STANLEY (BUCKWHEAT) DURAL is the seminal figure in zydeco, proving that this mix of Cajun and R&B music can be popular wherever there's a dance floor and, at the same time, can be musically extended. While Buckwheat continues to update zydeco with the solid beat and precise riffing of Memphis soul, his latest album, "Turning Point," shows he hasn't lost his feel for the traditional Creole music of south Louisiana.
The Buckwheat Zydeco band is contagiously rhythmic, driving through fast boogies, infectious zydeco stomps and one furiously rocking take of Little Richard's "Tutti Frutti." The band also shifts gears and heads for its roots in "Madame Pitre" and "Mon Papa," a two-step and waltz sung in French. Here Buckwheat's cascading organ runs and Elijah Cudjes' scraped washboard kick up the unique swirling sound of traditional zydeco.
A clear case of Buckwheat's more modern sound is the title track in which his undulating organ and accordion lines are rhythmically anchored by Calvin Landry's punchy trumpet and Nathaniel Jolivette's socking drums. In "Help Me Understand You," Buckwheat's raw, husky vocals and Landry's trumpet power a beautiful deep soul ballad cut right from the Otis Redding songbook.
BUCKWHEAT ZYDECO -- "Turning Point" (Rounder 2045); appearing Saturday at Friendship Station.