Monday, February 1, 2016

"Baoille" - Delma Lachney

This recording and "La Danseuse" become the two songs most associated with the duo.  Blind Uncle Gaspard travelled with fiddle player Delma Lachney who ended up recording songs during the same session. He recorded "Baoille" (#5280) for Vocalion in 1929 in Chicago.  It is a beautiful yet seldom recorded song "Baionne" (spelled "Baoille").  Their recordings reflect the French sounds which emanated from the Red River region of Louisiana, north of Cajun country. 

Oh chère, ma chère Baionne,

Viens donc auras de moi, ma chère l'amie,

Ma vie est ruiné,

C'est la cause de toi, ma chère Baionne.

Si j'avais déja écouté,

Ma chère vielle maman, je serais pas dans la misère.

Oh, chère, ma chère Maman,

Tu m'a laissé ici,

Comme un pauvre orphelin du pays,

Oh, chère, viens docn me joindre,

Un cher grand jour à venir,

Ma chère Vaionne ma chère l'amie.

Oh chère, chère Vaionne,
Le jour de ma mort,
C'est toi je voudrais donc qui serait auras de moi,
Avec ton mouchoir.
Oh, chère, si jamais,
Je viens mourir,
Viens donc passer ta chère grande main blanche,
Autour de ma tête.
Delma Lachney

Conflicting stories have created a debate about the original author of the song.  There's some resemblance between this melody and the Appalacian folk tune "My Horses Ain't Hungry".  Although anecdotal accounts attribute the composition to Lachney, there is no convincing evidence that he composed either the lyrics or the melody.  Author Raymond Francois notes the term baionne may refer either to a bay horse or cow or to a blond person.  However, locally, it's a nickname for a woman with chestnut or auburn-blonde hair.3  Interestingly enough, Gaspard's wife was called Vaillonne, sometimes spelled Baillole. 

Like the famous "Jolie Blonde", this song may reflect a cultural fascination with the figure of the relatively exotic "baioonne", who would have stood out among the many "bassettes" (small, dark completed women) of Cajun country.  

Oh dear, my dear Baionne,

Come get me, my dear girlfriend,

My life is ruined,

It's all because of you, my dear Baionne.

If I had listened before,

To my dear old mother, I wouldn't be miserable,

Oh, dear, my dear mother,

You left me here,

Like a poor country orphan.

Oh, dear, come then to meet me,

One dear important day in the future,

My dear Baionne, my dear friend.

Oh, dear, dear Baionne,
The day of my death,
It is you that I would want near me,
With your handkerchief,
Oh, dear, if ever,
I'm going to die,
Then come and put your dear, great white hand,
About my head.

The song would be recorded again by Hosea Phillips for the Lomaxes and the Library of Congress in 1934.   Their version of the song would employ a jig-like rhythm.  In general sense, this song is also part of a large group of what might be balled songs of "bamboche."    

  1. Traditional Music in Coastal Louisiana: The 1934 Lomax Recordings By Joshua Clegg Caffery
  2. Cajun Breakdown : The Emergence of an American-Made Music By Ryan Andre Brasseaux
  3. Ye Yaille Chere, Traditional Cajun Dance Music by Raymond E. François
  4. Louisiana Cajun Music Vol. 5 The Early Years 1928-1938.  Liner notes.
Louisiana Cajun Music Vol. 5: The Early Years 1928-1938 (Old Timey/Arhoolie, 1973)
John Bertrand / Blind Uncle Gaspard / Delma Lachney Early American Cajun Music (Yazoo, 1999)
Cajun Louisiane 1928-1939 (Fremeaux, 2003)
Cajun Capers: Cajun Music 1928-1954 (Proper, 2005)
Cajun Country, Vol. 2, More Hits from the Swamp (JSP, 2005)
Blind Uncle Gaspard, Delma Lachney ‎– On The Waters Edge (Mississippi, 2014)

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