Zydeco veteran and the most popular accordionist of all time (after Weird Al, of course), Buckwheat Zydeco may not sell the records he did back in the Big Easy days of the late '80s, but he and his hot-footed band continue to be a major-league live attraction.
Born Stanley Dural in Lafayette, Louisiana, in 1947, Buckwheat -- nicknamed for his braided hair as a child -- cut his teeth as a backing keyboardist for Joe Tex and Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown before forming a 16-piece funk band called Buckwheat & the Hitchhikers in the early '70s. In 1976, Dural began touring as an organist for Clifton Chenier. Dural picked up the accordion, and Chenier, the very king of zydeco, became his teacher. Not long after, Buckwheat Zydeco was born.
After splitting off from Chenier, Zydeco began adding elements of rock and R&B to his take on the folk form he's named after, quickly garnering Grammy nominations for the albums Waitin' for My Ya Ya and On a Night Like This. He continued to record after the zydeco/Tex-Mex/Cajun fad of the late '80s faded, but it's really never been about records for Zydeco. This is sweaty, vibrant music best experienced live, with spicy food in your stomach and rivers of cold beer swilling down your gullet.