Sunday, October 25, 2015

"Duraldo Waltz" - Iry Lejeune

Iry Lejeune was Eddie Shuler's most prized artists in his Cajun lineup.  Most of Iry's material was produced and distrubuted by Shuler's Goldband label. One of the songs Shuler recorded was "Duralde Waltz" (misspelled Duraldo) between 1952 and 1955 (#1041). However, this time Iry would put the accordion down and sing the tune in all it's glory.  Some list Iry playing the fiddle on this tune.  Others believe it was J.B. Fuselier. However, Eddie Shuler's interview and Wilson Granger's interview with Ron Yule clarify this as Wilson on fiddle.  Wilson had this tune in his head from hearing his father play it on the front porch and around the house.  With Iry being the talented musician he was, he put words to it, and they recorded it.

Dis "bye bye" à ton pop et ta mom malheureuse,

Pour t'en revenir, mais oui, me rejoindre là bas à Duralde.

T'avais promis, fait des promesses de venir me rejoindre, catin,

Avant trop longtemps moi je te vois près t'en revenir.

'Gardez donc, tu croyais ta famille aurait toujours

Pris pour toi, parce que tu m'as fais quitter catin.

A bien jongler, toi, tu vois pour toi-même, bébé

Tous nos chagrins qu'on après se passer, Ça fait pas de bien

C'est trop tard pour les enfants s'en revenir

Et se lamenter pour toi, c'est toi qu'a fait la grosse erreur

Tu m'as dit, toi, bébé, tu voulais plus me voir

C'est trop tard, tu vas revenir peut-être un bonjour.
Wilson Granger and Iry Lejeune

The exact content of these words is rarely made explicit but is implied in their consequences. Typically, the singer mourns a promise, presumably of fidelity, when the woman turns her back on him to join another. Or, as in "Duralde Waltz," her promise to return has not be kept.  Duralde is a small community outside of Eunce where Iry played at. Although listed as recorded at Goldband studios, it was actually a tape recording done at Iry's house.  The recording's raw sound and room acoustics can be heard throughout and a constant rhythm is kept with one of the musician's foot banging the house floor.  Having been formed from Wilson's earlier recording of "Bayou Chico Waltz", the song may have inspired Nathan Abshire's "L.S.U. French Waltz" and Austin Pitre's "Chère Tit Bassette".
Say "bye bye" to your mom and pop, you're miserable,
For you've come back, yes, to join me there at Duralde.
You promised, you promised you'd come to me, little doll,
Before too long, I will see you back around.

'So keep, you always thought your family would,
take care of you, because you made me leave, little doll.
Reminiscing, you'll see yourself that,
All our sorrows after this happens, it's no good.

It's too late for the children to come back,
And lament for you, it is you that has made the big mistake.
You told me, baby, you wanted to see me,
It's too late. You can go back. Have a good day, perhaps.

Eddie released two versions of the song as #1041 on both his brown label and red label; with "Grand Bosco" on the brown label flipside and "I Went To The Dance" on the red label flipside.  It was done on two different takes, with two slightly different verses.

Dis "bye bye" à ton pop et ta mom, chère,

Pour t'en venir, m'rejoindre là-bas, là-bas à Duralde,

La promesse que t'as fait, chère bébé, avant d’quitter, 

C'était juste pour me rendre courageux.

'Garde 'tite fille aujourd'hui on est séparé, 

Il y a plus rien, à se reprocher, non aujourd'hui, (look, lil girl, today, we’re separated, there’s nothing to reproach each other anymore, no, today)
Notre chagrin, il est après s'en aller sur les deux bords, 
ça sera trop tard peut-être un jour pour se lamenter.

In the alternate take, he only sings two verses, with the second verse completely different.

Say "bye bye" to your dad and your mom, dear,

For you've returned, joining me over there, over there in Duralde,

The promise that you made, dear baby, before leaving,

It was just to embolden me.

Look little girl, today we're separated,

There's nothing to reproach between us anymore, not today,
Our sorrows, they're on going on between both of us,
It'll be too late, perhaps one day we'll lament.
Wilson Granger whistled the tune to Iry and he made up some words right there on the spot. Although Iry originally wanted to play his fiddle for the tune, Wilson convinced him not to since he had heard his dad whistle the tune.7 Iry had a fox terrier that lived under the house named Rain. According to Ron Yule, during the recording, someone came to the door and the dog barked.  Shuler recalls recording the tune at Iry's house:

“I’ll never forget this: I bought a tape recorder, and it cost $237, which was a lot of money. We went to Iry LeJeune’s house when we first started, and he lived in an old house out there in Lacassine. His relatives had built it out of green lumber. Well, green lumber, when it’s wet, it’s tight like that, but when it dries, it’s got cracks. All of the walls had cracks because the lumber had dried out. We would put the machine on the kitchen table and cut these things, drink coffee and play music.
“We made ‘Durald Waltz’ in there and took the accordion out of that particular song because the fiddle player was a good fiddle player, and Iry decided he didn’t want to play accordion. He would just let the violin player shine, and he’d just sing the song. So we cut this song, and guess what? There’s a dog barking in the record. Well, I had never even heard the damn dog, and people kept coming up to me telling me, ‘You’ve got a dog barking in one of your records.’ And I said ‘I don’t have no dog barking in my record.’ Come to find out I did have a dog barking, and it was a big record. But guess what? It was a classic.”
It's the take on the flipside of "Grande Bosco" which contains the dog barking as well as a slower tempo. It was the last recording session before Iry was killed.  Wilson stated:
I tell you what, that last record we made, when I made that "Duralde Waltz" with him, that hadn't come out yet when he got killed.7  

  1. Iry Lejeune: Wailin the Blues Cajun Style by Ron Yule
  2. Louisiana Fiddlers By Ron Yule
  4. Cajun Breakdown : The Emergence of an American-Made Music By Ryan Andre Brasseaux
  6. Discussion with Neal P
  7. Wilson Granger interview.  Andrew Brown. 2005. 
  8. Lyrics by Jerry M and Stephanie D
Cajun Dance Tunes Vol.1 (Goldband, 1988)
American French Music From The Bayous Of Louisiana (Goldband)
Cajun's Greatest: The Definitive Collection (Ace, 1992)
Bayou Two-Step - Cajun Hits From Louisiana 1929-1962 (Jasmine, 2015)


  1. One of my long-time favorites, and my favorite Iry Le Jeune, accordion or no. . . !

  2. It is my goal to learn every one of his songs on the accordion and the vocals.

  3. I used to work with Wilson Granger. In fact he was one of my first bosses when I first got out of high school. Mr. Granger was a top notch musician and pretty good at fixing electronics too. It's good to see he's been remembered.

  4. I used to work with Wilson Granger, who was Iry Lejeune's fiddle player. Mr. Granger was one of my first bosses when I got out of high school. He was the manager at Land of Oz, an arcade with pinball machines at the mall in Lake Charles, LA. Mr. Granger was not only a top notch musician, he was pretty good at repairing electronics also. It's so nice to see that he hasn't been forgotten.


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