‘Bois Sec’ Ardoin, the accordionist and singer, was an important agent in bringing ‘old school’ Creole ‘La-la’ music into the post WWII era. Inspired by his older cousin Amédé Ardoin, Bois Sec played the swinging, good-time dancing Blues we now know as Zydeco. He didn’t make any records at that time, but his popularity at local dances in West Louisiana pre-figured the work of Clifton Chenier in his 70s heyday and artists like the rumbustuous Rosie Ledet today.
Fantastic film from Newport 1966, with Bois Sec and Canray;
Bois Sec and Canray played the 1966 Newport Folk Festival to great acclaim, which led to them recording their formidable ‘Les Bleus de Bayou’ album for the Melodeon label. A few years later, Bois Sec had recruited his sons Maurice, Gustave and Lawrence into the Ardoin Family Orchestra, along with Canray. They made several recordings and a couple of films, but when Gustave was killed in an auto accident in 1974, Bois Sec was tremendously affected. He withdrew from performing almost completely, leaving the band to the leadership of Lawrence ‘Black’ Ardoin as they rode the rising wave of Zydeco popularity in the late 70s, along with Clifton Chenier, Rockin’ Dopsie, John Delafose and Buckwheat Zydeco. Lawrence recruited his own son Chris to his band in the 80s, and the dynasty continues.