Tuesday, April 26, 2016

"Country Gentleman" - Abe Manuel

Abe Manuel came from a musical family around Lake Charles with legacy tied to Harry Choates and his Melody Boys.    Abe played Cajun music on guitar with his family and friends around Basile and Oberlin for years, and at some point in his youth took up the fiddle.  His brother Joe helped form the band in the 1940s and Abe was old enough to be a part of it.  Either during his recording stint with Harry Choates or right afterwards, he met up with Virgil Bozman and his OT label but quickly found other independent labels that enjoyed recording his music.

Jeunes gens de la campagne,

Marriez donc jamais vous-autres,

Une fille c'est une amusée,
Mais une femme c'est un embarras.

Jeunes gens de la campagne,
Écoutez donc z-un bon conseil,
Une fille c'est une amusée,
Bien une femme c'est un déshonneur.

Jeunes gens de la campagne,
Marriez donc jamais vous-autres,
Une fille c'est une amusée,
Mais une femme c'est un embarras.

Jeunes gens de la campagne,
Écoutez donc z-un bon conseil,
Une fille c'est une amusée,
Bien une femme désagréable.

KLFY TV Station, 1966
Happy Fats' "Boiled Crawfish" TV show
Abe Manuel Sr. (bottom right)

His first recording stint came with backing up Jelly Elliot in 1949 however, by 1954, he had formed his own group called the Louisiana Hillbillies.  Recorded in 1954, "Country Gentleman" (#1086) is a swingy, hillbilly version of the old melody "Jeunes Gens de la Campagne (Young Men From The Country)". It was first recorded by Dennis McGee & Ernest Fruge in 1929 and had been the original source for Joe Falcon's 1928 recording of "Allons A Lafayette".

Young gentlemen of the countryside,

Never get married,

A girl is playful,
But, a wife is embarrassing.

Young gentlemen of the countryside,
Listen to good advice,
A girl is playful,
Well, a wife is dishonorable. 

Young gentlemen of the countryside,
Never get married,
A girl is playful,
But, a wife is embarrassing.

Young gentlemen of the countryside,
Listen to good advice,
A girl is playful,
Well, a wife is disagreeable. 

For years, Abe would travel around Louisiana and Texas, singing both country and Cajun tunes, working with a slew of different musicians, even with Hank Williams. He recalls:
Working with Hank Williams was something else, particularly the night in 1948 when he kicked out the front windshield of my Buick after we'd finished playing a date down in Louisiana.  Hank had been drinking. He kicked out my window, but he never let liquor cause him to not finish a song or performance.  If he showed up, he did the songs right.1  





  1. Louisiana Fiddlers By Ron Yule
  2. Lyrics by Stéphanie D, Stephane F and Marc C
Find:
Acadian All Star Special - The Pioneering Cajun Recordings Of J.D. Miller (Bear, 2011)

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