Octa Clark and Hector Duhon
Old Time Cajun Music
Arhoolie (www.arhoolie.com)

cd cover For most of their lives, the musical souls of Cajun musicians Octa Clark, accordion, and Hector Duhon, fiddle, were inseparable. In 1928, the two formed a friendship that would last a lifetime, beginning with house dances and resuming again with a later incarnation of the Dixie Ramblers with Duhon's son Bessyl in the 50's. Later, after Bessyl left, the two older gents still played regularly, mainly at Mulate's and occasional festivals. In 1981, Arhoolie's Chris Strachwitz was the first to record the two legends accompanied by Michael Doucet on guitar at Doucet's home. The beauty of this recording is that it's an accurate representation of what a trio playing informally indoors sounds like. The sound is flat, no extra embellishments, which explains why Clark's accordion playing is much more audible than Duhon and Doucet combined.

It's also apparent why Duhon considered his friend one of the best accordion players he had played with. Even at the ripe young age of then 77, Clark's straight-on playing never wavers, maintaining a clean, flowing consistency while each note exudes a tremendous air of confidence. When he belts out an 'a-I-e-e-e,' it's a powerful release of cutting, joyful emotion. A couple of other tunes ("Creole Twist," "Cajun Hot Shoe") showcase his amazing ability to not only play quickly but maintain masterful control of the accordion's funky, offsetting bass notes old-time Cajun music is known for. Of the 17 tracks here, 13 are from the original LP recording including Clark's old world-style polka, "Polka a Ma Vielle Tante." The last four tracks were also recorded that day but are released here for the first time. Throughout his life, Clark was known for saying, "You can't go wrong if you play it right." - Dan Willging

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