Written by: Alex Green
Stereo Embers is sad to report that Stanley Dural, better known as Buckwheat Zydeco, has died after a battle with lung cancer.
The pioneering zydeco bandleader was 68.
Born in Louisiana, Dural got his Buckwheat nickname because of his resemblance to the “Our Gang” character.
A gifted organ player, Dural was a bit of a prodigy, playing with Joe Tex and Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown before he turned twenty.
Growing up, Dural was a massive R&B and funk fan and although zydeco music was a part of his daily cultural life, he found himself gravitating so strongly to the aforementioned musical styles that his first outfit Buckwheat And The Hitchhikers was a straightforward funk band.
But when he took a gig backing the legendary zydeco musician Clifton Chenier, he found himself drawn to the music he had grown up with.
Dural’s Buckwheat Zydeco outfit (formed in 1978) was both a band and a moniker–in fact, many mistakenly started to address him as Buckwheat Zydeco. After a Grammy nomination in 1983 the band became the first zydeco act to be signed to a major label (Island Records). Their subsequent album On A Night Like This helped them reach a younger, college-based audience.
And the rest is history.
Buckwheat Zydeco’s resume’ is filled with the kind of career highlights one can only dream of: Appearing on the “Late Show With David Letterman,” playing the closing ceremony at the Olympics to an audience of almost 4 billion, playing with with everyone from Eric Clapton to U2 to Yo La Tengo, and performing for President Clinton at both of his inaugural events.
Dural’s manager Ted Fox wrote on Facebook: “It is with deep sadness that I have to announce that our great, beloved leader Stanley ‘Buckwheat’ Dural, Jr. has passed away. He died at 1:32 AM Louisiana time, keeping musician’s hours right to the bitter end…I am grieving for my best friend and colleague of more than 30 years. But, as this great road warrior once said: ‘Life is a tour, and it’s all about how you decide to get where you’re going…I don’t want to ignore the bad things in life, but I want to emphasize the good things.’ Buck made everything and everyone he touched better and happier. RIP my dear friend, my brother.”