SILVER SLIPPER LOUNGE
SILVER SLIPPER LOUNGE. Located in Houston’s Fifth Ward east of downtown, the Silver Slipper Lounge is one of the few remaining zydeco and blues music clubs in the city. Alfred Cormier opened the club in 1962 as Alfred’s Place, featuring local musicians six nights a week. Housed in a one-story indistinct Minimal Traditional style building on Crane Street and tucked into a residential neighborhood, the club took advantage of a burgeoning music style that was being marketed as zydeco. Zydeco was originally called la-la, and it was developed in southeastern Texas by African-American Creoles emigrating from Louisiana in the 1920s. It is a fast-tempo music style that mixes blues, Creole, and Cajun influences and is punctuated by musicians playing accordions and washboards. Early zydeco performers at the club included Clifton Chenier and Lightnin’ Hopkins.
With the increasing popularity and business in the late 1960s, Alfred Cormier bought the adjacent property and constructed an addition to the rear of the club. Zydeco had become a mainstream music style, and Alfred’s Place hosted many of the premier zydeco and blues musicians including Clarence Green, Floyd London, I. J. Gosey, and Joe “Guitar” Hughes, among others. Alfred Cormier’s daughter took over management after the business expansion and renamed it the Silver Slipper, installing a new sign in front of the establishment complete with a high-heel shoe and proclaiming “Welcome to the Silver Slipper. Try our fish and boudain.”
Alfred Cormier’s son Curley Cormier, who provided backing guitar for several musicians at local clubs in Houston, became proprietor of the Silver Slipper in 1973 and by the early 2000s had scaled back the club’s live performances to three nights a week. As of 2003 Curley Cormier performed with his own band on Saturday evenings at the club. By the 2010s the venue had had little alteration since the expansion in the 1960s, and its unassuming interior was relatively small with a stage, main aisle flanked by audience chairs, and a small dance floor.
Lawrence Clayton and Joe W. Specht. eds., The Roots of Texas Music. (College Station: Texas A & M University Press, 2003). “Frenchtown and the Silver Slipper,” Houstorian (http://houstorian.wordpress.com/2008/04/06/frenchtown-and-the-silver-slipper/), accessed December 20, 2008. Roger Wood, Down in Houston: Bayou City Blues (Austin: University of Texas Press, 2003). Roger Wood, “Southeast Texas: Hothouse of Zydeco,” Journal of Texas Music History (Fall 2001).