with the Deacon Blues Band
Variety Playhouse, Atlanta, GA • June 15, 1999
Roi J. Tamkin
One of the happiest concerts I’ve seen in a while passed through Atlanta recently. Buckwheat Zydeco played the Variety Playhouse and filled the theatre with upbeat, swinging Creole tunes. Out to promote his twenty years as a zydeco musician, Stanley “Buckwheat” Dural, Jr. brought in a mixed crowd of young, old, yuppie and slacker.
The Deacon Blues Band opened the show. They are a loose collective of musicians dedicated to preserving, performing, and perpetuating the blues. As Mr. Deacon Blues stated, they are taking blues into the next millennium. Their set consisted of blues classics like “Little Red Rooster” and CCR’s “Born on the Bayou.” An appropriate song for the night’s featured artist. Their rendition of classic blues had one couple dancing in the aisles. As I looked to the dance floor, I had to wipe a single tear as I spotted one couple slow dancing to the light of their indigo-glow cell phones.
As the roadies cleared the stage for Buckwheat, the seats emptied out and people took to the dance floor, ready to be uplifted by the Cajun sounds of Zydeco.
Ils sont partis! Buckwheat’s band played a few instrumentals before the trumpeter encouraged the audience to chant “Buckwheat!” in order to bring the man himself on stage. He entered all smiles. The James Brown of Louisiana zydeco strapped on his accordion, got the old squeezebox juiced up, and never looked back. It was non-stop heel-kicking, date-twirling music with a set spanning all of zydeco history. Almost the entire theatre was on the dance floor, spinning and swinging to that ever-happy music. Buckwheat’s rendition of “Marie, Marie” had the youngest to the oldest stepping to a zydeco dance.
Et toi! By the second hour, Buckwheat had exhausted his horn section. The two trumpeters and lone saxophonist were awash in sweat and barely able to hold their own. Knees were giving out. They were practically leaning on each other to stand straight. I looked over and Buckwheat’s pumping his accordion and sashaying on the stage with the energy of a rambunctious five-year-old.
Faites Attention! Then Buckwheat brought out a special guest. Gospel singer Curtis Watson came on stage to sing a powerful “This Train is Bound for Glory” with Buckwheat and band as backup. And just when you thought the show was over, Buckwheat encored with “Sitting in my La-La Waiting for my Ya-Ya” getting everyone in the house to sing along. As it approached midnight, everyone was just plain wore out. Thank goodness the house lights came on before he got his second wind. And as Buckwheat shook hands with the audience, it occurred to me, Zydeco, the blues, Gospel – call it what you will, it’s all c’est bon!
Check out his happy web site at http://www.buckwheatzydeco.com.