Friday, September 4, 2015

"Jolie Blonde" - Hackberry Ramblers

Based on Breaux brother's "Ma Blonde Est Partie", it's the first recording to use the title "Jolie Blonde" with the traditional melody rendition.   It's one of the few, if only, early Cajun recordings with "fiddlesticks"-type percussion occurring midway into the song.
Jolie Blonde, 'gardez donc, quoi t'as fait

Tu m'as quitté pour t'en aller

Pour t'en aller avec un autre, oui, que moi

Quel espoir et quel av'nir mais moi je peux avoir?

Jolie blonde, tu m'as quitté pour tout seul

Pour t'en aller chez ta famille

Si t'aurais pas écouté tous les conseils de les autres

Tu serais ici avec moi aujourd'hui.

Jolie blonde, tu croyais il y avait juste toi

Il y'a pas juste toi dans le pays pour moi aimer
Je va's trouver juste une autre jolie blonde
Bon Dieu sait, moi, j'aime tant.
Floyd Rainwater, Luderin Darbone,
Lonnie Rainwater, Lennis Sonnier

In 1936, the Hackberry Ramblers, consisting of Luderin Darbone, Edwin Duhon, Johnny Puderer and guitarist/vocalist Lennis Sonnier, recorded their hit rendition of the Louisiana classic "Jolie Blonde" (#2003) for Bluebird records. Joined by Sonnier, they began playing at parties. Cajun had been dominated by the accordion so, Darbone said:
"We didn't know how people would react - we were there to play their dance with only a fiddle and two guitars, but to our amazement, we were a smashing success."

Pretty blonde, look at what you've done,

You left me and went away,

You went away with someone else, yeh,

What hope, what future, yeh, can I have?

Pretty blonde, you left me all alone,

To leave with your family,

If you had listened to the advice of others,

You would be here with me today.

Pretty blonde, you thought you were the only one,

You're not the only one in the countryside for me to love,
I will find another pretty blonde,
God knows, there's a lot out there to love. 
Through live shows and broadcasts, the Ramblers' new string band sound spread across the Cajun community. Darbone bought one of the first sound systems in the region; if he was booked into a rural dancehall with no electricity, he ran it from his car.

By 1940s, the group had disbanded but reformed again under Luderin's leadership in 1946.  Harry Choates had just scored a huge hit with "Jole Blon".   The following year, they were contacted by DeLuxe records where they re-recorded their tune, using Harry's title "Jole Blon" and also performing an English version called "Pretty Blonde".   They would record the tune several times in the following years including "Jolie Blonde" in 1963 for Arhoolie records at Goldband studio in Lake Charles.  They also performed it live at the 8th Univ of California, Berkeley Folk Festival in 1965.  


Louisiana Cajun Music Volume 4: From The 30s To The 50s (Old Timey, 1972)
Louisiana Cajun Music Volume 8: The Hackberry Ramblers - Early Recordings 1935-1948 (Old Timey, 1988)
Le Gran Mamou: A Cajun Music Anthology (Country Music, 1994)
Jole Blon - 23 Artists One Theme (Bear, 2002)
Hackberry Ramblers - Early Recordings: 1935-1950 (Arhoolie, 2003)
Cajun Early Recordings (JSP, 2004)

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