RIP: Clarence “Jockey” Etienne: Hit Record Cardboard Box Drumming

Funeral services set for drummer ‘Jockey’ Etienne
Herman Fuselier, hfuselier@gannett.com
4:13 p.m. CDT August 17, 2015

B9318488549Z.1_20150817171310_000_G4FBLFKGG.1-0Funeral services…for Clarence “Jockey” Etienne, a legendary zydeco and R&B drummer who died Sunday.

With more than 50 years as a musician, Etienne, 81, played with Fernest and the Thunders, the Creole Zydeco Farmers, Lazy Lester, Carol Fran, Katie Webster and more recently, Lil Band O’ Gold. In the 1960s, Etienne toured with R&B greats Solomon Burke and Joe Simon and played drums on “Nine Pound Steel,” “Choking Kind” and other Simon recordings.

Etienne, known for his rhumba beat, was a studio musician at J. D. Miller’s famed studio in Crowley, which produced national and regional hits for Slim Harpo, Guitar Gable and many others. In the studio’s meager beginnings, Etienne played a cardboard box on Harpo’s “Scratch My Back,” which became a No. 1 Billboard R&B hit in 1966.

The cardboard box drumming became his signature, said longtime friend and blues guitarist Paul “Lil Buck” Sinegal.

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