Wednesday, January 7, 2015

"Parting Waltz" - Iry Lejeune

After six months recording his first record with Virgil Bozeman and the Oklahoma Tornados in Houston for Eddie Shuler's Goldband label, Iry Lejeune (spelled LeJune) returned home.  There, he would meet Ed Shuler and together they would begin a series of Cajun recordings for his Folkstar label, including one entitled "Parting Waltz" (#1198) in 1955.  Shuler commonly added his name to the list of song credits, in order to maximize his royalties on any song's popularity, however it's generally believed Iry wrote everything he recorded.  It's commonly referred to as "La Valse De Separation".

Oh chère! 

Oh oh catin, ton papa et ta maman t'a toujours dit: 

t'es pas capable d'aller ta chercher 

j'ai dis quoi faire, même moi si je connais pas

Hey ah ah !

Oh toi tous les soirs, t'es là après chère, ma guetter
À ta fenêtre me dire quoi faire t'es après faire
Tout ça, juste rapporte que ton papa.

Oh fait pas ça!

Oh rappelle toi toutes ces paroles
Toutes ces paroles que tu m'as dit avant d'partir
Tu m'as fait des accroires t'allais venir
C'est pas la peine que moi je t'espère.

(Hey petite fille!)

Based on Amede Ardoin's "La Valse De Amities", several of the phrases are difficult to discern.  The term "accroires" is similar to the phrase "fais croire" which means "believe", however, it is seldom used in France.5  Most of the recordings afterward were made at the artists's home south of Lacassine.  Shuler recalls:
We would take the tap recorder (after they came out) and set it on the table in the kitchen. 
Eddie Shuler
Folk Star was Shuler's attempt to record "folk" music.
I intended that to be a folk type of music label because that's what I termed Cajun music as: folk music.  I decided that  I’d have those kind of songs on my folk label. On top of that, if I had them all on Goldband, when I’d go out to the jukebox operators, they could only buy so many copies of one label. So I started this other label, so then I’d have two labels to get on the jukeboxes. That’s how I wound up with all those other labels. And, in later years, I found out that it worked the same way with radio stations. They could only play so many of one company’s records. So, I said, "Well, I’ll give them other labels, and they won’t know they’re mine." So that’s what I did. 

(Hey dear!)

Oh you, doll, 
Your papa and your mom 
Always told you 
That I am not capable 
Of going to get you. 
It is just because 
You don't know me.

Hey ah ah!

Oh, all night long 
You are there watching, dear, 
At your window, I can tell what you are doing 
All that is just because of you papa.

(Oh, don't do that!)

Oh, remember all those words 
All those words that you told me before leaving. 
You made me believe that you would come back. 
It's no use that I wait for you.

Hey little girl!
According to some, the fiddle player is Milton Vanicor, however, it's most likely Wilson Granger on fiddle with Alfred Cormier on rhythm guitar.  This would be one Iry's last records before his untimely tragic death.  The record wasn't pressed until after Iry's death, causing Eddie to quickly rush the production of the recording.  It's captured in Eddie's plea to the California Record Mfg. Co. in October of 1955.

Eddie's letter after Iry's death
University of North Carolina

  1. Encyclopedia of Great Popular Song Recordings, Volume 2 By Steve Sullivan
  2. "Iry Lejeune: Wailin the Blues Cajun Style" by Ron Yule
  4. Lyrics by 'ericajun' and Raymond Francois
  5. Goldband Recording Corporation Collection, 1930-1995.  #20245. PF-20245/678.  University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  6. Discussions with Stef Fan-Ni
Cajun's Greatest: The Definitive Collection (Goldband, 1993)

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