Buckwheat Zydeco's Stanley 'Buckwheat' Dural Jr. Dies At 68 : The Record The international ambassador for Louisiana roots music died early Saturday morning of lung cancer.
NPR logo

Buckwheat Zydeco's Stanley 'Buckwheat' Dural Jr. Dies At 68

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/495313055/495523399" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript
Buckwheat Zydeco's Stanley 'Buckwheat' Dural Jr. Dies At 68

Buckwheat Zydeco's Stanley 'Buckwheat' Dural Jr. Dies At 68

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/495313055/495523399" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Zydeco musician Stanley Dural Jr. has died. He was also known as Buckwheat.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

STANLEY DURAL JR: If you ready, can you say yeah? If you're feeling good, can you say hell yeah? Let's go and zydeco a little bit right here.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

SIEGEL: Dural brought a type of feel good party music that originated in southwest Louisiana to the rest of the world. NPR's Andrew Limbong has this remembrance.

ANDREW LIMBONG, BYLINE: Stanley Dural Jr. was a persuasive showman. He was the type of guy who would encourage folks to sing along even if they couldn't sing, to dance even if they didn't like dancing. He was also the type of guy who had his own nickname screwed onto his white accordion - Buckwheat, after the character on "Little Rascals."

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "WHAT YOU GONNA DO")

DURAL: (Singing) Now what you going to do, what you...

TED FOX: The thing about Buck is that he had this incredible charisma and charm that was absolutely genuine.

LIMBONG: That's Ted Fox, a friend and manager of Dural's for 30 years. The band Buckwheat Zydeco opened for U2, played at the 1996 Summer Olympics and even a couple presidential inaugurals. But Dural always managed to stay grounded.

FOX: That touched people and is really at the essence of what Stanley Dural Jr. was - just a person who really hadn't changed, even with all of his success, from the little 5-year-old kid who grew up picking cotton in Lafayette.

LIMBONG: Lafayette, La., is where Stanley Dural Jr. was born and raised. His dad played accordion around the house. His mom sang. He said he had seven sisters and six brothers in a two-bedroom house, and he started playing music as a kid.

That part of Louisiana is also where zydeco music was created by black French Creole speakers. It's an accordion-based blend of R&B, blues, rock and these days hip-hop, according to Herman Fuselier, music and entertainment writer for The Lafayette Daily Advertiser and host of the radio show "Zydeco Stomp."

HERMAN FUSELIER: It's a big gumbo of music, and it's - it makes everybody happy. It's hard to sit still and be in a bad mood when you listen to zydeco music.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "HOT TAMALE BABY")

DURAL: (Singing) It's all right. It's all right.

LIMBONG: Fuselier says Dural showed people beyond Louisiana how much fun zydeco could be.

FUSELIER: He's a role model. Buckwheat showed how popular a zydeco musician could be not only at home but worldwide.

LIMBONG: He did that by touring a lot as he told NPR in 2009.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED BROADCAST)

DURAL: I get on the road maybe around 10 months out of the year, in and out, you know? I don't know how many dates I do because I mean I don't even think about it. This is what I do, and I love doing what I'm doing. You get out there, you know, see thousands of people and got smile on their faces. That's my reward - somebody's happy.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "HEY MA PETIT FILLE")

DURAL: (Singing, unintelligible).

LIMBONG: Dural took playing and entertaining very seriously. And after more than 35 years of touring and playing shows, that meant he led the tightest band around, says Ted Fox.

FOX: You can't learn that. You either have it or you don't. And it came from Buck's leadership, and it came from the tremendous talent of all the guys that he had in his band.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "LET THE GOOD TIMES ROLL")

DURAL: (Singing) Hey everybody, let's have some fun. You only live once, and when you're dead, you're gone. So let it roll.

LIMBONG: Stanley Buckwheat Dural Jr. died Saturday from lung cancer. He was 68 years old. Andrew Limbong, NPR News.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "LET THE GOOD TIMES ROLL")

DURAL: (Singing) I'm going to have some fun. Come on let the good times roll. Now look here. Don't sit there mumbling...

Copyright © 2016 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at www.npr.org for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.