A grand old man of Cajun music, guitarist and singer Preston Manuel has taken on the frontline vocal position for many a band, seemingly not losing a bit of wind power as his hair goes greyer and greyer. His roots go all the way back to one of the first recorded Cajun bands, Miller's Merrymakers, which formed in the '30s under the direction of tenor banjo player Beethoven Miller, but was much better known for the presence of monster fiddler J.B. Fuselier. Manuel also had his own recording combo, Preston Manuel & the Rhythm Boys. In later years, he became known as a strong collaborator for special projects, recording in the studio with Austin Pitre in 1997 for the CD Opeloosa Waltz. Fiddler Chuck Guillory put the vocals of Manuel front and center on his acclaimed Grand Texas sessions in 1987, released on CD in the late '90s by Arhoolie. Manuel also appeared with Aubrey Deville and on the Smithsonian-Folkways production Cajun Social Music, in which he combined with other greats of this genre such as Nathan Abshire and Marc Savoy.
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