Friday, November 21, 2014

"La Valse Crowley" - Cleoma Breaux

In 1934, after the depression, record labels began recording Cajun music again. By August, Joe and Cleoma were in San Antonio and in December, they were on their way to New York City. They accompanied Amede Ardoin on a bus for a recording session with Decca. When they reached Hoboken, New Jersey, they boarded a ferry to cross the icy Hudson River. As the ferry crossed, it began to sink, with water filling up the bus. In the darkness, Cleoma's thoughts were on her daughter and began to think she'd never see her daughter again. After they were rescued, both of them arrived at the studio. Cleoma collected her emotions and wrote them into a song for her daughter: "La Valse Crowley" (#17006).  

Oh, ma chère ‘tite fille, 

Moi j’connais, j’suis si loin de toi mon nègre.

Ca me fait faire dans la peine de t’quitter,

Pour venir si loin de toi, malheureuse.

Prends courage, oui ma chère ‘tite fille,

Moi j’après m’en aller pour te r’joindre.

Tu connais, toi t’es bien soignée,

Mais j’peux pas m’empêcher d’m’ennuyer.

Moi j’après m’en aller de te r’joindre,

Prends courage, chère ‘tite fille, prends courage.

Moi j’après m’en aller, oui te r’joindre,
Ca s’ra pas longtemps, oui ma chère ‘tite fille.

Separately, Amede Ardoin recorded for Decca during the same session.  Twelve songs were recorded the session; location mistakenly listed as New Orleans, however, both the Breaux and the Ardoin family recall the session being in NYC.  Cleoma was from the town of Crowley, Louisiana and it's the town where both her and Joe settled after they got married.  The melody would later become the basis for the "Eunice Waltz" and Elise Deshotel's "La Vase De Temper Tate".   It even influenced Aldus Roger's recording of "Lafayette Playboys Waltz". 

Oh, my dear lil girl

I know I'm so far from you.

It makes me sorry to have left,

I've gone so far away from you, I'm unhappy.

Take care, my dear, please lil girl

After all of this, I will be with you.

I know you are well cared for

But I can not help but be lonely.

After all of this, I will be with you.

Take care, dear lil girl, take care.

After all of this, I will be with you.
It won't be long, yes, my dear lil girl.

  1. Louisiana Women: Their Lives and Times edited by Janet Allured
Cajun Early Recordings (JSP, 2004)
Prends Donc Courage - Early Black & White Cajun (Swamp Music Vol. VI) (Trikont, 2005)

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