His first band, Walker Brothers, consisted of himself on either accordion or violin and his brother Elton on violin. In 1929, they would record for Brunswick in Dallas and in 1935, record for Bluebird (later Montgomery Ward) in New Orleans. He appeared at the National Folk Festival in Dallas in 1936.
However, Lawrence is credited by many for developing what came to be called "new style" Cajun music in the 1950s. Walker's father, Allen, was a popular fiddler and introduced Walker to Cajun music. A demanding bandleader, he tightened arrangements and smoothed the sound of his Wandering Aces, especially reducing the syncopation in his own accordion style. Walker was a perfectionist, who relentlessly drove his band to higher standards. He would eventually initiate contact with the record-men of the area, certain of his ability to sell records. He would record Reno Waltz again in 1961 for La Louisiane, however, this time he used different lyrics and replaced the steel guitar with a smooth dueling fiddle ride.
Oui la place que moi, j'voudrais mourir
C'est dans les bras, de mon bébé
Demander pardon, pour ça que j'ai fait
là je serais d'accord de m'en aller, mais pour toujours
Quand je va mourir, j'aimerais que tu viens
Fermer mes yeux bébé, pour moi j'en va
Pour moi j'en va, mais pour toujours
Comme tu connais ça, c'est dur pour moi je l'aime
Later he would record for Swallow Records. After Lawrence died unexpedly of heart failure, his fiddler, Lionel Leleux requested his friend Don Montoucet to fill in for the rest of their musical engagements. Uneasy about filling in, Lionel just told him:That's the place that I want to dieIn the arms of my loved oneI ask your forgiveness for what I've doneI'd even agree to go away foreverWhen I will dieI want you to comeClose my eyes for me, little babyFor me, i'm going away forever,You know, it makes me sadFor I'm in love
Oh don't worry about a thing. Just do it like old Lawrence used to and everything will be just fine.In 2014, the University of Louisiana at Lafayette and LouisianaDancehalls.com posted a rare 1950s film of people dancing at the Reno Club.
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