Saturday, June 25, 2016

"Bury Me In A Corner Of The Yard" - Segura Brothers

The Segura brothers were two Louisiana-born Spanish brothers from around Delcambre that had been successful in landing recording sessions for Columbia records.   By the end of 1928, after responding to an ad in the paper, they made their way to New Orleans and recorded "Bury Me In A Corner Of The Yard" (#90000/40500).  It would be the first in a series of Cajun recordings that Columbia released in the late part of the 1920s.  Author Raymond Francois explains that Queue de Tortue ("turtle's tail") is thought to be the name of an Indian family who lived on what is now called Bayou Queue de Tortue between Crowley and Kaplan, Louisiana.1

'Tit fille, quand j'vas mourir, enterre pas moi dans le cimetière, 

Enterre donc moi dans le coin de la cour, dans le coin de la cour de ton papa,

Mais laisse donc moi, mes 'tits yeux sortis, mais, c'est pour voir tes chers 'tits yeux

Qui va rester mais si canailles, mais oui, tout l'temps d'ta vie chérie.

Tous les matins, quand je passe devant la porte de ton papa,
Mais, ton papa est planté avec la pipe au bec qui rit.

Allons à la Queue de Tortue mais c'est pour vivre sur le pain perdu, 
J'maudis tes criminelles, je maudis mes petites bouteilles,
C'est toi la cause mais si la belle, mais si la belle veux plus de moi.
Dewey and Eddie Segura

Turtles are common place in most of Louisiana, with natives using the animal for food, such as a turtle sauce piquant (stew).  Most likely, Dewey is referring to the location of the Louisiana community of Queue de Tortue, located near the bayou with the same name.  The bayou itself was most likely named after the Attakapas Indian chief, Celestine La Tortue.2 The phrase "pain perdu", while directly translating to "lost bread", loosely refers to what Cajuns call "French toast". 

By the time Dewey was eight, Dewey was given his own accordion and was experienced enough to play at Saturday-night dances run by his father, where he 'used to play most anything'.  During the next few years, Dewey presumably kept up with his musical activities but in 1925, he became involved in the hazardous and profitable occupation of moon-shining.  He transported bootleg liquor as fa afield as Lake Charles and east Texas.  Dewey's exploits of whiskey-running, in a converted Chandler sedan, with a a 50-gallon tank of liquor instead of a back seat, sometimes accompanied by his wife and their several children 'asleep' on a blanket at the back to avoid detection, make colorful and hair-raising tales.3 

Crowley Daily Signal
Mar 15, 1929

Little girl, when I go to die, do not bury me in the cemetery,

So, bury me in the corner of the courtyard, in the corner of your dad's courtyard,

Well, let me keep my little eyes out, well, it's to see your little eyes,

Who are staying, well, mischievous, well yeah, for the rest of your life, dear.

Every morning, well, when I passed by your dad's door,
Well, your dad stands there with a pipe in his mouth, laughing.

Going to Queue de Tortue, well, to live on French toast,
I curse these criminal things, well, I curse my small bottles,
You're the reason, well, so beautiful, well, so beautiful, I want more.
Later, Moise Robin would re-record the tune as "Queue d'Tortue", (however, I have not been able to find any official source of this recording).  Related songs are Nathan Abshire's "Allons Tuer la Tortue" and Reggie Matte's and Ambrose Thibodeaux's "Cimetiere."   That original melody of "La Queue d'Tortue" also found it's way into Aldus Roger's "Hix Wagon Wheel Special".

  1. "Ye Yaille Chere, Traditional Cajun Dance Music" by Raymond E. Francois
  2. Indian tribes of the lower Mississippi Valley and adjacent coast of the Gulf ...By John Reed Swanton
  3. Old Time Music. No.40. Winter 1984.  John H Cowley
  4. Lyrics by 'Victor', Stephane F and Stéphanie D
Cajun: Rare & Authentic (JSP, 2008)
The Very Best of Cajun: La Stomp Creole, Vol. 1 (Viper, 2016)

1 comment:

  1. I'd like to have a discussion regarding the fact that... whatever is playing the "ti' fer'" part seems to be tuned to A ... the key of the tune... Who knows anything about this?


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