Boozoo Chavis Dead At 70
Zydeco pioneer Boozoo Chavis died Saturday in Austin, Texas, six days after suffering both a heart attack and stroke. He was 70. Born Wilson Anthony Chavis, the artist scored what is considered the fiZydeco pioneer Boozoo Chavis died Saturday in Austin, Texas, six days after suffering both a heart attack and stroke. He was 70. Born Wilson Anthony Chavis, the artist scored what is considered the first zydeco hit single with 1954's "Paper in My Shoes."
He has been quoted as saying that he "got gypped" out of the proceeds from the song; in fact, he was so frustrated over the alleged mishandling of royalties that he boycotted the record industry for 30 years, during which time he trained race horses. He returned to music in the mid-'80s and record several albums for the Maison de Soul label and five for Rounder Records.
He wrapped sessions on his sixth Rounder album just three weeks ago; the label says it will issue the as-yet-untitled set this year. Chavis and his band, Magic Sounds, were known as a hard-touring act and were regulars at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival.
Despite recording and touring, Chavis was not a well-off musician. A note on the artist's official Web site requests "anyone interested in supporting Boozoo's family to offset high medical bills and funeral expenses to send donations payable to Leona Chavis, Boozoo's wife of 50 years." Donations can be sent to 115 Petah Street, Lake Charles, LA 70607.
Cards and well wishes can be sent to Johnson's Funeral Home (Lake Street, Lake Charles, LA 70607).