Friday, July 13, 2012

Clifton Chenier: Frog Legs

Due to a number of reasons, I missed TV Thursday this week, although I did have a New Orleans’ related song picked. It was going to take more research in the short amount of time that I had allocated on Thursday, so I decided to pass rather than do a less than reasonable job on the post. Since it is Friday Flipside, I thought I’d bring a Louisiana “B” side to the table of Cajun delights.

The style of music is Zydeco and is popular in Bayou Country. The undisputed king of the genre was an accordion virtuoso named Clifton Chenier. He fronted a Zydeco band along with his brother Cleveland who played the frottoir – a washboard like instrument that is worn as a vest. It is said that Clifton invented the instrument.

The instrumental “Frog Legs” was the “B” side to Chenier’s 1969 regional hit “Black Gal.” While I didn’t have any frog legs this week in New Orleans, I did have them once in Atlanta in 1982. They didn’t taste like chicken to me and the texture was a bit strange. I imagine it is an acquired taste that this northern born boy probably won’t develop anytime soon; however, I do like most Cajun and Southern fare.

Since Clifton’s death in 1987, his son C.J. Chenier has continued in his father’s tradition. I love Zydeco and it is style of music that is heard seldom outside of the region, but if you look hard, you’ll find Zydeco bands all over the US. Bon Temps, y'all.

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