Stanley Dural Jr., the music legend known by his stage name Buckwheat Zydeco, died on Saturday at the age of 68, his label Alligator Records confirmed. Considered a champion of Louisiana zydeco music, Dural suffered from lung cancer and died at Our Lady of Lourdes Regional Medical Center in Lafayette, Louisiana.
Dural was known as an accordionist, organist, singer, and songwriter, and he performed with a number of talent across the genres, including U2, Keith Richards, Willie Nelson, and Robert Plant. He earned the nickname Buckwheat because, growing up in Louisiana with braided hair, he looked like the character from The Little Rascals.
He got his start playing accordion for musicians including Joe Tex and Clarence Brown in the 1950s. He formed a 15-piece funk and soul band called Buckwheat and The Hitchhikers in ’71, and he would later join Clifton Chenier’s Red Hot Louisiana Band as an organist. By 1988, he already had a recording career under his belt. That same year, Eric Clapton invited him to open his North American tour.
Ted Fox, Dural’s longtime manager, wrote in a statement on Facebook: “I am grieving for my best friend and colleague of more than 30 years. But, as this great road warrior once said: ‘Life is a tour, and it’s all about how you decide to get where you’re going…I don’t want to ignore the bad things in life, but I want to emphasize the good things.’ Buck made everything and everyone he touched better and happier. RIP my dear friend, my brother.”
He is survived by his wife Bernite Dural and their daughter Tomorrow Lynn Dural, as well as his sons Sir Reginald M. Dural and Stanley Paul Dural III, daughters April Germain Dural, and Stacie Durham.