News/Thoughts

Cajun Music All Night

While the effects of the pandemic have crippled the music industry, still, for some, there is the occasional opportunity to get out and perform under the right circumstances. Long time friend and musician, Scott Murray, had one such opportunity recently, and it seemed too good of a story not to share. This is Scott’s story.

I was living close to Ocean City Maryland when I was younger. A friend of mine worked in the seafood industry there and I’d gotten a job with him. We were swimming in salt water ponds fed by the ocean tides to see if we could get crabs to live in them in order to extend Maryland’s crab season. It didn’t work but it was a good idea.

One night we went to a beach bar where a cajun band called ‘The Zydecats’ was playing. It was said they were from the bayous of the Del Marva. All of their microphones on stage were occupied except one. There was a washboard hung on it and a note that said ‘he left the band for love’. Apparently, the washboard player met a woman on vacation from Florida and was so smitten, he went home with her.

Played Cajun Music
All Night
The guitar player broke a string and while he was putting a new one on, I asked him if he would mind me taking a hold of that board and playing with the band. A Cajun band without a washboard player is like a bluegrass band with no banjo. He asked me if had any rhythm. I had been a drummer all through Jr. high, high school, and college, so I said yes. I strapped on the board and put the thimbles on my fingers, and played Cajun music all night. They made me an honorary member of the Zydecats. Named me ‘Cher’ Lareau’, and said from there on out my home was in the bayous of the Del Marva.

Why am I telling
you all this?
I had my first gig of the year in Middletown, VA recently. It was a private party and I was asked if I knew a couple reggae tunes that I could play. I said yes I did. (Because I know Greg Ward, one of the best reggae musicians around here, and I groove on his rhythms to some songs I know, but I didn’t tell them all that. I just said yes).

I got the flyer in the mail and they billed me as, ‘a real live Cajun guy playing songs from the bayou’! Cher’ Lareau lives.

The ‘cajun’ gig was pretty fabulous. Apparently, the host thought I was from Louisiana. During a break, she sent a guy over to ask me how to eat a crawdad. It was part of the seafood mix in the low country boil. I told him ‘you pinch the tail off because it’s like a little lobster and thumb the meat out of it, and then you pinch the head off and suck the juice out of that’.

He didn’t like it. Said it was too sweet and a little earthy. I said ‘that’s because it’s a bottom feeder.’ I laughed when he said ‘thanks Mr. Laveau’. I’d forgotten that when asked to introduce myself and my guest musician, ‘Mark Barreres,’ before we started playing I’d said, ‘I’m Cher Laveau and beside me on electric guitar is Bon Ton Louie Thibadeaux. We’re the Chain Smokin’ Altar Boys from the bayous of the Del Marva!

Written by Scott Murray

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