Tuesday, January 20, 2015

"Raise Your Window" - Falcon Trio

In 1936, with record sales holding up after the end of the Depression slump, the Victor mobile recording unit under the direction of Eli Oberstein visited New Orleans to record local hillbilly, blues and Cajun artists.  In what was one of the last major field trips, mammoth sessions were held at the St. Charles Hotel, with more than twenty five titles recorded each day.  The ensuing 78s were eventually released on Bluebird, Victor's subsidiary budget label, at a cost of thirty-five cents per copy.  The 2000 series had been set aside for it's Cajun artists.

Among the artists were the Falcon and Breaux musical families.  Joe and Cleoma most likely brought along fiddle player and family friend, Moise Morgan, to fill in the band labeled as the Falcon Trio.  However, some list the third player as Joe's brother, Ulysse Falcon. Leading the vocals, Cleoma sang the song "Raise Your Window" (#2183) for Bluebird.  
If you see me coming, raise your window high,

When you see me coming, raise your window high,

When you see me leaving, hang your little head and cry.



I went home last night, baby, knocked at my front door,

I went home last night, baby, knocked at my front door,

I heard someone say, I don't live here no more.



I found a stranger passing through your town,

I found a stranger passing through your town,

I'd ask a favor, but boy, you'd turn me down.

I can make more money with my pick and guitar than my good old Jersey cow,
I can make more money with my pick and guitar than my good old Jersey cow,
St. Charles Hotel
I can make more money than a passenger train can ride

I'm wild about Memphis, fool about Tennessee,
I'm wild about Memphis, fool about Tennessee,
Give me sweet Dallas, Texas where the men think the world of me.

It's an English version of a song she had recorded in Cajun french two years earlier for Decca in New York called "Ouvrez Grand Ma Fenetre" (also referred to as "Leve Tes Fenetres Haut" or "Raise Your Window High").  It's a swingy, bluesy song in the style of Jimmie Rodgers' "Anniversary Blue Yodel (Blue Yodel No. 7)" that most likely has an older origin. Even the lyrics between the two versions changed.  In this version, she sings about leaving her home and traveling the country, making more money playing music than farming, and the men she met in different towns.  Songs, like this 12-bar blues and similar others, would eventually influence Iry Lejeune's "Grand Bosco" and Happy Fats' "Blues de Bosco".







  1. Louisiana Women: Their Lives and Times edited by Janet Allured 
  2. South to Louisiana: The Music of the Cajun Bayous By John Broven
Find:
Cajun Music Anthology, Vol. 2: Raise Your Window (Country Music, 1994)
Cajun Early Recordings (JSP, 2004)
Let Me Tell You About the Blues: New Orleans (Fantastic Voyage, 2011)

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