The undisputed "King of Zydeco," Clifton Chenier was the first Creole to be presented a Grammy award on national television. Blending the French and Cajun 2-steps and waltzes of southwest Louisiana with New Orleans R&B, Texas blues, and big-band jazz, Chenier created the modern, dance-inspiring, sounds of zydeco.
Lay Your Burden Down is a studio album by Buckwheat Zydeco, released in 2009 through Alligator Records. The album ranked number five on Billboards Top Blues Albums. In 2010, the album earned Buckwheat Zydeco the Grammy Award for Best Zydeco or Cajun Music Album.
Clifton Chenier was to zydeco what Elvis Presley was to rockabilly, only more so — the genre's founding father and tireless ambassador. Rhino has done an admirable job of collecting the accordionist's important work for this two-disc, 40-track set, harking back to a wonderfully chaotic "Louisiana Stomp" that he waxed in Lake Charles, Louisiana in 1954 for J.R. Fullbright's tiny Elko label. Whether you're in the market for one zydeco collection to summarize the entire genre or ready to delve deeply into the legacy of the idiom's pioneer, this is precisely where to begin.
This is music from the Saturday night dances in Louisiana; the hot and sweaty have a good time dancing, drinking, and looking at all the people. Do not look for the Royal Albert Hall production on this CD, as on his stunning South of I-10 with its myriad "guest artists." The feel for this music is shown by someone who grew up with it. Listen to the respect and feeling he gives to Clifton Chenier's "If I Ever Get Lucky." Try to keep your body and feet from bouncing to the beat of "Sugar Cane" or "Little Linda." Doesn't your eye start to look around for a dance partner, even though you're in your living room? There is solid playing throughout this CD even though the sound is a bit thin at times and the big-name guests are nowhere to be found. It is a solid effort that spans the musical boundaries of all of Louisiana. Cajun, zydeco, blues, and country are all blended together so they are no longer confining, but a homogenous mix. A solid effort.