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Living Legends

Chester Isaac "Pee Wee" Broussard *
Inducted on March 10, 2012

Chester Isaac "Chester Isaac 'Pee Wee' Broussard' was born in Henderson, Louisiana on February 20, 1920 into a musical Cajun family. His father, Sosthène Broussard, played mandolin and clarinet as well as accordion, while his grandfather played accordion and fiddle. Two brothers played guitar: Jules played rhythm (and was a member of Pee Wee's Melody Boys not long after recording these sides), and Jim played 4-string guitar.

By the time he was nine years old, young Pee Wee used to go and sit in his neighbor's field and listen to them playing the accordion. He learned to play on his father's instrument and by the time he was twelve he was playing at local fais do-dos, where they would pass a hat at the end of the evening and then he would make $2 -$3 per night: "that was big money back then!," as he told Johnnie Allan (personal communication).

Ned Guilbeau, a DJ on a New Iberia radio station, arranged Pee Wee's first session at J.D. Miller's studio at the old M&S Electrical Shop on North Parkerson Street in Crowley, as he liked Pee Wee's playing. There were two sessions: the first in 1952 produced The Waltz that Carried Me to My Grave, as a tribute to his wife who had recently died, The Pee Wee Special, Chere Tu Tu, and Creole Stomp. The second session, which showed that the first two 78s must have sold well enough to please both Miller and Pee Wee, produced La Valse du Bayou Blanc and a tribute to Miller's little shop/studio, M&S Special. For the sessions Pee Wee's Melody Boys comprised himself on accordion, Kaiser Perez on fiddle, Walter Guidry on steel guitar, one Johnson on rhythm guitar, and Nathan Latiolais on drums.

Pee Wee Broussard continued to record, cutting both for George Khoury in Lake Charles and Carol Rachou in Lafayette, while he continued his day job as an automobile mechanic at Charlie Lamar's Mechanic Shop in Lafayette... Although he played the accordion on Miller's releases, he also played fiddle, steel and rhythm guitar, and upright bass.."

I was thrilled to see Pee Wee perform on fiddle with Aldus Roger at the Breaux Bridge Crawfish Festival some years ago. Truly some legendary musicians. I wish I knew more about them.

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