2 decades later, Lil Buck gets Hall of Fame award
LAFAYETTE, La. (AP) — Paul “Lil Buck Sinegal refers to the shotgun shack on St. Charles Street, where he was born 74 years ago, as the “Real House of Blues.” Pictures, posters and backstage passes from his 60 years of worldwide tours with zydeco king Clifton Chenier, Rockin’ Dopsie and other musicians line the walls.
Nearly every day, musicians stop by for blues guitar lessons, jams, memories and if they’re lucky, a round of Bud Lite. Lil Buck likes to talk to the spirits in the house, too.
After his daily trips to 6 a.m. Mass, he may sit by a funeral program for the late Stanley Dural Jr. He’ll say a prayer for his dear friend, leader of the Grammy- and Emmy-winning band Buckwheat Zydeco.
Lil Buck has warned visitors that his father comes over to visit, even though he’s buried in the Immaculate Heart of Mary cemetery across the street.
“I tell them guys every now and then, my daddy will walk in here,” said Sinegal. “The door will move (by itself), but that’s my daddy just coming makes the rounds to see what we’re doing.
“Those cats say ‘I’m out of here.’ But he comes.”
Lil Buck has a new souvenir for the visiting spirits. He recently received the framed certificate marking his induction into the La. Blues Hall of Fame.
Signed by then-Gov. Mike Foster, the certificate shows that Lil Buck was inducted Dec. 13, 1999. But the award didn’t arrive until almost two decades later.
What took so long? Lil Buck’s not worried.
He said Gary (last name unknown), a musician from Lake Charles, called two to three months ago to say he had the award. Gary delivered it July 14.
“I’m glad to have it,” said Lil Buck. “It took a while. It was there but nobody knew about it, I guess.”
The honor is another highlight in the storied career of one of Lafayette’s most cherished musicians — who remains largely unknown outside music circles. According to the liner notes of his “Bad Situation” CD, Lil Buck has played guitar on more than 300 recordings in each decade since the 1950s.
Those recordings include Chenier’s heralded “Bogalusa Boogie” album, a Grammy Hall of Fame entry, and Paul Simon’s “Graceland,” the 1987 Album of the Year and a 16-million seller.
In September, singer and guitarist Barbara Lynn will receive a National Heritage Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, the nation’s highest honor for folk artists. Lynn insisted Lil Buck and band play in her Washington, D.C. performances.
“She told that lady, ’That’s the only band that I can just walk on the stage and play,” said Lil Buck. “I don’t have to worry about it.
″’With the other bands, we have to practice all day. Please call Lil Buck to back me up.
Despite the praise from musicians and fans, Lil Buck is almost a stranger in his hometown. Most weekends, he’s performing somewhere in the world. Yet, he’ll still hear in town, “Lil Buck, you still playing?”
But with his jams with friends, travels, backyard garden and daily Mass, Lil Buck has few complaints about his quiet life.
“I still want to do what I’m doing. I’ll sit down, talk to you. Play some music. Drink a little Bud Lite.
“But just two a day. That’s all. Two a day, keep the doctor away.”