Saturday, February 27, 2016

"Fe Fe Ponchaux" - Joe Falcon

Joe Falcon knew how to make ‘em dance and he and his wife, guitarist Cleoma Breaux (listed as Clemo) certainly rattle the floorboards on songs like "Fe Fe Ponchaux" in their 1928 Columbia records recording done in New Orleans. It is a particularly rhythmic, hard-driving two-step with some loose similarities with the Bixy Guidry recording of "I Am Happy Now".

The instrumental song refers to a girl named Fifi (sometimes spelled "Fe Fe Fancho", "Fee Fee Poncho", "Fifi Font Chaud" or "Fee Fee Foncheaux"), a French-Mexican beauty known for her sauce-piquante and her two-step ability while listening and winking to Cajun musicians.  The melody is based on an old Acadian ballad called "La petite Anna a Mogene Meaux," associated with the Cajun ballad singer Lula Landry, performed for Dr. Barry Ancelet in a field recording.  In that song, it tells the strange story of Little Anna, who is being twirled so fast on the dance floor that she is slowly disappearing. 
Fe Fe Ponchaux
Alyssa Hughes
All that's left is the bun in her hair and her red ribbon.  Soon there will be nothing left of her.  Her partner is turning her so fast he is going to kill her.  
The most popular version would be recorded by Nathan Abshire called "Musical Five Special" for Khoury's label and then again in 1967 for La Louisiane. Over the years, many would record this tune, such as musician Leeman Prejean recording the tune as "Accordion Two Step" and Belton Richard would naming it "Il Fait Chaud".  As far as the traditional ballad, "Petite Anna" would be resurrected later by Steve Riley.

Majestic Hotel in Lake Charles, 1928.

  1. Cajun and Creole Music Makers by Barry Jean Ancelet
  2. Accordion Dreams: A Journey Into Cajun and Creole Music By Blair Kilpatrick
  3. Liner notes of Michael Doucet & Beausoleil - Deja vu

Cajun Swamp Stomp, Vol. 1
Cajun: Rare & Authentic (JSP, 2008)
Cajun Music, The Pretty Girls Don't Want Me (Firefly, 2012)
Cajun Swamp Stomp, Vol 1 (Lumi, 2012)
Anthology of American Folk Music (Smithsonian Folkways, 1997)

1 comment:

Got info? Pics? Feel free to submit.