Sunday, November 30, 2014

"Abbeville" - Jolly Boys of Lafayette

After 1933, Decca began looking to record more southern American music including hillbilly and Cajun music. Their A&R man, David Kapp, made pilgrimages through the south in areas such as Memphis, New Orleans, Dallas, San Antonio and Charlotte. He stated 
"In Dallas we got a lot of Cajuns coming in. I've seen some of those artists drive 500 miles in tumble-down cars to get an audition". 
One of those many Cajun bands was the Jolly Boys of Lafayette. Lafayette is a city in the heart of Cajun country. Composed of Leon "Crip" Credeur on fiddle and vocals, Joseph Fabacher on accordion and Francis "Red" Fabacher on guitar, they would travel to Dallas in 1937 and record 10 songs. Allegedly, Oran Doc Guidry claimed he and the band recorded earlier for Decca in 1934, however, there is no record of this in the Decca archives. 

S'en aller là bas à Abbeville

C'est pour voir ma chère mignonne petite veuve

Quelques jours passés, je lui ai envoyer une lettre

Elle m'a jamais renvoyé de ses nouvelles

Petit coeur tu connais t'auras du regret

D'avoir eu fait tous les misères que t'es après me faire

Mais oh y aïe moi j'connais tu vas pleurer
Tu vas pleurer, c'est pour ça que t'es après faire
Francis Fabacher

The Fabacher brothers descend from a Bavarian family that settled in the region during the 1870s. Joseph's German accordion would have been very familiar to the families older generation. One of the songs recorded included the country influenced entitled "Abbeville" (#17026), named after a town south of Lafayette. The tune is typical of the country-hillbilly sound which influenced Cajun music in the late 1930s. An old country-western tune called "Lonesome Pine", which Cleoma Breaux covered as "Pin Solitaire" in 1936, most likely was the influence.  The first recording of this melody as a Cajun tune was by the Guidry Brothers called "Le Garcon Negligent" in 1929.  The melody was previously recorded by her brothers the year before as "La Valse Du Bayou Plaquemine".  The melody would later influence "Alons Kooche Kooche" and "Grand Texastunes by Papa Cairo.  All of these tunes would lead to Hank Williams' "Jambalaya".

Going away to there Abbeville,
It's for my cute dear little widow,
Past few days, I've been sending letters,
She never sent me anything new.

Small heart, you know you'll regret this,
Having made me miserable after all of this,
But oh yaille, I know you're going to cry,
You're going to cry, it's what will happen.

In the same fashion, the group would also record the song "Jolie Brunette", a different take on the famous "Jole Blon" melody. The group didn't last and disbanded. Francis would later end up playing guitar with Happy Fats and both steel guitar and electric guitar with Harry Choates. Leon would later work with Leroy Broussard of the Happy-Go-Lucky Band.  Joe is believed to have played with Pee Wee Broussard and the Melody Boys.

  1. Louisiana Fiddlers By Ron Yule
  2. Billboard Magazine. Hotel Room Recording Studios. Apr 3, 1971.
  3. Lyrics by 'ericajun'
Cajun: Rare & Authentic (JSP, 2008)

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