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

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Roy Carrier

and the Night Rockers

For more information, including details on Roy Carrier's latest releases (Living Legend in 2004) and his schedule, go to his official web site.

"I never thought I'd spend a month playing New York," Roy Carrier told a reporter in an article on Zydeco published in the Wall Street Journal Feb. 6, 2001.  That's a long way from home, literally and figuratively. Roy Carrier’s roots in rural Zydeco are about deep as anyone’s, extending back through the Carrière family to the beginnings of Creole music in the Lawtell-Opelousas area, where Clifton Chenier also grew up.  Today, according to the Journal, Roy Carrier and the Night Rockers are playing a circuit that usually includes Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., Baltimore, and New York.  In fact, six of the cuts on his 2001 CD Whiskey-Drinkin’ Man were recorded at a town hall in Maryland (and another album, Twist and Shout, was recorded at clubs in Washington, and he also recorded a live CD at the Buffalo Jambalaya Cajun and Zydeco Dance Camp in West Virginia, released through Right on Rhythm in Washington, D.C.). The band also travels just about everywhere else across the country, but home base for Roy Carrier remains his Offshore Lounge in Lawtell, a legendary Zydeco club where, from time to time during holidays, members of the extended Carrier family gather for a musical reunion.

Carrier first learned to play after his father bought an accordion from Cajun musician Nathan Abshire.  According to his account of his musical beginnings as transcribed by Michael Tisserand in Kingdom of Zydeco, Roy sneaked off with the accordion and played it in the barnyard, hoping his father would not find out. His father whipped him one time, but then decided to let him play.  Carrier, who can also play guitar, formed the first version of the Night Rockers when he was 14.  According to the Right on Rhythm biography, he lost half of his index finger in a farm machinery accident had to relearn the accordion by developing a unique technique of "crossing" chords. He did not purchase his own accordion until he was 25. For about 15 years, he supported his family by working as a offshore roughneck  in the oil industry. His seven-on, seven-off schedule still allowed him to find time to perform.  He purchased the club that became the Offshore Lounge in 1981. He organizes a zydeco festival there every year starting right after Christmas and extending through New Year's Day.

Carrier first began recording for producer Lee Lavergne in Church Point. His Lanor cassette, Rocking with Roy, was released in 1990, with material from the cassette also included in the 1991 CD Soulful Side of Zydeco, which also has songs by Joe Walker. Zydeco Strockin’ was released in 1995. Carrier’s CDs offer a good sampling of classic Zydeco sounds, at times rough and gritty, bluesy or joyous, but always with a strong, irresistible Zydeco rhythm. In addition to writing many of his own songs, he especially favors classic Clifton Chenier numbers, including, for example, on his 1998 release Offshore Blues and Zydeco, his versions of  “You Used to Call Me in the Morning” and “Black Snake Is in My Room.”  His 1997 release, Twist and Shout, includes “Bye Bye Black Girl,” based on Clifton Chenier’s 1966 “Black Gal” as played by Carrier’s father. On his 1996 Nasty Girls, he performs Chenier’s “I’m a Hog for You” and “Watch That Dog” by John Delafose, who was one of Carrier’s personal friends.

His 2001 CD Whiskey-Drinkin’ Man offers classic tunes like “Ti Garçon,” with French lyrics set to the music of “Jolie Blonde,” and “Co-Fé?” (“Quo’ Faire?”) based on John Delafose’s version. The CD also includes Carrier’s version of the all-time Zydeco hit “My Toot Toot” by Rockin’ Sidney. But the rest of the songs are all Carrier’s own. Whether pumping with energy as in “Boogie All Night” or rhythmically gliding along as in “Don’t You Leave Me,” the songs are all meant for dancing and partying.

Musicians on the Whiskey-Drinkin’ Man CD include Troy “Dikki Du” Carrier on drums, Kevin Carrier on bass, Russell Gordon on guitar, Wayne Kahn and Robert Lavern on rubboard.

Roy Carrier has attracted many ardent fans from all over, including Andy Grigg of Real Blues Magazine who has "declared Roy Carrier's band to be the best zydeco band."

For booking information, phone (337) 543-7180.

The color photos on this page were taken in Lawtell at the Crawfish Boat Festival to benefit the Lawtell Little League. It was a very warm April 2002 day. "If you're not sweatin', you're not doing the zydeco," Carrier says. On the baseball field in Lawtell, everyone was doing plenty of both. The black and white photos were taken at Slim's Y-Ki-Ki Club in Opelousas during a cable channel taping organized by Zydeco DJs John Broussard and Melvin Ceasar. The four accordionists are Zydeco Joe, Fernest Arceneaux, Roy Carrier, and Murphy Richard.

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All photographs and text by David Simpson.

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