D2D Vinyl Record
2011 Living Blues Award Winner for Most Outstanding Musician (Other) (Accordion)
"...Chad Kassem's crew has captured the swing and the feel of the genre, while showcasing an instrument that's key to Zydeco but hardly an audiophile staple: the accordion. This six-track set is as undiluted as it gets, and it just might make you a convert." - Ken Kessler, Hi-Fi News, September 2010
"...That this music is getting recorded and released is by itself a good thing, but the fact that it comes out on audiophile vinyl is a whole lot of icing on the cake. As for the sound, this was analog like I remembered it (minus the hiss, wow, and flutter), with a warm, in-the-room feel from the drums, bass, and acoustic piano and a rich, full sound from acoustic guitars." - Jeff Wilson, The Absolute Sound, April/May 2010
Major Handy was actually born "Joseph Majay Handy," May 15, 1947. He thinks, if he understands what his mother's told him, that his parents had a child before him and named that boy "Joseph Majay Handy." That son died near birth, and when the couple had their next child, also a boy, they decided to reuse the name. Eventually, after people had trouble recognizing the correct pronunciation, the middle name "Majay" morphed into "Major." He says he did go by his first name initially. "A lot of people called me 'Joe,' but that didn't ring no bell." And so, "Major Handy" it became.
Handy was born and raised as the oldest of seven children in St. Martinville, Louisiana, the parish seat of St. Martin Parish and right on the Bayou Teche. It's a rural town about 15 miles southeast of Lafayette and is generally considered the heart of the Creole and Cajun melting pot that makes this specific sub-region unique to anywhere else in the world. It's from right here that so much of the culture - the food, music, swamp life - that people associate with Louisiana comes.
Like with many people from St. Martinville, Handy's heritage is Creole, meaning it's tangled. "I'm like a gumbo - everything. Alligator, fish, shrimp, Indian, Negro, white, whatever...I guess that's what that is. But I was raised as a black person," he says. "The only time I ever mingled with white people was the music thing. 'Cause I didn't go to school with white people. I quit school in the ninth grade (just before school desegregation in Louisiana)."
Handy's earliest musical inspiration came from his father, who had an old accordion that he toyed with as nothing more than a pastime, and some cousins who were "fooling around" with music. "I saw that, and I wanted to take it and be better," Handy says. "The first thing I picked up was a guitar. And I took it from there." His first professional gig came on bass in a cousin's band. From there it was back to guitar and eventually accordion as a bandleader. In between, he played in the bands of Rockin' Dopsie for many years as well as in the very first incarnation of Buckwheat Zydeco just after Buckwheat had left Clifton Chenier.
While he'd recorded previously as a bandleader, Handy's 2008 APO Records release Zydeco Feeling marked his first widely distributed release in 25 years.
|1. Jalapeno Cornbread||2. Bad Luck And Trouble||3. Well I Done Got Over It||4. Zydeco Feeling||5. Te Ni Nee Ni Nu||6. Lost My Baby|