Tuesday, March 10, 2015

"Jole Blonde" - Amidie Breaux

After making some of the first Cajun recordings in the late 1920s, Amidie Breaux (also spelled Amedie and Amedee) would return to the recording studio, after a 13 year absence, with a different group called The Acadian Aces for J.D Miller's Feature label. Legend has it that Breaux's sister, Cleoma, had written the lyrics to this old tune back in 1929 and with Amidie's brothers, they recorded the tune as "Ma Blonde Est Partie" for Okeh/Columbia.  

Jolie blonde ! Tu m'as quitté pour t'en aller.

T'en aller, petite avec un autre.

Avec un autre oui que moi, malheureuse chère !

Quel espoir quel avenir, moi je peux avoir ?

Jolie blonde ! Tu m'as quitté pour t'en aller.
T'en aller, de ta famille.
Tu connais, t'as pas écouté tous les conseils de les autres.
Quel avenir avec moi aujourd'hui ?

Jolie Blonde ! Tu connais il y avait juste toi.
Y a pas juste toi dans le pays que moi j'aimais.
J'ai trouvé chez une autre que tes bras.
Oh je sais, babe moi j'aime ça !
Amidie Breaux

Miller was inspired by this early success, and when his family settled in Crowley in 1937, Miller began to play professionally in local groups. He played his first dance with the Breaux Brothers who were playing at the Cow Island nightclub that lacked an electrified sound system. Although the group was billed as "string" band, Miller recalls that it featured traditional Cajun musicians. He recalls:

"I'd never seen an accordion before. When [Amidie Breaux] pulled that thing out of the box, I didn't know what I'd gotten into!"2,3

With Harry Choate's "Jole Blon" in 1947, a revival of Breaux's earlier recording, Miller remembered Breaux's popularity among local folk from his early recordings with the accordion.   As the surge of accordion tunes became popular again, Miller realized he could market Breaux's music again, this time with a much fuller band and backed up by a lap steel guitar.   He brought the aging Breaux into the studio around 1950 and recorded "Jole Blonde" for his Feature label (#1023). 
Crowley Daily Signal
Aug 28, 1959

Pretty blonde! You left me and went away,
You went away, little girl, with another,
With another that I'm so unhappy, dear,
What hope, what future, I can have?

Pretty blonde! You left me and went away,
You went away, to your family,
You know, you have not listened to all the advice of others,
What does the future hold for me this day?

Pretty Blonde! You know, it was just you, however,
You're not the only one I love in this countryside,
I found another one's arms, other than yours,
Oh I know, babe, I love that!

The tune was much closer in similarity to Choate's modern version and Breaux was determined to capture the wider audience that fell in love with the song.   Miller's recordings of Breaux are the one of the last recordings of the early Cajun musical accordion players. 

  1. Acadian All Star Special - The Pioneering Cajun Recordings Of J.D. Miller
  2. http://www.louisianafolklife.org/LT/Articles_Essays/miller_and_soileau.html
  3. Slim Harpo: Blues King Bee of Baton Rouge By Martin Hawkins
Jole Blon: 23 Artists One Theme (Bear, 2002)
Acadian All Star Special: The Pioneering Cajun Recordings of J. D. Miller (Bear, 2011)

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