Rockin' Dopsie

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Rockin' Dopsie
Srowned Prince.jpg
The cover for Rockin' Dopsie's 1986 Crowned Prince of Zydeco (Maison de Soul)
Background information
Birth nameAlton Jay Rubin
Born(1932-02-10)February 10, 1932
Carencro, Louisiana, United States
DiedAugust 26, 1993(1993-08-26) (aged 61)
Opelousas, Louisiana, U.S.
Occupation(s)Musician, composer, singer
InstrumentsAccordion, vocals
Years active1970–1992
LabelsSonet, Maison de Soul, Rounder, GNP Crescendo, Atlantic
Associated actsRockin' Dopsie and the Twisters

Alton Jay Rubin (February 10, 1932 – August 26, 1993),[1] who performed as Rockin' Dopsie (sometimes Rockin' Dupsee), was an American zydeco singer and accordion player who enjoyed popular success first in Europe and later in the United States.[2]


He was born in Carencro, Louisiana, United States,[3] the son of Walter Rubin, who played accordion at local dances. Alton Rubin's first language was Louisiana Creole French. He was given his first accordion at the age of 14, and, being left-handed, learned to play it upside down. He began performing at local parties, and soon outstripped his father's abilities. He moved with his parents to Lafayette, Louisiana at the age of 19, and began playing in clubs in the mid-1950s with his cousin Chester Zeno on washboard. He took his stage name from a visiting dancer called Doopsie (and pronouncing his own name the same way).[4] At the same time, he continued with his day job, eventually becoming an electrical contractor.[2]

Dopsie played music for dancing, assimilating R&B influences into zydeco and sometimes covering R&B hits in a zydeco style.[3] He performed around Louisiana, and recorded occasionally for small independent labels in the 1950s and 1960s. In 1976 he appeared at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, and was signed by the Swedish record label Sonet, who issued his first album, Doin' The Zydeco, in 1976.[3] Starting in 1979, he toured Europe regularly with his group, the Twisters, and his popularity there led to him recording a string of albums for Sonet in the late 1970s and early 1980s.[2][5]

In the 1980s, he started to gain attention in the US. He played accordion on the zydeco-influenced song "That Was Your Mother" on Paul Simon's Graceland album in 1986.[3] He recorded the album Crowned Prince Of Zydeco in 1987.[5] His final album in 1991, Louisiana Music, received a Grammy Award nomination.[4] Dopsie also recorded with Bob Dylan and Cyndi Lauper, and in 1992 appeared in the film Delta Heat.[2]

He died from a heart attack in 1993, aged 61.[4]


Since his death, his band, The Twisters, has continued to perform. Now led by his son Dopsie Jr. (accordionist, vocalist and washboard player),[3] with another son Alton Jr., on drums, the band is called Rockin' Dopsie, Jr. & The Zydeco Twisters.[6] Dopsie's younger son Dwayne also plays accordion and leads his own band, Dwayne Dopsie & the Zydeco Hellraisers.

Dopsie was related to professional tennis championship player Chanda Rubin.[citation needed]


"I'm the only man in the world that plays the accordion upside-down," Rockin' Dopsie said. "It's all because daddy didn't taught me how to play. I just picked it up."[7]


Studio and live albums[edit]

Album title Record label Stock number Release year
Doin' the Zydeco Sonet SNTF 718 1976
Rockin' Dopsie & The Twisters Rounder (licensed from Sonet) 6012 1977
Zy-De-Blue Sonet SNTF 761 1978
Hold On Sonet SNTF 800 1979
GNP Crescendo GNPS 2156 1983
Big Bad Zydeco Sonet SNTF 851 1980
French Style Sonet SNTF 872 1981
Rockin' Dupsee (The Legendary Jay Miller Sessions, vol. 30, recorded 1970-74) Flyright (U.K.) FLY-592 1983
Good Rockin' Sonet SNTF-905 1983
GNP Crescendo GNPS-2167 1984
Crowned Prince of Zydeco Sonet SNTF 982 1986
Maison de Soul MdS-1020 1986
Saturday Night Zydeco Sonet SNTCD 1003 1988
Maison de Soul LP-1025 / MdS-CD-104 1988 (re-released on CD in 1989)
Zy-De-Co-In' Sonet SNTCD 1035 1989
Gazell Productions GCCD 3003 1989
Clifton Chenier & Rockin' Dupsee Flyright FLYCD 17 1989
Paula Records PCD-17 1991
Louisiana Music Atlantic 82307-2 1991
Rockin' Dopsie and The Zydeco Twisters In New Orleans Storyville STCD 8052 2001

Singles and EPs[edit]

Song title(s) Album title Record label Stock number Release year Note(s)
"Please Come Back Home" / "Don't Let The Green Grass Fool You" <unknown> Blues Unlimited Records 2001 1974 7", 45 RPM
"Hold On (To That Tiger)" / "Baby Bye Bye" Hold On Blues Unlimited 2013 1979 7", 45 RPM
"My Baby She's Gone" / "Ma Negresse" / "Lucille" <unknown> Sonet SON 2191 1979 7" EP, 45 RPM
"My Baby She's Gone" / "Opelousas Waltz" <unknown> Blues Unlimited 2016 1980 7", 45 RPM
"Oh Negresses" / "Sweetest Thing In The World" <unknown> Blues Unlimited 1000 <unknown> 7", 45 RPM
"Woman I Don't Want Your Troubles" / "Things I Used To Do" <unknown> Blues Unlimited 2000 <unknown> 7", 45 RPM
"I Need Your Love" / "A Lil' Bon Temps" <unknown> Bon Temps Records 45-6801 <unknown> Side A vocals by Gene Morris; 7", 45 RPM
"Pushin' & Pullin' " / "Who's Loving You Tonite" <unknown> Bon Temps 45-6802 <unknown> 7", 45 RPM
"Hound Dog" / "Shopick Two Step" <unknown> Maison de Soul MDS-1016 <unknown> 7", 45 RPM

Various artist compilation albums[edit]

Album title Record label Stock number Release year Song title(s)
Zydeco Blues Flyright (U.K.) LP 539 1978 "Blues"
Louisiana Explosive Blues Maison de Soul LP-1006 1981 "Who's Loving You Tonite"
Zydeco Blues, vol. 2: The Legendary Jay Miller Sessions Flyright (U.K.) FLY 600 1984 "You Told Me"
"Run Here To Me Baby"
"Sweetest Thing In The World"
Louisiana Blues Jin Records ; Ace (U.K.) CH 211 1987 "Who's Loving You Tonite"
Zydeco Festival Maison de Soul MdS LP 1024 ; MdS-CD-101 1988 "Old Time Zydeco"
Kings of Zydeco: Black Creole Music from the Deep South Trikont (Germany) CD-0158-2 1989 "Who's Loving You"
"Pushin' & Pullin' "
Rockin' Accordion Flyright FLY 622 1989 "Everyday I Have The Blues"
101 Proof Zydeco Maison de Soul MDS 1030 1989 "Dopsie's Cajun Stomp"
Alligator Stomp Rhino R2 70946 1990 "Colinda"
"Old Time Zydeco"
Sea of Love: Louisiana Bayou Hits, 1950's-1960's P-Vine Records (Japan) PCD-2137 1990 "Who's Lovin' You Tonight?"
Swamp Stomp!: a Cajun and Zydeco Sampler Rounder PR-1002 1990 <unknown>
Alligator Stomp: Cajun & Zydeco Classics, Vol. 2 Rhino R2 70740 1991 "Mardi Gras in New Orleans"
Cajun & Zydeco Mardi Gras! Maison de Soul MdS CD-1044 1992 "Mardi Gras in New Orleans"
Zydeco Party Ace (UK.) ; Swallow Records CDCHD 430 1992 "Dopsie's Cajun Stomp"
"Shake Rattle and Roll"
C.T. Gator Presents A Zydeco Dance Party GNP Crescendo GNPD 2220 1993 "Zydeco Round The World"
"They All Ask For You"
"My Baby's She's Gone"
Kings of Cajun, Vol. II: 21 More Stomps From The Swamp Music Club (U.K.) MCCD 116 1993 "My Baby She's Gone"
"Ma Negresse"
Best of Cajun Classics, Vol. II: Cajun & Zydeco's Greatest Artists Mardi Gras Records MG 1010 1994 "I'm In The Mood Baby"
"Why You Do The Things You Do"
Absolutely The Best Of Cajun & Zydeco Fuel 2000 ; Varèse Sarabande Records FLD1041 1999 "Zydeco Around The World"
Absolutely The Best Of Cajun & Zydeco, vol. II Fuel 2000 ; Varèse Sarabande 302 061 114 2 2000 "Run Here To Me Baby"
Zydeco Hot Tracks, vol. 2 Maison de Soul VMS-7007 2002 "Old Time Zydeco"
Hypnotic Cajun & Obscure Zydeco 2 Moi J'Connais Records (Switzerland) MJCR029 2015 "Doin' The Zydeco"

Guest appearance credits[edit]

Album title Artist(s) Record label Stock number Release year Instrument
Ready The Blues Band Arista BB2 1980 accordion
The Blowin' Man John Hart Sonet SNTF 844 1981 accordion
Graceland Paul Simon Warner Bros. 9 25447-2 1986 accordion
A Night To Remember Cyndi Lauper Epic EK 44318 1989 accordion
Oh Mercy Bob Dylan Columbia CK 45281 1989 accordion

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Eagle, Bob; LeBlanc, Eric S. (2013). Blues - A Regional Experience. Santa Barbara: Praeger Publishers. p. 383. ISBN 978-0313344237.
  2. ^ a b c d Sandra Brennan. "Rockin' Dopsie | Biography & History". AllMusic. Retrieved October 6, 2015.
  3. ^ a b c d e Colin Larkin, ed. (1997). The Virgin Encyclopedia of Popular Music (Concise ed.). Virgin Books. p. 1024. ISBN 1-85227-745-9.
  4. ^ a b c "Rockin' Dopsie, 61, A Master of Zydeco With His Own Style", The New York Times, August 27, 1993. Retrieved 26 November 2016
  5. ^ a b "Rockin' Dopsie", Donald Clarke Music. Retrieved 26 November 2016
  6. ^ "Rockin' Dopsie Jr & The Zydeco Twisters". Retrieved October 6, 2015.
  7. ^ Russell, Tony (1997). The Blues – From Robert Johnson to Robert Cray. Dubai: Carlton Books Limited. p. 160. ISBN 1-85868-255-X.

External links[edit]