Albert Chevalier, Clemon Robert, and Clifton Edmond Interview

Albert Chevalier was born March 20, 1909 in Lafayette, LA. His father played accordion often accompanied by someone beating on a piece of tin, someone scraping a broom handle on the wooden plank floor, and accompanied by fiddle and triangle. Mr. Chevalier left Louisiana in 1943 for Port Arthur, TX. When he came to Houston in 1952 people made fu n of him and his music when he auditioned at Johnson’s Lounge-which at the time featured an orchestra and a floor show. By the early 1960s however, as more and more people from the Louisiana countryside moved to town, Zydeco music became so popular that Johnson’s (which today is the Continental Ballroom), became a full-time showcase for Zydeco. Lonnie Mitchell was hired as the regular performer because, according to Mr. Chevalier, he would play for less money. Chevalier worked mostly house parties, casuals, and for special occasions. Robert Clemon and Clifton Edmond were also from Louisiana, both originally from Opelousas. Albert Chevalier died in Houston in 1965. — Chris Strachwitz from the notes to Zydeco – Volume 1: The Early Years 1949-1962 (Arhoolie CD 307)

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Interviewees: Albert Chevalier, Clemon Robert, and Clifton Edmond
Interviewer: Chris Strachwitz
Date: Aug 7, 1961
Location: Houston, TX
Language: English

This is an interview originally recorded for research purposes. It is presented here in its raw state, unedited except to remove some irrelevant sections and blank spaces. All rights to the interview are reserved by the Arhoolie Foundation. Please do not use anything from this website without permission.

Statement on the passing of Chris Strachwitz

Arhoolie Records Founder
July 1, 1931 – May 5, 2023

We celebrate the life of our founder, friend, and great record man Chris Strachwitz. He died peacefully at home in Marin County, CA, surrounded in his last days by dear friends and family. Over his 91 years, Chris captured the music that represents the best “down home music” the world has to offer.

He was at the forefront of nearly all the roots revivals over the last 60 years including blues, zydeco, Cajun, Norteño and Tejano music. His drive to document traditional music helped introduce the nation to our diverse musical heritage. He had the foresight to save music that might have otherwise been lost to obscurity and played a role in strengthening cultural traditions through his records, films, and most recently the Arhoolie Foundation. He cared for those around him, fought for royalties and recognition for Arhoolie artists, and provided counsel to countless musicians, writers, film makers, and academics.

Plans for a public celebration of his life will be announced in the coming weeks. Today we’re thinking of all that Chris brought to our lives and the lives of the musicians and fans with whom he shared his passion.