Thursday, August 20, 2015

"Perrodin Two Step" - Angelas LeJeune

Considered a tour-de-force, the "Perrodin" is known as one of the more difficult accordion instrumentals and it was and continues to be a favorite at accordion contest in southern Louisiana. It was first recorded in New Orleans in 1929 by Dennis McGee, Angelas LeJeune, and Ernest Frugé for Brunswick (#369). According to Marc Savoy, it is named after two brothers who often requested it at dances. 

LeJeune (spelled "Le Jeunne"), who was an uncle of Iry LeJeune from the Point Noire area near Church Point, won an accordion contest in Opelousas in 1929. Known to the community as "Nonc Jack", first prize was a trip to New Orleans to record with legendary fiddlers Dennis McGee and Ernest Frugé.  
Angelas Lejeune
ANGELAS LEJEUNE WINS ACCORDIAN CONTEST 
Crowley Signal October 1, 1929
Special to Signal:  Opelousas, LA, Oct 1 – Angelas Lejeune a resident of Acadia parish, accompanied by D. McGee, of Eunice, LA., and E. Fruge of Lewisburg, La., won the grand prize offered by the leading accordion player in what was considered the first state-wide contest of its kind yet held.  The accordion contest was sponsored by the Opelousas Herald, local weekly newspaper, and various leading business interest throughout the city. 
Lejeune and his accompanists won the grand prize of $50 in cash offered to the most talented player.  The contest opened Friday morning at 9 a.m. with the finals taking place late Saturday afternoon.  Beginning at 8 p.m. each night of the contest a block dance was given, the street being roped off for one block.  Music for these dances was furnished by players entered in the contest. 
Several recording companies sent representatives to witness the contest, the winner of which was offered a contract for the producing of French song and accordion records.  Mr. Lejeune and his fellow players left accompanied by Dr. A. J.  Boudreau, for New Orleans, where the Okeh Record Company, of which Dr. Boudreau is local representative, has offered the contest an interesting proposition, giving them $00 each, with expenses paid for the recording.
Rayne Tribune
Sept 20, 1929

The trio waxed 6 songs, 3 records in all for the Brunswick label, that are surely some of the most powerful music in Cajun history. According to Cajun music enthusiast Neal Pomea:
His Perrodin Two Step? Unsurpassed!  This makes a his records some of the rarest.
However, one must note there are a variety of songs with the same title:
The song titles of the 1920s and 30s were not yet standardized and set in stone. I am finding quite a few instances of recordings of songs that now have the title... Perrodin Two Step, for example.
The second instance of the "Perrodin" occurs with Lomax's recording of Oakdale Carriere in 1934 at Angola State Prison as the "Perrodin Two Step".  Although more often associated with the Cajun repertoire, Carriere's performance of this song reflects the intertwined nature of Cajun and Creole instrumental music in the early part of the twentieth century.  

Happy Fats used the melody for his 1935 recording of "Rayne Breakdown".  The same melody would be used by Miller's Merrymakers called "Round Up Hop" in 1937. Later, the Jolly Boys of Lafayette would record the "Jolly Boys' Breakdown" with the same melody.   Some refer to it as "Mamou Breakdown" as recorded by Wallace "Cheese" Read.



Perrodin Two Step - Angelas Lejeune - 1929



  1. Traditional Music in Coastal Louisiana: The 1934 Lomax Recordings By Joshua Clegg Caffery
  2. The Kingdom of Zydeco By Michael Tisserand
  3. http://files.usgwarchives.net/la/acadia/newspapers/news142.txt
  4. MADE IN LOUISIANA.  VRCD 325.  MARC SAVOY - Accordion. DEWEY BALFA - Fiddle. D. L. MENARD - Guitar.  Liner notes.
  5. Do Not Sell At Any Price: The Wild, Obsessive Hunt for the World's Rarest ... By Amanda Petrusich
  6. http://npmusic.org/artists.html
  7. Discussions with Neal P
  8. Image by Malcolm V
Find:
Times Ain't Like They Used To Be, Vol. 4: Early American Rural Music (Yazoo, 2006)
Let Me Play This For You: Rare Cajun Recordings (Tompkins, 2013)

3 comments:

  1. For an instrument to relatively new to the Cajun people it is amazing how proficient they became in such a short time. Some mastered the instrument as if the skill had been handed down from generation to generation.

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  2. Angelas was undoubtedly one of the greatest accordionists of his time, and these recordings, with who? McGee & Courville on fiddles?? This one just one of the greatest groups to record during this period in Cajun music. I had not heard this recording before! I think this is the earliest recorded version of Perrodin Two Step that I've ever heard! Remarkable to me that this version is so like how this tune is still played today.... It's really hard to beat these recordings of Angelas LeJeune.... Every one is just outstanding.... Heartachingly beautiful....

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  3. One of the best, past and present.Many popular traditional songs were first recorded by Nonc Jack.Chere Tout Toute[La Valse de Church Point], Kaplan Waltz[La Valse de Point Noir], Church Point Breakdown[ La Petite One Step] , Bayou Pom Pom and of course the Perrodin Two-Step. Great Singer as well, all in the key of D.Up there with Amede Ardoin, Amede Breaux , Dennis McGee considered him one of the best. comment by Robert LeBlanc

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