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Richard Fontenot - Cajun guitarist

Will Fly 15 Feb 09 - 04:59 AM
GUEST,Hootenanny 15 Feb 09 - 06:33 AM
Will Fly 15 Feb 09 - 07:28 AM
GUEST,leeneia 16 Feb 09 - 12:43 AM
Dead Horse 16 Feb 09 - 05:46 PM
Will Fly 16 Feb 09 - 05:59 PM
GUEST,Will Fly, on the wing 28 Feb 15 - 05:28 AM
Roger the Skiffler 28 Feb 15 - 05:56 AM
GUEST 28 Feb 15 - 06:01 AM
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Subject: Richard Fontenot - Cajun guitarist
From: Will Fly
Date: 15 Feb 09 - 04:59 AM

I spent some time recently browsing through the Folkways recordings of the Smithsonian website - and came across recordings made in 1973 of guitarist Richard Fontenot - labelled "Cajun guitarist". Well, I'd never heard of specifically Cajun guitar, so I clicked on the sound samples and was delighted with some lovely playing.

It's in the Merle Travis/Chet Atkins style but with less emphasis on the bass volume, heavy use of reverb, and a freer, more lyrical sound. I paid my $10 and downloaded all the tracks as mp3 files - it's a little samey, overall, but still very interesting. I'd never heard of him before and there's precious little from a Google search.

Anyway, I've put one track on my website to advertise it - purely for 'Catters to listen to. This stays for just 24 hours and will then be taken off. It's Allons A Lafayette.

You can hear short sound samples of each track at Richard Fontenot.

Worth hearing through headphones or good speakers to bring out the soft but interesting bass notes.


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Subject: RE: Richard Fontenot - Cajun guitarist
From: GUEST,Hootenanny
Date: 15 Feb 09 - 06:33 AM

If you enjoy Cajun tunes played on an accoustic guitar then try and listen to David Doucet "1957" - solo Cajun Guitar on the Rounder label CD 6088.

Hoot


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Subject: RE: Richard Fontenot - Cajun guitarist
From: Will Fly
Date: 15 Feb 09 - 07:28 AM

Yes, there was some David Doucet on the Folkways site - good stuff.


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Subject: RE: Richard Fontenot - Cajun guitarist
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 16 Feb 09 - 12:43 AM

Thanks for posting, Will. that was interesting to hear.


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Subject: RE: Richard Fontenot - Cajun guitarist
From: Dead Horse
Date: 16 Feb 09 - 05:46 PM

Just found this site which is chock full of Cajun goodies.
And if you are interested Will, we gotta Mardi Gras Bal going on in Whitstable next Saturday eve (21st).
Ticket only, so give me a call if you might be coming.
Band is Cajun Dawgs from Hastings.


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Subject: RE: Richard Fontenot - Cajun guitarist
From: Will Fly
Date: 16 Feb 09 - 05:59 PM

Thanks DH - I might take you up on that - no gig booked in next Saturday...


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Subject: RE: Richard Fontenot - Cajun guitarist
From: GUEST,Will Fly, on the wing
Date: 28 Feb 15 - 05:28 AM

Here's a sort of footnote to the original post - 5 years later!

Intrigued by the Fontenot sound, I decided to have a crack at his versions of "Allons a Lafayette" on my (then) new hollow body electric guitar. So, in May 2014 I recorded a video of my version and stuck it on YouTube:

Will Fly: "Allons a Lafayette"

And that was that. Anyway, I got an email a day or two ago which read:

"Congratulations for your splendid rendition of ole Richard Fontenot's Lafayette.
Gérard Dôle"


To which I replied:

"Hi Gérard - many thanks for your kind comments on my attempts at some Cajun guitar playing! It's a most unusual style to play, and I was intrigued by it when I first heard it - on a Folkways album - and I just had to have a go at it. I'm very pleased that you liked it.
Regards,
Will"


and back came Gérard's reply:

"Hello Will
Indeed, Richard Fontenot was a very unusual musician (at least in Cajun Country), his heroe was Chet Atkins if I remember well, and, as it is often the case, his own style interested nobody localy.
He played me some tunes, I was enthralled and as I had the possibility to produce records for Folkways on a non profit basis, I offered him to make one. Here was the result, and I am ver glad that this record came out. Needless to say, it brought him neither fame nor fortune, and it was lost amongst the Mose Asch productions until you redescovered it. Thanks a lot for ole Richard. He is gone now.
Best Regards
Gérard"


It's nice to know that, however narrow the interest might be in a production, these things sometimes hit the spot - and I felt a bit chuffed that the guy who produced the original recordings that I fell in love with was satisfied with my performance.

It's not always a waste of time!


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Subject: RE: Richard Fontenot - Cajun guitarist
From: Roger the Skiffler
Date: 28 Feb 15 - 05:56 AM

Nice recording, Will. Have you listened to any Coco Robichaux? A little heavy on the accordian for some tastes but great cajun sound.

RtS


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Subject: RE: Richard Fontenot - Cajun guitarist
From: GUEST
Date: 28 Feb 15 - 06:01 AM

Yes, I have indeed, Roger - as you say, a bit accordion heavy but still great. So many Cajun players had a fantastic swing and lilt to their music. A lot of it is three or even just two chord stuff - but it's when to change the chords that matters. It's not obvious music, by a long chalk!


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