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Roscoe Chenier

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Biography

Guitarist/singer Roscoe Chenier was born November 6, 1941 in the hamlet of Notleyville, just east of Opelousas. Though his family of sharecroppers was poor in material posses-sions, it was musically rich in talent. Related to both zydeco demigod, Clifton Chenier, and bluesman Morris ‘Big’ Chenier, his father Arthur ‘Bud’ Chenier was his main inspiration. Bud, a cajun accordionist, accompanied by his first cousin and fiddler John Stevens, the father of Duke Stevens, was widly popular, as he often would entertain at weekend house parties. “As a youngster, I’d just soak up the music”, Roscoe said.

His vocal gift manifested itself early, as he was invited in 1958 to join one of the hottest traveling bands in the territory; C.D and the Blue Runners, which featured three Gradnier brothers on harmonica, drums and bass and Lonesome Sundown on leadguitar.

Roscoe remained with C.D. for over a dozen years, until 1970 and despite the British Inva-sion, still managed to find enough work to keep the blues alive. Things in the black com- munity changed and it was difficult earning a living, especially when the gigs were paying $6 per man per night. And, Roscoe began a succession for day jobs as a truck driver in order to make ends meet.

In the 70’s Roscoe led a rather peripatetic existence as a bluesman, drifting from band to band, finding gigs catch as catch can. for a year and a half, he served with Good Rockin’ Thomas and thereafter a hitch with Good Rockin’ Bob. Often he was a “hired gun” for artists like Lonesome Sundown and Clarence Randle.

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