Rock's Backpages Library Rock's Backpages
the online library of pop writing

Clifton Chenier: Live at the San Francisco Blues Festival

Don Snowden, The Boston Phoenix, 19 November 1985

ZYDECO, the musical marriage of Louisiana's indigenous Cajun and Southern R&B traditions, first crawled out from the bayous and oil derricks of southwestern Louisiana 30 years ago, with the black-chart success of Chiftin Chenier's 'Aye Tete Fille'. Chenier has ruled the zydeco kingdom as a private fiefdom since then, rebuffing all challengers to the Imperial Margarine-style crown he sports at performances. And Live at the San Francisco Blues Festival captures the Tabasco-fueled power and finesse of his Red Hot Louisiana Band at its peak. It's an accidental album, really taped three years ago by a sound man who set up a couple of mikes near the mixing booth at the outdoor festival and came up with a surprisingly clear crisp mix. Live is an aural documentary, an unadulterated, unretouched portrait of a Clifton Chenier performance complete with between-song pauses and stage patter ("Where we come from the crawfish got soul and the alligators sing the blues").

Total word count of piece: 417


Becoming a member is easy. Membership gives you access to all the thousands of articles in the library.

Click here to go to Subscribe page.

Click here for academic and other group subscriptions.