Way Down in Louisiana: Clifton Chenier, Cajun, Zydeco and Swamp Pop Music
University of Louisiana at Lafayette
Just released is Todd Mouton's excellent new book on Louisiana Music "Way Down in Louisiana." The book is centered on the great Clifton Chenier, but in addition to Mouton's biography of the great zydeco legend, he weaves in portraits on a number of Louisiana acts including Chenier alumni Buckwheat Zydeco, Sonny Landreth, and Lil, Buck Sinegal along with other acts, many who have been touched in some way by Chenier's influence including Beausoleil avec Michael Doucet, Filé, Steve Riley & the Mamou Playboys; Zachary Richard, Couteau, Lil Band O' Gold, Bonsoir Catin, and Roddie Romero & the Hub City All-Stars. Many of the portraits appear to have been previously published (likely in "OffBeat"), but have been updated from original publication. It is the four chapters devoted to Chenier that make this book essential as Mouton traces his life and his music's evolution along with his many extensive recordings with recollections of Buckwheat Zydeco, Chris Strachwitz, Lil Buck, Landreth, son C.J. Chenier, the late John Hart and others helping flesh out this gentleman who saxophonist and visual artist Dickie Landry recalled first hearing Chenier and thinking it "sounded like surf music from Jupiter." In addition to Mouton's narrative, this book is wonderfully illustrated with photos (many rare) and album covers and includes recommended listening for each chapter. Anybody who has listened to Chenier's music or some of the artists will love this book.
Released at the same time as this volume is a documentary DVD produced by Carl Colby, "Clifton
I was a supporter of the Kickstarter campaign to help get the book published and received the DVD in addition as a premium. Information on this book and the DVD is available on the website, http://waydowninlouisiana.com/. The DVD cover on the website differs from the one I received (the cover above). Not only is there links to buy the book and DVD, but there is a free downloadable sample and a performance from the DVD which I have also included below.