Archive Files of Cajun, Creole, and Zydeco Musicians
Posted between 1999 and 2008

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Blackie Forestier

& the Cajun Aces

Blackie Forestier died Monday evening, November 19, 2001, at Lake Charles Memorial Hospital after suffering a heart attack.   Forestier headed one of the great Cajun dance bands. He had a large and devoted following of admirers, including his own fan club. His music and his broad smile will be sorely missed.

Ledel "Blackie" Forestier was a member of the original group of musicians inducted into the Cajun French Music Association's Hall of Fame in 1997. According to the CFMA biography, he was born on October 28, 1928, in Cankton (known then as Coulée Crouche) and spent his childhood on a Pine Island farm.

His older brother had an accordion that Blackie was not allowed to touch while he was growing up, but, after Blackie returned from the military, his brother allowed him to play and even bought him his own accordion.

When Blackie had his first paying gig at an event sponsored by a Houston oil company, he coined that name "Blackie Forestier and the Cajun Aces." Forestier and his band  played in dance halls throughout the region for almost four decades. They were among the groups featured at the first Festivals Acadiens in Lafayette in 1974.

According to information provided on KBON radio during the station's Blackie Forestier Day, the Cajun Aces disbanded in 1979 after Forestier became tired of performing while also working a day job. By the mid-1980s, he was back on the bandstand, equipped with a new accordion. In addition to regular dance hall venues, the Cajun Aces   performed at many other events, bringing Cajun music to events sponsored by  the World Congress of Sociologists, the Houston Fine Arts Association, and the American Cultural Society.

For a number of years, Forestier and the Cajun Aces  played every Saturday night at Randol's Restaurant in Lafayette. They also played every other Friday at D.I.'s Restaurant in Tee-Mamou.

Forestier and his band  recorded with La Louisianne Records since their first single "Big Pine Waltz" in 1967.  La Louisianne Records released Back In Time, containing 20 songs from Forestier's entire career, and Les Dix Choix, with ten of Blackie's favorite numbers: "Crying Waltz," Chère Petite," "Pistol Packin' Mama," "Big Pine Waltz," "Je Suis Seule Encore," "Anniversary Waltz," "T-George Two Step," "Cotton Fields," "Grand Chenier Waltz," "Ossun Two-Step."

Other albums available are Un Cajun Est Ça Musique, recorded after Forestier's return to music, Blackie Forestier & The Cajun Aces, and the 1999 CD Réunion sur la Butte.

The last album is dedicated to his fan club, many of whose members traveled all the way to Herman, Missouri, where for a number of years the Cajun Aces were featured at the "Cajun Festival on the Hill" (thus, the title of the CD).   Other members of the band performing on the CD are Errol Guilbeau on rhythm guitar and vocals; Wilton  Babineaux on fiddle; Cliff Newman on drums and vocals; and Terry Benoit on bass and vocals. The album includes "Güten Tag Herman" (an instrumental with something of a polka beat), and Cajun favorites like "J'ai passé devant ta porte," "Hip et Taiau," "La chanson de la pistache," and "Petite wagon rouge," plus Jessie Stutes' "Sugar Bee"–14 songs in all.

Forestier is also featured on a number of compilation albums, and he played accordion on several tracks with D.L. Menard on the Rounder 1988 album No Matter Where You At, There You Are.

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The pictures of Blackie Forestier and the Cajun Aces were taken at Vermilionville in Lafayette on a Sunday afternoon in December 2000.

All photographs and text by David Simpson.
Posted July 2001.

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