Wednesday, October 1, 2014

"Ils La Volet Mon Trancas" - Cleoma Breaux

They Stole My Sled! After the depression, record companies began recording Cajun music again. In 1934, Joe Falcon and Cleoma Breaux would travel to San Antonio and record an old Creole tune entitled "Ils La Volet Mon Trancas" for Bluebird (#B-2191). This tune would be later renamed "Hippy Ti Yo" or "Hip Et Taiau".  Later that year, the Breaux Brothers would record the same melody as the tune "T'as vole mon chapeau" (Vocalion 02961).

In the film "American Patchwork", Alan Lomax makes a loose claim stating cowboys from Texas heard the phrase being used as they drove their cattle across the Cajun prairies to be sold in New Orleans. He makes the assumption that this phrase is the origins of the call "Whoopie Ti Yi Yo". Author Raymond E. Francois describes a different origin. The french word "Huppe", used colloquially, means clever while "taiaut" comes from the English shout tally-ho, and refers to a hound dog, thus "clever hounds".1

Ils la volé mon traîneau, chere,
Ils la volé mon traîneau, chere,
Quand ils ont vu j'étais fou, chere
Ils rapporté mon traîneau,
Ils la volé mon chapeau, chere,
Ils la volé mon chapeau, chere,
Quand ils ont vu j'étais fou, chere
Ils rapporté mon traîneau,
C'est Hip et Taiau les chiens,
Ils la volé mon traîneau, chere,
Quand ils ont vu j'étais fou, chere
Ils rapporté mon traîneau.

Cleoma sings this Cajun tune and Joe plays the accordion. In a 1962 interview with Lauren Post, Joe explains he used accordionist Sidney Babineaux's song about a couple of dogs, Hip and Taiaud, who prowl about stealing things. Regardless, it would be Joe and Cleoma to record the first version of this melody which would later influence many other songs, including Harry Choates' 1947 tune, Hackberry Hop and Clarence Garlow's 1953 rockabilly tune called "Route 90". Later, it would be the basis for Clifton Chenier's "Zydeco Sont Pas Sale".

They stole my sled, dear,
They stole my sled, dear
When they saw I was crazy, dear
They brought my sled,
They stole my hat, dear,
They stole my hat, dear,
When they saw I was crazy, dear
They brought my sled,
It's the Hip and Taiau dogs
They stole my sled, dear
When they saw I was crazy, dear
They brought my sled.

On the record's flip side is "La Fille A Oncle Elair". A song about an unknown uncle Hilaire and his beautiful daughters. Each daughter is different but none of them will replace the lonliness he has for his love.






  1. Ye Yaille Chere, Traditional Cajun Dance Music by Raymond E. François
  2. http://www.pbs.org/americanrootsmusic/pbs_arm_saa_lomax.html
Find:
Louisiana Cajun Music Vol. 2: The Early 30s (Old Timey/Arhoolie, 1971)
Cajun Louisiane 1928-1939 (Frémeaux, 2003)
Prends Donc Courage - Early Black & White Cajun (Swamp Music Vol. VI) (Trikont, 2005)

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