Tuesday, March 22, 2016

"(Our Own) Jole Blon" - Roy Acuff

In 1946, Harry Choates took the Breaux family recording "Ma Blonde Est Partie" and made "Jole Blon" into a regional hit.  It didn't take long for other country-western groups to latch onto the song.  After Harry re-recorded it as "New Jolie Blonde" in 1946, he sold the rights to Moon Mullican, which made it's way up to #2 in 1947.    Red Foley did the same in early 1947 and made it reach #1 for two weeks.  Roy Acuff and his Smokey Mountain Boys recorded a harmonica-driven "(Our Own) Jole Blon" (#37287) on January 28, 1947, approximately two weeks after Folley's hit.   His interpretation synthesized specific elements found in the Cajun “Jole Blon”.1 Roy's adaptations of the song deepened national interest in Cajun music.2

Roy had started his recording career in the 1930s as the vocalist and fiddler for the Smoky Mountain Boys. He joined the Grand Ole Opry in 1938, and although his popularity as a musician waned in the late 1940s, he remained one of the Opry's key figures and promoters for nearly four decades. In 1942, Acuff co-founded the first major Nashville-based country music publishing company—Acuff-Rose Music—which signed acts such as Hank Williams, Roy Orbison, and The Everly Brothers.3  

Allegedly, it was this version that most likely inspired Bruce Springsteen and Gary US Bonds to record their version in 1980.  The group consisted of Roy Acuff on vocals, Lonnie Wilson on guitar, Brother Oswald Kirby on dobro, Jess Easterday on madolin, Velma Williams on bass, Tommy Magness on violin, and Francis “Sonny Day” Tamvourin on accordion.  It was recorded at the CBS Studio (Radio Station KNX) in Hollywood, CA.
Roy Acuff

Jole Blon, Delta Flower
You're my darling, you're my sunshine
You know I love you, adore you
Forever I love you
And I promise I'll always be true

Oh ho ho
Ah ha ha

In the evening, in the shadows
I'll be waiting in Louisiana
And when I hear your sweet voice
I'll rejoice, I'll be happy
And saving my kisses for you

Jole Blon, Cajun Angel
Let me tell you how I love you
In the springtime you promised
That we would be married
And I'm waiting, still waiting for you

Oh ho ho
Ah ha ha

When your hair turns to silver
I'll still call you, Delta Flower
Pretty Blon, I still love you
I love you I promise
And I'm patiently waiting for you

Oh ho ho
Ah ha ha

After leaving the Opry, Acuff spent several years touring the Western United States, although demand for his appearances dwindled with the lack of national exposure and the rise of musicians such as Ernest Tubb and Eddy Arnold, who were more popular with younger audiences.  In 1991, he was awarded the National Medal of Arts and given a lifetime achievement award by the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, the first Country music act to receive the esteemed honor.3 

  1. Cajun Breakdown: The Emergence of an American-Made Music By Ryan Andre Brasseaux
  2. Crossroads: A Southern Culture Annual By Ted Olson
  3. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roy_Acuff
Jole Blon - 23 Artists One Theme (Bear, 2002)
Countrypolitan Classics - Roy Acuff (Reloaded, 2013)

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