In 1946 Clifton (on accordion) and Cleveland (on rub-board) join Clarence Barlow's band but the following year they form their own band.
Clifton records his first single, 'Louisiana Stomp' / 'Cliston Blues'. It is released in 1954 on the Elko label and in 1955 he records 'Boppin' the Rock' / 'Ay-Tete Fee' for the Specialty label in Los Angeles, in 1957 he records for the Chess's Checker label.
Now back in Louisiana, he records for the Zynn label in 1959. His music continues to move closer to the blues.
Clifton comes to the attention of Chris Strachwitz of Arhoolie Recors in 1964. It is the beginning of a long and fruitful association and the following year his debut album, Louisiana Blues & Zydeco is released on that label.
He appears at the Berkeley Blues Festival in 1966, Bon Ton Roulet, with his uncle Morris on the fiddle, is released by Arhoolie in 1967.
Clifton appears at the 1969 Newport Folk Festival and the Ann Arbor Blues Festival and tours Europe with the American Folk Blues Festival.
American film maker Les Blank features Clifton in is film Dry Wood and Hot Pepper in 1973.
Clifton and his Red Hot Louisiana Band play the 1974 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival.
Bogalusa Boogie, another Arhoolie album, receives rave reviews in 1975, and Clifton plays the Montreux Festival.
I'm Here! wins a Grammy in 1984.
Clifton Chenier dies in 1987, after battling diabetes for several years, in Lafayette, Louisiana.
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