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I started a quest to find terrific blues music and incredible musicianship when I was just a little kid. I also have a tremendous appreciation of fine musical instruments and equipment. One of my greatest joys all of my life was sharing my finds with my friends. I'm now publishing my journey. I hope that you come along!

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Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Buckwheat Zydeco launching the first ever zydeco reality show, with Buckwheat's World Co-authored by Ted Fox

Co-authored by Ted Fox
I'm 66 years old, and I've been making music my whole life. I always knew that would be the way I'd make my living. I'm still doing that, but things have sure changed! I've seen it all and been involved in it all from making local records to now creating a YouTube series, Buckwheat's World, to get my music out there.
When I was just nine years old they used to sneak me in the back door of clubs in Lafayette, Louisiana so I could get up on stage and play the Hammond B3 with whoever was headlining. By the time I was a young teenager I was in Sammy and the Untouchables, and we backed up many of my heroes like Ray Charles and Fats Domino. In my twenties I put together a big 15-piece funk outfit with a five girl chorus called Buckwheat and Hitchhikers and we played all over the South. In the mid '70s I joined the King of Zydeco, Clifton Chenier, playing the B3 -- and he showed me what zydeco music was all about. After that I taught myself to play accordion and sing lead, and I went out on my own with Buckwheat Zydeco in 1979.

At first I never thought I'd get to make a record. I jumped at the first chance to do that and got involved in some early situations I regret to this day. Some better deals came along, and in 1987 I signed on with Chris Blackwell at Island Records and made "On A Night Like This" with Ted Fox -- the first-ever major label zydeco album. We made four albums for Island in the late 80s and early 90s, and with their great reach and promotion we all did well at a great time for the record business.

Then Island, and it seemed like every other cool label, got gobbled up by some big corporation and then another big corporation. We bounced around like lots of other artists to other labels which were there and then they weren't. This was not a good scene: Music and the careers of musicians need to be tended to like growing crops; you have to pay attention, be patient, keep working on them and help them thrive.
Ted, who is also my manager, and I got pretty fed up with this, and I told him, "we can do bad on our own!" So, like some other artists at the time, we started our own record label. We called it Tomorrow Recordings named after my daughter, Tomorrow, but also because we felt it was the way of the future. That started out well, but then we, like the whole industry, fell into some giant sinkhole that it seemed no one saw coming.

I'll let someone else much smarter than me try to explain what happened to the music business when the internet started booming. All I know is that not many people seemed to want to buy music any more. Luckily, we've always had a great touring career, and playing live is still where it's at for us, as it is for most artists these days.
We adapted and sold digital music, and we still do of course, but it's a drop in the bucket. We even went back to make a record with Alligator, one of the best blues labels, and "Lay Your Burden Down" won a Grammy. Critics dug it, but not enough records sold.
We bitched and moaned about how difficult things were, but baby, you can't beat The Wheat! We saw that everyone was going to YouTube to find, listen to and watch music. All our old Island music videos were there, people were posting videos of us playing at festivals and clubs. It took some getting used to, because that's our stuff, and it seemed wrong that people were using it. Then we began to see how cool it was that we had so many fans and music lovers who wanted to see us and share their experiences with their friends and the world. That's not bad, that's great! I always say "don't criticize what you don't understand."

Ted said to me, "we should do our own video series and we'll start the Buckwheat Channel on YouTube." So that's what we're doing! If people want to get their music from YouTube that's where we want to be. Our Buckwheat's World series will show people how we do it: filming and recording our music live at one of our favorite places, Dockside Studio, on the Vermilion River bayou back home. Our pals, Louis Alvarez and Andy Kolker, award-winning film makers, are going to shoot it, and also follow me around a bit so our fans can get a better idea about what my world is all about.
We hope people want Buckwheat's World, just like we hoped people would like and buy our records. Only now we're doing it through a Kickstarter campaign, and if people like it and want it, they'll back us. You've got to go along to get along, I always say! We'll see what happens.
Buckwheat Zydeco (a.k.a. Stanley "Buckwheat" Dural, Jr.) has been spreading the word about zydeco music and his Louisiana heritage all over the world for more than 30 years. He recently opened the final Late Night With Jimmy Fallon. Buckwheat Zydeco tours frequently throughout the year, and they have just launched a Kickstarter campaign for "Buckwheat's World" - a unique YouTube video series.

Kickstarter Campaign Launched to Fund Project, Ends March 31

Buckwheat Zydeco has always been at the forefront of introducing zydeco music to new audiences: The Louisiana icon and musical legend was the first zydeco artist with a major label record deal, the first on a national television show, the first to work with rock superstars, the first with music in a national television commercial. Now he aims to be the first to create and present an online video series with zydeco at the center.

Stanley “Buckwheat” Dural, Jr. and long-time collaborator, Ted Fox, will create a YouTube video series called Buckwheat’s World, and just launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund it.

Buckwheat’s World will be a fresh new way to showcase Buckwheat Zydeco’s music and present a behind-the-scenes look at the richness and enchanting character of southwest Louisiana culture. In addition to new, live musical performances from the band, Buckwheat’s World episodes will feature slice-of-life scenes of Dural doing what he does every day. He might be working on one of his vehicles, tending his menagerie of animals, boiling crawfish, hanging out with friends and band mates, fishing on the bayou, taking care of Buckwheat Zydeco business. All the things that make up Buckwheat’s World will be shot and directed by Louis Alvarez and Andrew Kolker, celebrated documentary filmmakers who got their start in Louisiana with such classics as “Yeah You Rite!” and “Louisiana Boys—Raised on Politics”.

They’ve won two Peabody Awards and kept audiences laughing and thinking with such films as “American Tongues”, “Vote for Me” and “People Like Us." Their latest film “Getting Back to Abnormal," about New Orleans politics, will be on the POV series on PBS July 14.

Kickstarter has been very supportive of the project. It just made Buckwheat’s World its “Project of the Day,” and it has been a Music Staff Pick. The campaign is ongoing and ends on March 31.

Buckwheat Zydeco also started a new side career as a blogger for the Huffington Post. His first post called, “Mardi Gras Is The Flip Side of the Blues,” posted recently.
Jazz and Heritage Gala If you support live Blues acts, up and coming Blues talents and want to learn more about Blues news and Fathers of the Blues, Like ---Bman’s Blues Report--- Facebook Page! I’m looking for great talent and trying to grow the audience for your favorites band! ”LIKE”

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