Tribute To A Great Cajun, Zachary Richard

Notes on northern Michigan, being southern, raising a family, Zachary Richard, and getting old

The boys all warned me that I wouldn't be accepted, that being a Yankee the same construction workers in the south wouldn't accept me. Being a native of northern Michigan I suppose I had a rather strong accent like those people up there tend to have if you know what I mean. Sort of like living in Fargo but maybe slightly less twisted, but probably not. Of course, I didn't hear this northern accent in my voice myself, I assumed I sounded like Tom Brokaw which for me was the norm. My wife was a Kentucky native and she had a deep southern accent which was just another reason I was so attracted to her. The way she drew out every syllable made my legs shake when I was seventeen and for that I was forever grateful when she finally became my wife in 1983 so I could hear her speak to me every waking day. Naturally, living in Louisville, Kentucky for the last twenty-five years has lessened those long vowels as I have become complacent, taking for granted the warmth of the southern sound, adding some of that softness to the hard, northern accent I brought with me.

I am not sure if the fellows down here ever accepted me or not, and I couldn't care less. I did what I had to do and carried on as if they loved me. Even one family trip to Paris, and not knowing the French language, I behaved as if the Parisians loved me too, and my wife and youngest son informed me that in fact they certainly did not. I think they said they thought I was delusional. But that is how I am. So I carry on.

One of the early memories of living in Louisville and learning about the area and its culture was all the live music weekends on the river. Having small children these free little river concerts offered us a diversion from the daily grind my wife and I both felt having full-time jobs and trying to raise a family, keeping a house, and maintaining a reasonable standard of living. Our favorite concert of them all featured Zachary Richard and I would have to believe it was around the summer of 1985 or 1986 before Zack's Bon Ton was released but distinctly after the 1984 release of Zack Attack . I distinctly remember having my youngest son Evan on my shoulders throughout the concert, me dancing away as if I myself were a native Cajun, and thoroughly enjoying watching the talented and sexy Zachary move his hips for the ladies as he was looking for his monkey in his popular song, Who Stole My Monkey? He was really something.

Last week my now twenty-five year old Evan texted me asking about this guy, and being myself over twenty years removed from that time in our life his name escaped me. He insisted I find out and text him back immediately. Evan can be demanding at times. I am not sure if the boy had been drinking or just involved in a gotcha game we all enjoy from time to time. It's fun to for us to know shit others don't. Usually it is stuff that nobody but us cares about, but for us, it's thrilling because, I guess, we're assholes about it. Perhaps a juvenile activity, but nonetheless, it's what we do. His mother from another room blurted out his name to me and I was able to perform, quickly receiving another return text that I was the man. Not really. His mom was.

So yesterday I got interested in Zachary Richard again and began one of the many searches this raging addict can do once the juices get going. There is no holding me back from getting my hands on information and the goods I need to satisfy my cravings. One thing I noticed was Zach got old. I keep forgetting how old we all have become and it is a shock to my system when I am wrestled out of my natural state of denial and thrust back into the real world I just am not so sure of. But Zachary is still out there in it working hard, still writing songs and poetry, and very much involved in social and environmental issues of which I wasn't aware he had so much interest in. He looks good, but like some others our age, he lost some hair.

I haven't spent a great deal of time with his latest music because I am not willing yet to move on from what certainly has to be the more supreme power of his old. Back on the river was a special time to be Zachary Richard. The ladies loved him, including my wife who would have most likely gone off with that man in a heartbeat if asked. Not that she ever did that sort of activity, but Zachary Richard had that kind of charisma as witnessed by the accompanying videos included in this article. And he is somebody none of us ever will forget. I am happy my son remembers him. It was a comfortable thought last week for me, feeling again in my mind my excited young son bouncing on my shoulders, his mom and dad blissfully more than a step removed from their weekday jobs, and for a couple hours life was pretty damn good, and because of it we had hope for a better tomorrow. Thank you, Zachary Richard.

Zachary Richard performs "Come On Sheila"

Who Stole My Monkey?

Early Zachary Richard

And now, today's version of Zack singing Bird on a Wire

Comments 2 comments

Cindy Rosser 5 years ago

Those were the days with Zachary Richard! I'm still in love with that man and, I don't consider him or anyone else "old" at 61. It's all relative to the individual. He's still hot, and I'd still run off with him if I had the opportunity. I'll settle for "friending" him on Facebook and keep hoping he comes back to Louisville again. His music just gets better with time. Check it out. It's a beautiful experience. Go Zack!!!


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mewlhouse 5 years ago from Louisville Author

That "Bird on a Wire" video (last one at the bottom)is not too shabby. He is very talented. Thanks for reading.

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