Monday, December 14, 2015

"Ouvrez Grand Ma Fenêtre (Raise My Window High)" - Cleoma Breaux

One of Cleoma Breaux's most well known recordings of the blues.   For those interested in French blues recordings, this one is a must.  The record of "Ouvrez Grand Ma Fenêtre" (#17001) is the second release in a slew of Cajun pressings by Decca in New York, also referred to as "Leve Tes Fenetres Haut" or "Raise Your Window High").  Their December 1934 session kicked off Decca's entire Cajun repertoire for the next five years. 

Si tu me vois après venir, lève tes fenêtres haut,

Quand tu vois moi venir, lève tes fenêtres haut,

Quand tu vas m’voir partir, baisse ta tête et pleurer.


Je m’ai soulé hier au soir, je m’ai soulé le soir d’avant,
Je m’ai soulé hier au soir, je m’ai soulé le soir d’avant,
J’va me souler à soir, pis moi j’veux plus jamais de ma vie.

J’suis après travailler, une piastre dix sous par jour,
J’suis après travailler, une piastre dix sous par jour,
Ma femme prend la piastre et moi pour faire avec dix sous.

Si toi tu me veux pas, donne moi ta main droite,
Parce qu’si toi tu me veux pas, donne moi ta main droite,
Parce qu’si toi tu me veux pas pas, moi j’suis sûr(*), moi j’veux pas de toi.

It's a French version of a swingy, bluesy song in the style of Jimmie Rodgers' "Anniversary Blue Yodel (Blue Yodel No. 7)" that most likely has an older origin.  She would later record an English version of the melody for Bluebird two years later entitled "Raise Your Window".  Even the lyrics between the two versions changed.  In this version, she talks about getting drunk like never before, working for money that get's shared unequally, and wanting to get married. Songs, like this 12-bar blues and similar others, would eventually influence Iry Lejeune's "Grand Bosco" and Happy Fats' "Blues de Bosco".

If you see me coming, raise your windows high,

When you see me coming, raise your windows high,

When you leave my sight, hang your head and cry.


I got drunk last night, I got drunk the night before,
I got drunk last night, I got drunk the night before,
I'll get my self drunk tonight until I'll want to never again in my life. 

I'm back from work, a dollar and a dime per day,
I'm back from work, a dollar and a dime per day,
My wife takes the dollar and I'm left with the dime.

If you do not want me, give me your right hand,
Because if you do not want me, give me your right hand,
Because if you do not want me, myself, I'm sure I do not want you. 


  1. Lyrics by Stephane F

Find:
Cajun Early Recordings (JSP, 2004)

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