Thursday, August 21, 2014

"My Sweetheart Run Away" - Segura Brothers

In 1928, after Columbia's success with the first Cajun recording,"Allons a Lafayette", the company decided to start producing Cajun records on their new "Arcadian French" series starting with #40500-F (#90000 for Okeh copies). The re-issued records on Okeh are somewhat a mystery to me.  It also seems that the Columbia labels were prominent in the south while the Okeh label was extremely scarce.  The first one they issued was by two brothers, Dewey and Edier (or "Eddie") Segura, known as the Segura Brothers

J'ai rouler, j'ai tracé toute la nuit , chère

J'ai pleuré, j'ai prié oui pour toi.

Tu connais tous les jours tu t'éloignes, chère,

Tu t'éloignes, oui de moi, malheureuse.

Dis bye bye à ton papa, ta maman, chère

Pour t'en venir dans mes bras, dans ma chambre.

Dans ma chambre, dans mon lit pour la vie, chère,
Tu connais tous les jours tu t'éloignes.

Oh beau-frère(?), oh beau-frère(?), viens donc ma voir, cher, 
Dans mourir au Bayou Teche, oh beau-frère(?).
Tout ma famille est tout contre moi, mais malheureuse, cher,
Tous les jours je m'en va pour toujours.

Dewey Segura and Eddie Segura

Dewey read in a newspaper on his way to Port Arthur, Texas, during a whiskey run, that recording companies were recording Cajun music in New Orleans. A relative that had connections at Columbia helped get Dewey on the end-of-year schedule.1 On December 16, 1928, Dewey, with his accordion and his brother Eddie on vocals and fiddle, recorded two records for Columbia in New Orleans. The record "Bury Me in a Corner of the Yard" was Columbia's first in their series of "Acadian French" music. The B-side song "My Sweetheart Run Away" was mislabeled (due to confusion between Dewey and the recording engineers) and would later become the song "La Valse de Bayou Teche" recorded Nathan Abshire and others.  It was an old melody that also loosely influenced Joe Falcon's "Je Suis Se Seul", Bixy Guidry's "La Valse Du Bayou" and the Breaux Brother's "La Valse des Pins" the following year. The song has a simple rhythm lead by an accordion and triangle.   Melodies like this influenced later songs such as Abe Manuel's "I've Got Your Heart Locked Up" and Joe Bonsall's "Hack A Moreau". 

I rode, I drove all night, dear

I cried, I prayed for you, yeh,

You know, every day you were away, my dear,

You were far away, yeh, ya hear.

Say bye bye to your dad, your mom, dear

Come into my arms, in my room.

In my room, in my bed, forever, dear,
You know, every day you were far away.

Oh brother-in law(?), oh brother-in-law(?), come and see, my dear,
To die in the Bayou Teche, oh brother-in-law(?).
All my family is against me, oh, ya hear, dear,
Every day, so I'm leaving forever.

Deciphering corrupted French phrases and vernacular can be very challenging. In the 3rd verse, he could be calling out his brother-in-law, exuding a sense of exasperation, or referring to someone's name.  "J'ai tracé" refers to "making tracks" or "driving".  The phrase "mais malheureuse" directly translates to "but i'm unhappy" however, in Cajun vernacular, it is more jargon along the lines of "ya know what I'm sayin" or "ya hear that";  something that would be called out after a line to make the verse more "bluesy".  The brothers would record one more time in New Orleans the following year.  Since many of the engineers didn't know the Cajun lyrics, they told the duo:
"We don't know what you're singing. We ask you just one thing: Don't sing anything dirty".  

  1. Brasseaux, Ryan Andre (2009). "Cajun Breakdown: The Emergence of an American-Made Music". Oxford University Press.
  3. Lyrics by Marc C and Eric D
Cajun: Rare & Authentic (JSP, 2008)
Cajun Music, The Pretty Girls Don't Want Me (Firefly, 2012)

Cajun Swamp Stomp, Vol 1 (Lumi, 2012)

1 comment:

  1. Not real familiar with Cajun jargon, but in contemporary French beau frère is step brother...


Got info? Pics? Feel free to submit.