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Hackberry Ramblers musician Edwin Duhon dead at age 95

UPI News Service, 03/19/2006 

One of the oldest U.S. bands still playing with original members, the Hackberry Ramblers, has lost its founding accordionist, Edwin Duhon.

Duhon died Feb. 26 of natural causes in Westlake, La., at age 95, The Los Angeles Times reported.

Duhon and fiddler Luderin Darbone started the Hackberry Ramblers in southern Louisiana more than 70 years ago. Their timeless mixture of Cajun, western swing and Gulf Coast dance music had the group in later years entertaining audiences on "MTV Live," in Europe and Nashville's Grand Ole Opry.

Duhon performed in Baton Rouge, La., in November "even though he was playing in a wheelchair and it was difficult for him to go," drummer Ben Sandmel told the Times.

The Hackberry Ramblers introduced electronic amplifiers to southern Louisiana's dancehalls. Darbone bought a $50 sound system from a catalog and ran it off the battery of his idling car, since many of the dance halls didn't have electricity, the Times said.

The group recorded countless albums and received a Grammy nomination for 1997's "Deep Water."

Duhon and Darbone realized a lifelong dream in 1999, playing at the Grand Ole Opry. The group toured Europe in 2002 and debuted at Rhode Island's Newport Folk Festival.

Duhon and Darbone received a National Heritage Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts in Washington in 1999.

Duhon's wife, Cecile, died in 1981. His survivors include 10 children and a brother.

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Copyright 2006 by United Press International

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