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88Nine Radio Milwaukee

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Zydeco Week! Let The Good Times Roll

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Clarence Garlow "Bon Ton Roula"

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This week, the Mardi Gras Moments is all about a unique form of American roots music known as zydeco. It evolved in Louisiana and comes most directly from creole music however its influences are many; French and Celtic fiddles, German accordion and Latin Caribbean rhythms all have a place in zydeco. As do the blues, and more specifically rhythm & blues in this style that also claims Haitian roots; a real melange of music that really could have only happened in Louisiana.

Zydeco may have many influences, but it does have a singularity in terms of its recorded music history. Our start to zydeco week is with the first zydeco recording by one of zydeco's early pioneers-- Clarence Garlow. garlow was good on a few instruments; fiddle, accordion and guitar were well within his skill. Matter-of-fact, his guitar work was a big influence on T-Bone Walker. It was his rhythm & blues laced, rhumba fortified "Bon Ton Roula" that he introduced America to Cajun music giving him some amount of paternity to the sound we call zydeco.