Sunday, April 3, 2016

"La Valse De Creole" - Dudley and James Fawvor

Dudley Eraste Fawvor and James Henry Fawvor, Jr. were two musicians from Cameron, Louisiana who joined other Cajuns recording music for Columbia/Okeh.   They would record two songs as Dudley and James Fawvor, one entitled "La Valse De Creole".   Like many of the pre-Depression Cajun material, Okeh also co-released this on their "Arcadian French" series however, the Okeh pressing misspelled it as "La Vals De Breole".   By 1929, the duo had created a proto-swing sound in Cameron Parish by combining Texas-style long-bow fiddle techniques with swinging guitar.

C'est pas la peine tu me dis "Non", faudra juste tu me dis "Oui",

C'est pas la peine tu me chagrines, faudra juste que tu marier,

Oh, oui, mon amie, quand le whisky est fini,

Oh, oui, mon amie, quand la valse s'en finie.

T'es perdu du grand bois, ouais, mon bebe, chère,
Jamais me qu'avec part mon jogue au plombeau,
C'est Jean à maison d'elle j'etre partir pour tout jour,
Je mettre de caillé et du pain de maïs pour te dîner de ta vie.

Dudley Fawvor
After an audition that included several compositions rendered in French, the record company representative offered the English-speaking duet a recording deal of $50 per person for the session.  Dudley, working as a structural engineer for the Texas Company and having just started his musical career, he and his brother's career abruptly ended.  Dudley died at a hospital in 1930 due to complications from having his tonsils removed. 

Their off-timed singing along with their difficult French phrasing makes it complicated to understand; almost phonetically singing the lyrics with their American accent.  In their lyrics, "jogue au plombeau" is a uniquely Cajun phrase describing the "jug on the pommel of the saddle" usually carrying water, whiskey, or some other liquid. Their two sides epitomized the impact of hillbilly and jazz on Cajun music with James using the full length of his bow to sustain his melodic phrasing.  The following year in 1929, Angelus Lejeune used this old melody for his recording of "La Valse de Pointe Noire".

It's not worth it, you don't have to say "No", you must say "Yes",

It's not worth it, you'll be sorry, will you just marry me,

Oh, yes, my friend, when the whiskey is finished,

Oh, yes, my friend, when then the waltz is over.

You're lost in the big woods, yeh, my baby, my dear,
Never will I share with you my pommel jug,
It was John at your house, I'll be leaving any day now,
I left curds and cornbread to keep you alive.

James Fawvor
Eventually, their music would go on to inspire other musicians including the young Luderin Darbone who would eventually form the Hackberry Ramblers.   The lovely Creole Waltz done by the Fawvors has the lyrics associated later with "Tout Les Deux Pour la Meme (Both for the Same)" by Lawrence Walker but the melody used in Nathan Abshire's "Kaplan Waltz" with a vague similarity to Nathan's "Holly Beach". His lyrics are more romantic in nature and less strange than the Fawvors. Oddly enough, Walker would record a different tune and entitle it "Creole Waltz".

  1. Cajun Breakdown : The Emergence of an American-Made Music: By Ryan Andre Brasseaux
  2. Louisiana Fiddlers By Ron Yule
  3. Discussions with Malinda and Curtis F.
  4. Lyrics by Jerry M and Stephane F


Cajun: Rare & Authentic (JSP, 2008)
Cajun Swamp Stomp, Vol 1 (Lumi, 2012)

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