RIP Stanley Dural, Jr., leader of Buckwheat Zydeco - WXPN | Vinyl At Heart
Buckwheat Zydeco performing for the Zydeco Crossroads documentary at El Sido’s in Lafayette, Louisiana.

We’re saddened to hear about the passing of Zydeco music legend Stanley “Buckwheat” Dural, Jr.—leader of the band Buckwheat Zydeco. Alligator Records announced that he passed away from lung cancer at Our Lady of Lourdes Regional Medical Center in Lafayette, Louisiana.  He was 68.

The Grammy and Emmy winning artist was the preeminent international leader and symbol of Louisiana’s zydeco music. He was born in Lafayette, Louisiana on November 14, 1947. According to Alligator Records:

He acquired his nickname because, with his braided hair, he looked like Buckwheat from The Little Rascals. His father was an accomplished, non-professional traditional Creole accordion player, but young Buckwheat preferred listening to and playing R&B. He became proficient at the organ, and by the late 1950s was backing Joe Tex, Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown and many other s. In 1971, he formed Buckwheat and The Hitchhikers, a 15-piece funk and soul band. They were a local sensation and found success with the single, “It’s Hard To Get,” recorded for a local Louisiana-based label. Never a traditional zydeco fan when growing up, Buckwheat nonetheless accepted an invitation in 1976 to join Clifton Chenier’s Red Hot Louisiana Band as organist. He quickly discovered the joy and power of zydeco music, and marveled at the effect the music had on the audience. “Everywhere, people young and old just loved zydeco music,” Buckwheat said. “I had so much fun playing that first night with Clifton. We played for four hours and I wasn’t ready to quit.” Buckwheat’s relationship with the legendary Chenier led him to take up the accordion in 1978.

Dural recorded for several labels including Rounder Records, Alligator, and his own Tomorrow Records, however it was his signing and recordings for Island Records that brought him to international fame in the 80s and 90s.

WXPN was privileged to have Buckwheat Zydeco perform at the XPoNential Music Festival in July, 2015. He also was featured in the Robert Mugge documentary, Zydeco Crossroads made for WXPN’s Zydeco Crossroads project filmed mostly in Lafayette, Louisiana.

Below, watch two songs that Buckwheat Zydeco performed at the XPoNential Music Festival via VuHaus.

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