Pioneering blues, zydeco guitarist Paul "Lil' Buck" Sinegal dies at 75

Paul “‘Lil’ Buck’ Sinegal was a blues and zydeco pioneer whose guitar graced stages with some of the greats of both genres. Here he is shown performing at the Ponderosa Stomp, an annual revue of artists from the early days of rock and roll, where he was a staple.

The Acadiana music community is grieving the loss of one of its own after learning that Paul “Lil’ Buck” Sinegal, a pioneering blues and zydeco guitarist who worked with Clifton Chenier, Rockin; Dopsie and Stanley “Buckwheat” Dural, was found dead at his Lafayette home Monday morning. He was 75.

Born toward the end of World War II, Sinegal learned guitar as a child, developing his talent to the point that he was playing with artists like Carol Fran, Lee Dorsey and Joe Tex while still in his teens. He later worked as a session artist for Excello Records, a Nashville-based blues label, where he honed his chops alongside bluesmen like Slim Harpo and Lazy Lester, artists he would run into throughout his career.

After some solo instrumentals in the early 1960s, Sinegal joined the band of zydeco pioneer Clifton Chenier in 1969, touring the world as Chenier’s popularity — and that of zydeco — exploded.

After his tenure with Chenier, Sinegal toured the world with Dural’s Buckwheat Zydeco and Rockin’ Dopsie and the Zydeco Twisters. Throughout the time, however, he was always in Acadiana. Any given night could find him playing at clubs and dancehalls across the region, lending his guitar’s unique voice to the evening.

He was also a mentor to other musicians, giving lessons to some of the area’s current roster of artists. Both guitarist, songwriter and producer C.C. Adcock and his brother, keyboard and organ ace Eric Adcock, learned from him, as did myriad other up-and-coming players. In the 1990s, he founded the Cowboy Stew Blues Revue with C.C. Adcock.

He has also been a recurring fixture on stages at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival and the Ponderosa Stomp, a tribute to the early artists of rock and roll held each year in new Orleans.

In recent years, he was involved with the Blue Monday Concert Series in Lafayette, which was established to benefit local musicians.

As of deadline Monday night no arrangements for Sinegal’s funeral have been announced.

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