Sun Mar 09 2014 7:30 pm
Buckwheat Zydeco

Over the course of 30 years, Buckwheat Zydeco has gigged with everyone from Eric Clapton (with whom Buckwheat also recorded) and U2 to The Boston Pops. The band performed at the closing ceremonies of the 1996 Summer Olympics to a worldwide audience of three billion people. Buckwheat even performed for President Clinton twice, celebrating both of his inaugurations. The band has appeared on The Late Show With David Letterman, CNN, The Today Show, MTV, NBC News, CBS Morning News and many others. 

Stanley “Buckwheat” Dural, Jr. was born in Lafayette, Louisiana in 1947. He acquired his nickname because, with his braided hair, he looked like Buckwheat from The Little Rascals. His father was an accomplished, non-professional traditional Creole accordion player, but young Buckwheat preferred listening to and playing R&B. He became proficient at the organ, and by the late 1950s was backing Joe Tex, Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown and many others. In 1971 he formed Buckwheat and The Hitchhikers, a 15-piece funk and soul band. They were a local sensation and found success with the single, “It’s Hard To Get,” recorded for a local Louisiana-based label. Never a traditional zydeco fan when growing up, Buckwheat nonetheless accepted an invitation in 1976 to join Clifton Chenier’s Red Hot Louisiana Band as organist. He quickly discovered the joy and power of zydeco music, and marveled at the effect the music had on the audience. “Everywhere, people young and old just loved zydeco music,” Buckwheat says. “I had so much fun playing that first night with Clifton. We played for four hours and I wasn’t ready to quit.” 

Buckwheat’s relationship with the legendary Chenier led him to take up the accordion in 1978. After woodshedding for a year, he felt ready to start his own band under the name Buckwheat Zydeco, and began his recording career with the small Blues Unlimited label. By the mid-1980s there were more offers to perform than he could possibly accept. Recordings for Black Top and Rounder followed before Buckwheat befriended New York-based journalist Ted Fox, who championed Buckwheat to Chris Blackwell at Island Records in 1986. Buckwheat Zydeco signed a five-record deal and Fox became and still remains his manager. The success of these records kept Buckwheat Zydeco on the road and in constant demand. 

In 1988, Eric Clapton invited the band to open his North American tour as well as his 12-night stand at London’s Royal Albert Hall. As even more doors opened, Buckwheat found himself sharing stages and/or recording with Keith Richards, Robert Plant, Willie Nelson, Mavis Staples, David Hidalgo, Dwight Yoakam, Paul Simon, Ry Cooder and many others, including indie music stalwarts Yo La Tengo on the soundtrack to the Bob Dylan bio-pic, I’m Not There. His music has been featured in films ranging from The Waterboy, The Big Easy, Fletch Lives and Hard Target to name a few. BET’s #1-rated show, Comic View, used his live version of What You Gonna Do? as theme music for the program’s 10th anniversary “Pardi Gras” season. He even wrote and performed the theme music for the PBS television series Pierre Franey’s Cooking In America. Buckwheat won an Emmy for his music in the CBS TV movie, Pistol Pete: The Life And Times Of Pete Maravich. Buckwheat Zydeco has played just about every major music festival in the world, including the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival (numerous times), Newport Folk Festival, Summerfest, San Diego Street Scene, Bumbershoot, Montreaux Jazz Festival and countless others.