Rockin’ Dopsie is the man most responsible for popularising Zydeco in Europe, thrilling audiences with his infectious dance music, infused with a heavy dose of R&B. Dopsie (pronounced “Doopsie”) got a big break with his appearance on Paul Simon’s ‘Graceland’ album, and good-selling records of his own on the De la Soul label. He passed on at the relatively early age of 60, but Dopsie founded a dynasty of zydeco-playing sons as well as a legacy of dynamic recordings.
This is how an R&B classic sounds, when it’s given the Rockin’ Dopsie treatment;
Zydeco is usually sung in Creole, so it was instantly popular when it was heard in France in the 70s. When Dopsie played there, Sam Charters, the writer and record producer who had been at the forefront of the Folk/Blues revival of the 60s, got Dopsie a deal with Sonet records in Sweden, and they released ‘Doin’ the Zydeco’ in 1978. This was the start of a five album series that kept Dopsie busy touring Europe twice a year for a good while as his reputation grew at home. When Paul Simon wanted a zydeco band to play on his zillion selling ‘Graceland’ album in 1985, Dopsie and his Zydeco Twisters stepped up. With his sons on ‘frottoir’ and drums, this band played zydeco with a fierce energy that made dancing almost compulsory. They put out a couple of brilliant albums on the De la Soul label in the late 80s, and Dopsie’s final record ‘Louisiana Music’ in 1991 explored Dopsie’s versions of songs made famous by Guitar Slim, Little Richard, Ivory Joe Hunter and Clifton Chenier himself.