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Belton Richard

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Belton Richard, born in 1939 in Rayne, has been a very popular Cajun musician for decades. During the 1960s and the 1970s, his dancehall band, the Musical Aces, attracted crowds wherever they went up. After retiring from performing regularly, he has begun in 2002 to appear at a number of festivals and other venues. Even while he was not active on stage, his songs continued to be part of the standard repertoire of most Cajun bands. He is a remarkable singer and song writer, with a number of regional hits to his credit, including “Le Paradis des musiciens” and “Un autre soir ennuyant” (inspired by Jimmy Clanton’s “Another Sleepless Night”). In addition, his French versions of songs like “Behind Closed Doors” and “The Streak” (with Floyd Soileau playing the role of announcer and uttering the memorable description “nu comme un ver”) were popular among Cajun audiences.

At age seven, Richard learned to play accordion from his father. Richard shifted to performing rock and roll as a teenager but returned to his French roots in 1959 when he formed the Musical Aces. His experience with Louisiana’s version of rock and roll, known as swamp pop, carried over into his Cajun music. He was determined to bring new life to Cajun music by adding songs that told stories sung in a smooth, contemporary style instead of the older Cajun style that originated when vocalists had to project their voices across the dancehall without any amplification. Ann Savoy has described his baritone vocal style as comparable to the style of “country singer George Jones in his prime.” Richard’s singing style has been widely imitated by other Cajun vocalists. Richard is also an excellent accordion player.

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