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

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Leroy Thomas

and the Zydeco Roadrunners

Click here for high resolution photos posted on Flickr.
Click here to go to the Official Web Site of Leroy Thomas and the Zydeco Roadrunners.

In addition to the CDs described below, the band released The People's Favorites of Leroy Thomas in 2008 and The Jewel of the Bayou in 2009.


2006 CD: You Got Me!

In 2006, Leroy Thomas released another self-produced CD, You Got Me!, with a nice mixture of Zydeco styles from old-time Creole on "Hey Mom" to more contemporary Zydeco on songs like "My Judgment Day," "Don't Get Mad at Me," "Oooh Baby," and the title cut, "You Got Me!" Guitarist Stan Chambers complements the accordion with some nice solos and is featured giving us his version of Jeff Beck's "Come Dancin'."  Germaine Jack is on drums and rubboard.

Among the other songs are "You Used to Call Me," a traditional waltz that Leroy Thomas sings in French and English, " "Baby Please Stay Gone," which rocks along comfortably, and "Here Goosey Goosey," based on the melody familiar to many as "Pine Grove Blues."

"Rainin' In My Heart" offers blues lyrics that also comment on all of the other songs about rain, but Leroy really lets loose on "Days of My Life," using soap opera titles and his own experience--"the judge said she'd get the house and the land, I left with my Lincoln and my Zydeco band "--to make us happy listening to the blues. He follows that with more blues in French and English about broken cars, runaway dogs, and "Ma femme est faché," the French title of the song.

2005 CD: Right Now is Prime Time

Leroy Thomas' self-produced 2005 CD Right Now is Primetime contains more than an hour of hard hitting Southwest Louisiana zydeco, with 10 original songs, plus "Jolie Blonde" and "Two-Step avec un change" (dedicated to his father, Leo "The Bull" Thomas).

The title cut compares today to the old days of segregation and "whites only" clubs in Louisiana. "If We Were All Here" is a tribute to other greats of zydeco and their signature songs. "I Know Somebody's Crying" is a slow blues. The final number, "I Ain't Nothing But a Country Boy," is zydceo boogie woogie. The other songs all have different zydeco rhythms, making for a good mix.

The photo at left was taken during a "Hurricane Stress Relief" party put on by Leroy Thomas in Eunice. Click here for more photos of a truly amazing evening of music and good times, courtesy of Leroy Thomas.



Words from the "The Monkey and the Baboon," the title song from the 2000 CD released by Leroy Thomas, were quoted with approval in the March 11, 2002, issue of The New Yorker Magazine: "Well the monkey and the baboon playing in the grass / Monkey told the baboon you kiss me too fast / Baboon say no this cannot be / And they monkey say baby you're killing me." In a calendar entry on the appearance of Leroy Thomas and the Zydeco Roadrunners at  La Belle Époque, a club on Broadway in Manhattan, the magazine commented that "Thomas keeps his shows lively. He's know for spinning his accordion in the air and for his sense of humor."

Manhattan is a long way from Elton, La., where Thomas grew up (he was born in 1965) and where his father, Leo "The Bull" Thomas still lives, but Leroy Thomas now seems at ease wherever he choose to be, whether in Houston, the city he now calls home, in rural Zydeco clubs like Richard's in Lawtell, in night clubs all over the United States, or in upscale establishments that are within the purview of The New Yorker Magazine.

According to a cover story in Houston City Life, Thomas started playing drums at eight: "I wanted to play drums, but I was scared to death to get on my dad's, so my brother and I made some drums out of five-gallon paint buckets. We bolted two more to the sides and flipped them over, and used little branches of trees as sticks." Not long after he started playing drums, he also began to learn the accordion, eventually mastering both the button accordion used by Zydeco musicians like John Delafose and Boozoo Chavis and the piano accordion, the instrument that Clifton Chenier played.

At 19, he joined the band headed by his father (who today continues to play drums and sing at venues in Louisiana and Texas). In addition to playing music, Leroy Thomas did auto painting and body work and also worked on a rice and soybean farm. After moving to Houston, he became a pipe welder, but he continued as a musician.

In 1998, he made his first recording, playing with his father, on the CD Leo Thomas is a Sunama Gun, released by Bad Weather Records.

In July 1999, Thomas launched his own label, Thomas Records. He got the rights to music he recorded for Bad Weather and released Taxi, Take me to the Trail Ride: Greatest Hits  and The Monkey and the Baboon. In addition to the title track, which has received a lot of airplay in Louisiana, the latter CD includes other original songs by Leroy Thomas like "I Don't Work No More" that have become popular on the radio. French numbers are "Ça Fait du Mal," "Mom, m'a dit pas voler," in which the words warning against stealing are mainly there only to reinforce the song's insistent rhythm, and "French Waltz," sung by Lee Andrus. The other waltz on the CD is a tribute to Beau Jocque.

In 2002, Thomas released Somebody's Lookin' For Ya, a CD which again demonstrates Thomas's ability as a song writer. In addition to original songs, he also covers his father's signature song, "Why You Want to Make Me Cry?", offers a remix of "The Monkey and the Baboon," and plays his version of "Amédé Two-Step" and Canray Fontenot's "Barres de la Prison," offering a fairly traditional version that segues into a version done to a fast Zydeco beat.

Other members of the band include Gerard St. Julien Jr. on drums; Raymond J. Bilbo on bass; Lawrence "June" Barfield on guitar.

The second and third photos in the right column on this page were taken at the Southwest Louisiana Zydeco Festival in Plaisance the Saturday before Labor Day in 2000 during a record-breaking heat wave. It was about 11 p.m., but the temperature was still very warm. The other photos were all taken in April 2002 during an impromptu performance at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette's Center for Ecology and Environmental Technology. The session was organized by John Broussard and Melvin Ceasar and broadcast over their KRVS "Zydeco Est Pas Salé" Saturday morning program. In the photo beneath ones showing Leroy waving his American flag accordion, Zydeco Joe Mouton is pictured on rubboard. Leroy Thomas and the Zydeco Roadrunners performed that evening at Richard's Club in Lawtell.

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Posted 6-21-02.

All photographs and text by David Simpson.

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