray. He also appeared on Keith Richards'

Talk Is Cheap album and contributed tracks to the soundtracks of the films "The

Big Easy" and "Casual Sex?"

His album Where There's Smoke There's Fire (1990) was produced by Los

Lobos' David Hidalgo. In this decade, Buckwheat has often been vocal about the lack of

radio exposure of zydeco music. He feels the popularity of the white "Cajun" music and

the relative obscurity of zydeco are a result of racism.

He released a children's LP, Choo Choo Boogaloo (1994), featuring such tunes

as "Iko Iko," and Five Card Stud, which included such tracks as


"What You Gonna Do?" (RealAudio excerpt) and "Man With the Blues,"

produced by Los Lobos' Steve Berlin.

In 1996, Buckwheat performed "Jambalaya" during the closing ceremonies of the

Summer Olympics in Atlanta. Last year, he released Trouble on Mesa/Atlantic

Records. Also in 1997, Buckwheat and his band played at President Clinton's second


Other birthdays: Freddie Garrity (Freddie and the Dreamers), 58; James Young (Styx),

49; Frankie Banali (Quiet Riot), 45; Alec John Such (ex-Bon Jovi), 42; Joseph "Run"

Simmons (Run-D.M.C.), 34; and Cornelius Gunter (Coasters), 1938-1990.