Zydeco Joe

b. Joseph Adam Mouton, 25 October 1943, Lafayette, Louisiana, USA, d. 17 November 2007, Lafayette, Louisiana, USA. Mouton taught himself to play guitar at the age of 13, while working as a field hand.…
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Artist Biography

b. Joseph Adam Mouton, 25 October 1943, Lafayette, Louisiana, USA, d. 17 November 2007, Lafayette, Louisiana, USA. Mouton taught himself to play guitar at the age of 13, while working as a field hand. He soon became well known and highly respected in his home town. Although heard only rarely away from the environs of Lafayette, Zydeco Joe, as he was always known, established a considerable reputation throughout the world of Cajun music. Singing mainly in French Creole, but also in English, and often improvising the lyrics to his songs, Zydeco Joe captured the essence of the vibrant music he performed. He played briefly with Rockin’ Dopsie, but in the late 80s he formed his own band, Laissez Le Bon Temps Roulez, which he led at local dances and music festivals, such as the Breaux Bridge Crawfish Festival, the Folklife Festival in Eunice and Festivals Acadiens. Wherever he went they added new fans, thus spreading his word-of-mouth fame. Regular members of Zydeco Joe’s band were Classie Ballou (bass), Cornelius Guidry (guitar), Joseph Edwards (scrubboard), and Kevin Menard (drums). Other musicians with whom he played, and who can be heard on his self-produced debut, Jack Rabbit, are guitarist Debra Kennedy, bass player Junius Antoine, scrubboard player T-Don Landry, and drummer Johnny Batiste.

Around the same time as he formed his band, Zydeco Joe began playing accordion on which he was partly self-taught although he received instruction from his wife’s uncle, Dudley Broussard. Among the songs in Zydeco Joe’s repertoire were ‘Jack Rabbit Zydeco’, ‘They Tried To Steal My Chicken’, ‘Caroline Riding In The Buggy’, ‘Black Cat’, ‘Mama Fred’s Back Yard’, ‘Poppa Jack’, ‘Creole Life’, ‘Why Can’t We Get Together’, ‘You Can’t Rooster Like You Used To’ and ‘Zydecoin’ Everywhere’. Late in his career, Zydeco Joe began to venture outside his home base of the Louisiana-Texas border country and soon found that fame and recognition had preceded him. His sudden death followed on from strep pneumonia.