The Thunders

I recall the day I made the decision to give up my record collection. My cat William sat transfixed across the studio from my turntable. I was playing Old Corrals and Sagebrush by Ian Tyson on the stereo. Suddenly and without warning, William sprinted across the room and leapt upon the turntable, causing a sickening screech as the stylus scraped across the Tom Russell Mexican polka, Gallo del Cielo.

I gave my collection to my friend Stan Repar, who I figured would be the last man standing in the record department. IMG_2038 Today we had lunch with Stan and another painter friend Claude Breeze, and Stan presented me  with a bag containing a number of records. (Those of you too young to know what a record is can tune out now).  Stan was culling his collection and asked if there were any I wanted back. I had told him that if he still had a few of the special ones, some of which were signed by the artists, I’d love to play those records again.

Stan, aware that we now once again have a turntable, put a package together with those special records and a number of others he knew we’d enjoy.

The highlight of the package to me is Zydeco Thunder by Fernest and the Thunders. It must have been back in the late 80s when Fernest Arceneaux and his band came to town, and it was a fantastic show. I met the band – some of them joined us for a beer between sets – bought their album, and had the whole group sign the cover. I’m no autograph hound but this is a momento of a great night.

One of the reasons it is important to me is that I formed a vague idea in my little brain that night that I’d like to learn to play the button acccordion. It wasn’t until around a decade later that I actually bought a button accordion and learned to play, but I recall thinking, 31 buttons, how hard can it be?

Usually in a Zydeco band, the singer stands front and centre with the frattoir player at his (or her) side. In this case the frattoir player was centre stage, ,and Fernest stood off to the side where he sang and played button accordion.

Ah, this takes me back. Anybody else out there at that show? It must have been at the Horseshoe Tavern. If you were there, stop by and comment. I’d love to hear your thoughts.


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