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Music

Buckwheat Zydeco On Mountain Stage

Buckwheat Zydeco performs on <em>Mountain Stage</em>.
Buckwheat Zydeco performs on <em>Mountain Stage</em>.

Born Stanley Dural, Jr. (1947-2016), the artist known as Buckwheat Zydeco cut his musical teeth in the 1970s performing as an organist with zydeco pioneer Clifton Chenier. Dural would spend the next 40 years furthering the gospel of that good time music, as one of the world's best-known purveyors of the washboard-raking, foot-stomping, accordion-driving party.

Shortly after Dural notched up the first major label zydeco album (the 1987 Island Records' recording On A Night Like This), he began making a regular trek to Mountain Stage to share his joy of home with the world. This treasured Mountain Stage archive set — recorded live at West Virginia's Culture Center Theater, and just a year before he passed away — features Buckwheat Zydeco revved up and at his finest.

"He has played with everybody you can imagine from Eric Clapton and U2 to Paul Simon and the Boston Pops," said Mountain Stage musical director and host Larry Groce introducing Dural , who chalked up the world's three best-selling zydeco records. "His last record, Lay Your Burden Down, won a Grammy Award. ... Welcome back to the Mountain Stage, the man who always brings the party with him."

Fully charged up, Dural let the audience know that listening to zydeco is not a sit-down, spectator sport and that he and the band were ready to play with them and not for them.

Dural, who performed at the 1996 Summer Olympics and at former President Clinton's inauguration festivities, kept his foot on the pedal of the zydeco bus during "Goin' To Lafayette," a zesty, street gumbo blend of contemporary funk, R&B and Cajun goodness.

The artist's R&B roots really come shining through on the horns and harmony-rich "Jackpot," the title cut of his 2005 album, that provoked a full-on crowd sing-a-long. "You know I always been lucky – I really hit the jackpot with you," the crowd sang as Dural gave his approval, "How sweet it is. One more time. Good God almighty, somebody got lucky."

Towards the end of the performance, Dural led the crowd (now fully on board as his hand-clappers and back-up singers) through the good vibes of "Peace, Love and Happiness," his message-rich reggae original he played on the Hammond B-3 organ.

"This song is mandatory for Buckwheat Zydeco — no matter where we are nationally or internationally," said Dural. "So, this song here is a song of a little peace, love and happiness, that is what we need on this planet."

This Mountain Stage performance was originally published May 11, 2015.

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