Clifton CHENIER 1969-70

Clifton Chenier (June 25, 1925 - December 12, 1987) a Creole French speaking native of Opelousas, Louisiana, began his career in 1954, when he signed with Elko Records and released "Clifton's Blues", a regional hit. His first hit was soon followed by "Ay 'Tite Fille (Hey, Little Girl)" (cover of Professor Longhair), which received some mainstream success. With the Zydeco Ramblers, Chenier toured extensively and soon signed to Chicago's Chess Records, followed by Arhoolie.

Chenier reached a wide audience when he appeared on the premier full season of the PBS music television program Austin City Limits in 1976, and returned for a followup episode in 1979 with his Red Hot Louisiana Band. His popularity peaked in the 1980s, when he won a Grammy Award for his 1982 album, I'm Here, the first ever Grammy for his new label, Alligator Records. Chenier was the second Creole to win a Grammy (after Queen Ida).
Chenier is also credited with redesigning the wood and crimped tin washboard into the frottoir, an instrument that would easily hang from the shoulders. Cleveland Chenier, Clifton's older brother, also played in the Red Hot Louisiana Band and would find equal popularity for his ability to manipulate the distinctive sound of the washboard by rubbing several bottle openers (held in each hand) along its ridges.

Chenier died in 1987 and was buried in All Souls Cemetery in Loreauville, Iberia Parish. Fortunately since 1987 his son Clayton Joseph Thompson, performing as C. J. Chenier, is carrying on in the Zydeco tradition touring with his father's band and recording quality album releases.

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