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'Crazy Cajun,' a pioneering music producer, dies; career tarnished by child sex crimes

Michael Corcoran

Huey P. Meaux, "the Crazy Cajun" whose legendary career producing the Sir Douglas Quintet, Freddy Fender and many more was tarnished irrevocably by sex crime convictions, died Saturday morning. He was 82.

Meaux was born in Louisiana, but after a stint in the Army, he opened a barbershop in Winnie, near Port Arthur. He produced the swamp pop classic "Breaking Up is Hard to Do" by Jivin' Gene (Bourgeois) in his barbershop. Meaux also discovered Barbara Lynn and produced "You'll Lose a Good Thing."

Singer Roy Head called him "a metal detector in the business," according to the Houston Chronicle. "If it weren't for Huey Meaux, you wouldn't have heard of many of the Texas singers you know. If you were in Amarillo, he'd find you. If you had any talent at all, he'd find you."

During the Beatles-led British Invasion, Meaux reportedly locked himself in a motel room listening to that music and dissecting the sound. Then he persuaded a San Antonio kid named Doug Sahm to pretend he was British. "She's About a Mover" was a big hit in 1965, but the ruse was up when the Sir Douglas Quintet showed up on TV with three Hispanic members.

Through Sahm, Meaux connected with Fender and had his greatest success in 1974 with Fender's huge crossover hits "Before the Last Teardrop Falls" and "Wasted Days and Wasted Nights."

But there was a darker side to Meaux. In 1996, a police raid of the producer's Sugar Hill studio in Houston turned up evidence of child pornography and Polaroids of sex with underage females.

Meaux pleaded guilty to sexual assault of a child and possession of child pornography, and was sentenced to 15 years in prison. According to the Chronicle, he was released in 2007 and lived in Winnie in failing health.

mcorcoran@statesman.com; 445-3652