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Zachary Richard

Cajun rebel Zachary Richard has been offering his zesty, unique fusion of traditional cajun, zydeco, rock, and New Orleans blues since the early '70s. Though not well-known outside of Louisiana, Canada, and France, Richard, along with Michael Doucet and others, has been a key figure in the revitalization of Cajun music. He has also been a longtime social activist, using his potent song lyrics to promote Cajun pride and solidarity in the face of long-standing injustice and prejudice. This activism originally somewhat alienated Richard from conservative traditional Cajun artists and from audiences unprepared for the underlying kick of his punchy party music.

A full-blooded Cajun, Richard can trace his family tree straight back to Acadia where his ancestors lived for 200 years before the British forcibly exiled them in the mid-1700s. During the '50s and '60s, Cajun culture, due to prejudice, was on the decline. Richard's parents did little to instill cultural pride in their son and even refused to speak their native French. While earning a B.A. at Tulane University, New Orleans during the late '60s, Richard began his longtime campaign on behalf of the Cajuns. The eclecticism of his own music reflects his personal tastes. Early influences included Ray Charles, Professor Longhair, Howlin' Wolf, Little Walter, Muddy Waters, the Byrds, and Bob Dylan.

He went to New York in the early '70s and signed with Elektra Records to produce a country rock album. Largely due to Elektra's merger with Warner at that time, the album was never released. After that he went back to Louisiana to further hone his musicianship. At that time he played piano, accordion, and guitar. With a little tutoring from Clifton Chenier, the accordion became Richard's favorite instrument. He, his cousin Michael Doucet, and Kenneth Richard teamed up in 1974 to form the Bayou Drifter Band and play a mixture of Cajun and rock that they called "swamp rock". The new style didn't catch on in Louisiana, but it was extremely popular in Canada. With socially conscious lyrics penned and performed in French, Richard's music found particular favor in politically charged Quebec where the secession movement was gaining momentum. He remained in Canada through the early '80s and during that time earned several gold records. Richard also spent time in France learning more about folk music. He returned to Louisiana around 1981 and suddenly found that Cajun culture and music had become a national fad. He formed a new group and dove right in. In the late '80s, Richard signed to Rounder and released a pair of albums, Mardis Gras Mambo and Zack's Bon Ton (1990). After that he signed a major contract with A&M. His debut album with the label, Women in the Room, featured some of the best sessionmen in music.

As he continues to tour and record both Cajun rock and more traditional music, Richard's reputation continues to grow, and it is hoped that his talent and contribution to the genre will eventually be widely recognized. In early 2000, a greatest-hits album was issued by Rhino Records that may contribute to his increasing popularity, Silver Jubilee:The Best of Zachary Richard. ~ Sandra Brennan
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: J'aime La Vie

1. J'aime La Vie

2. Tigre En Ville

3. La Mer

4. Je Voudrais Me Promener

5. Dans Mon Jardin

6. Hou Da Da

7. Mon Cheval Napoleon

8. L'avion

9. L'amour Est Dans Le Coeur

10. L'univers

x

Track List: Le Fou

1. Laisse Le Vent Souffler

2. Sweet Sweet

3. Le Fou

4. Clif's Zydeco

5. La Chanson Des Migrateurs

6. Lolly Lo

7. La Musique Des Anges

8. La Ballade De Jean Saint Malo

9. Crevasse Crevasse

10. Bee De La Manche

11. C'est Si Bon

12. Orignal Ou Caribou

13. Les Ailes Des Hirondelles

x

Track List: Bayou Des Mysters

1. J'ai T Au Bal

2. Chanson Pour Les Enfants D'acadie

3. Colinda

4. Chanquis Chanque/Grand Gris Gris

5. Rveille

6. Madeline

7. Beaux Yeux Noirs

8. C'est Dur Croire

9. Stomp De Bosco

10. On A Beau Dit

x

Track List: Snake Bite Love

1. Snake Bite Love

2. Come On, Sheila

3. Burning

4. Heart On Fire

5. Roll Me

6. Cote Blanche Bay

7. Dancing At Double D's

8. Sunset On Louisianne / Interlude: My French Blues (Madamme Sosthene)

9. Crawfish

10. Down In Congo Square

11. Zydeco Jump

12. One Kiss

x

Track List: Zack's Bon Ton

1. File Gumbo

2. Zach's Bon Ton

3. Ma Petite Fille Est Gone

4. Big River

5. Jolie Blonde

6. Ma Louisianne

7. The Battle Of New Orleans

8. Love My Zydeco

9. Bayou Pon Pon

10. Take Me Deep (Song For C.)

11. See You Later Alligator

12. La Valse De Grande Riviere

x

Track List: Mardi Gras Mambo

1. Iko Iko

2. Everytime

3. Cocodrie

4. Moi Connais Pas

5. Down On Second Street

6. Handa Wanda

7. Mardi Gras Mambo

8. Big Chief

9. Ton Ton Gris-Gris

10. Creole Lullaby

x

Track List: Live In Montreal

1. Bon Temps Rouler (Live)

2. Mama Rosin (Live)

3. Un Autre Soir Ennuyant (Live)

4. Mes Souliers Rouges (Live)

5. Les Ailes Des Hirondelles (Live)

6. L'arbre Est Dans Ses Feuilles (Live)

7. Travailler C'est Trop Dur (Live)

8. Jambalaya (Live)

9. Zydeco Sont Pas Sales (Live)

10. Chanquis Chanque (Live)

11. Grand Gris-Gris (Live)

12. Chanque Part II (Live)

13. Ton Ton Gris-Gris (Live)

14. Antibon Legbo (Live)

15. La Berceuse Creole (Live)

x

Track List: Mardi Gras

1. Invitation Des Mardi Gras

2. High Time

3. Ma Louisiane

4. Pacing The Floor

5. Let Your Love Spead

6. Steal A Smile

7. Chanson De Mardi Gras

8. Travailler, C'est Trop Dur

9. Porte En Arriere

10. Dis Bye Bye

11. C'est Bon J

12. High Time

13. Pacing The Floor

14. Let Your Love Spread

15. Steal A Smile

x

Track List: Allons Dancer

5. Colinda

6. Handa Wanda

9. Ton Ton Gris-Gris

Comments

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Reminds me of the sound of Odtetta
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M. Richard a la voix d'un ange. Il fait ce vieil homme pleurer quand il chante.
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I'm "acadienne" from Moncton Nouveau-Brun s w i c k Canada. Now living in the NYC area I love hearing the music of Zachary Richard, music my brothers used to play, on pandora. Wonderful!
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This accordion has a lot of treble and I love it.
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Thanks Pandora never heard of him till now, great group.
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love it!!!!
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Great talent....un i q u e voice. I like this very much. Thanks again Pandora!
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LIKE !!!!!!!!!!
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At first, I thought he was Lyle Lovett- same voice and style. I can hear Lyle doin this song..
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rffian73
Lovely!
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Another great musician I learned about on Pandora! Love this guy!
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fantastic style and great job of keepin Cajun alive!
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caesarky
C'est magnifique!! ! !
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creolelorrai n e d u l e c h e
to "aronecap".. w h o cares about the 17 yr olds mon ami...great music is timeless!!!
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creolelorrai n e d u l e c h e
one of the best ever!
Report as inappropriate
when iwas a kid zachary wanted to teach me to play the accordion.i just wish i would have taken him up on the offer.now a grown up cant play but still a huge fan of zydecajun
Report as inappropriate
jimo93
"Sunset on Louisianne" bring tears to my eyes. It should be an anthem for environmenta l i s m . What once was a land of abundance is now a toxic graveyard.
Report as inappropriate
drlarry45
best cajun artist of all time; i love "no french no more" from women in the room.
Report as inappropriate
yea you right he is great.
Report as inappropriate
I don't think many 17 year olds will appreciate this kind of music, but I absolutely love it! I grew up on "Zach"; as kids we would beg to hear his tapes in the car. Back then I just liked the music and knew all the words, but now I realize just how meaningful it is and how much of a genius this brilliant man is.

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