Even though Belton Richard does not perform as frequently as he once did when he fronted the group the Musical Aces beginning in 1959, songs he penned decades ago have withstood the test of time and are still very much in evidence. Many Cajun musical outfits of today routinely play Richard's tunes. He scored several hits with his compositions in his home state of Louisiana and the surrounding region, among them "Un Autre Soir Ennuyant," which was based on "Another Sleepless Night" by Jimmy Clanton, and "Le Paradis des Musiciens." He also recorded French-language covers of a number of other songs, including "The Streak" and "Behind Closed Doors." For the former, Floyd Soileau provided the voice of the song's announcer. In addition to songwriting, Richard is a noted accordionist and singer. In 1997, the Cajun Music Hall of Fame named him as one of its first inductees. He has received a number of other honors as well, among them the Signature Award from the Rayne-Acadia Parish Hall of Honor in 2000. His openness to new methods can be seen in a release from 1993, Modern Sounds in Cajun Music. Although he officially retired in 1987, he returned to recording in 1996 with the album I'm Back, which was released by Swallow Records. The previous year, the Festivals Acadiens were held in his honor. Richard, who was born in the Louisiana town of Rayne in 1939, took up the accordion at his father's knee, although sources differ concerning the age at which he started. Some say he was seven years old, while others claim he was five years older. During his teens, rock & roll drew his attention, but in 1959 his Cajun heritage pulled him in another direction and he established the Musical Aces. The group is credited as a pioneer in the use of the electric bass, and was possibly the first Cajun outfit to employ the instrument.
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