Thursday, June 2, 2016

"Mon Cour Me Fais Ci Mal" - Hackberry Ramblers

Cash was king during the 1930s in the South and both the companies and the recording artists knew this.  The main recording A&R scout for Victor Bluebird in the area was Eli Oberstein.  Luderin Darbone recalls:
He was there every time. We recorded twice a year for the next... until the latter part of 1938.  Every six months they would call us. 

We'd talk about our recording session. We'd start recording and maybe in three hours time we would be through and then we'd take off.  He'd pay us off and then that would be it.   I know he had a lot of cash on him.  He would pay us off in cash. If we took royalty, he would pay for our expenses which was an advancement.1

J'avais une chere tit fille,

Qui m'aimait aussi tant,

J'ai quitté pour m'en aller. 

Oh, mon cœur me fait si mal.

Chere, ton neg j'ai pas bien fait,
Quand je t'ai quitté toi tout seul,
Asteur, t'es pour de mal que moi.
Ah, mon cœur me fait si mal.

J'dois m'en aller dans le Texas,
Parce que, je connais, tu m'aimes (de) plus,
J'vas essayer de t'oublier.
Ah, mon coeur me fait si mal.
Life Magazine
May 1939
The song is about leaving a girl to go to Texas.     "Asteur" used here is the corrupted spelling of the old French phrase "a ç't'heure" which means "at this time", or better yet, "right now".  Sung by Luderin Darbonne, this 1938 recording of "Mon Cour Me Fais Ci Mal" (#2048) was backed by Dannny Shreve on guitar, Floyd Shreve on guitar, and Claude "Pete" Duhon on bass.

Victor was using the money from selling records and Victrolas to pay for the field sessions.   When the Bluebird label started, they were advertising records "3 for a dollar".  By 1939, a RCA Victor Model U-123 which sat in your home living room could run $130 while a portable Model O-12 could cost a buyer $12.50.2

I had a dear little girl,

Who loved me so much,

I left to go away,

Oh, my heart hurts so bad.

Dearest, your man, I'm not feeling well,
When I left you all by yourself,
Right now, you're trouble for me,
Ah, my heart hurts so bad.

I gotta go to Texas,
Beacause, I know, you love another,
I'm gonna try to forget you,
Ah, my heart hurts so bad.

Bluebird also pressed the song on #2088 as well, changing the spelling from "fais" to "fois".

Floyd Shreve, Luderin Darbone,
Danny Shreve, Claude "Pete" Duhon

  2. Life Magazine. May 1939.
  3. Lyrics by Stephane F and Jerry M
Louisiana Cajun Music Volume 8: The Hackberry Ramblers - Early Recordings 1935-1948 (Old Timey, 1988)

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