Monday, February 8, 2016

"Grande Mamou" - Eddie Shuler

After 1950, Virgil Bozman had stayed in touch with recording engineers in Louisiana.  The label offered to press recordings of master acetates.  Eddie Shuler was very close to Virgil Bozman who had previously tried to setup a recording label in Lake Charles called O.T. records.   By 1953, Virgil had moved back to San Antonio, selling longhorns, and working with Bob Tanner at his label called Tanner N Texas.  That same year, Eddie was ready to begin recording music again with his Reveliers, covering both country and Cajun tunes.  Shuler drove to San Antonio and requested TNT press his recordings.  Shuler states: 
Well, I went to San Antonio because Bob Tanner had a pressing plant. So, I drove over there, and took a couple of my acetates with me. And I told him I’d like to make a deal for him to press my records. So, he decided he’d press ‘em himself and put ‘em on his label. And I said, "Well, okay, let’s try that." I hadn’t tried that.
The real reason he chose TNT instead of his own Goldband records label is simple.  Shuler could sell more of his own band's material using a different label.   
I didn’t want ‘em to know that I was the artist, ‘cause the jukebox operator’s not gonna buy a record from the artist, ‘cause they never are any good, according to them. 

Oh, mais moi j'm'en va de Grande Mamou,

C'est pour voir, ma jolie, mais, petite fille.



Oh, mais chère, tit monde, chérie, 

Moi j'connais, je mérite pas ça tout ça tu fais,
ça t'as fait  z'avec moi Il y a pas longtemps, 
C’est trop tard pour t'en pleurer tous les Dimanches.

Oh mais, moi j'm'en dans Grand Mamou,
Mais, c'est pour voir ma jolie, mais, petite fille,
Qui veut pas me revoir tu les Dimanches,
Comment tu veux, mais malheureuse, mais je veux plus te voir.

Harry Choates had resurrected the tune as "Basile Watlz" for Goldstar in 1946 and "Gra Mamou" for Macy's in 1950 while Link Davis' English version of "Big Mamou" solidified it's national popularity in 1952. Eddie's group took the old 1928 Leo Soileau "Basile Waltz" tune and gave it the same name in which Leo had re-recorded it for Bluebird: "Grande Mamou" (#103). The title refers to an area of south Louisiana known as the Grande Mamou prairie, which translates to "mammoth prairie" due to its enormous size.   According to Eddie:
I had a bunch of top notch musicians there. Hector Stutes was the fiddle player.1
With Hector Stutes on fiddle, Eddie played guitar and Norris Savoie sang vocals even though he's not credited. 
Eddie Shuler
Oh, well, I'm leaving by myself for Big Mamou,
It's to see my beauty, well, little girl.

Oh, well dear, my little everything, my dearest,
I know, I do not deserve all that you've done,
That's what you've done with me not long ago,
It's too late for you to cry on Sundays.

Oh, well, I'm leaving by myself for Big Mamou,
It's to see my beauty, well, little girl.
Who doesn't want to see me on Sundays,
It's what you want, just terrible, well, I want to see you.

In the same manner in which Shuler credited all his releases, his name usually appears as author of the song.  He'd end up trying to sell them out of his car to jukebox operators:

There was a jukebox operator down in New Iberia called Teche Novelty. They had jukeboxes in Louisiana and Mississippi. They bought all my records. Soon as I put one out, I’d put ‘em in the back of my car and go down to New Iberia, and unload down there. And they’d put ‘em on their jukeboxes.




    1. http://wired-for-sound.blogspot.com/2011_11_24_archive.html
    2. Lyrics by Jerry M and Stephane F
    Find:
    Hot Rod Cajun (Zeaux)

    Eddie Shuler & His All Star Reveliers: Grande Mamou (BACM, 2016)

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