Tuesday, July 19, 2016

"Ma Chere Joui Rouge" - J.B. Fuselier

J. B. Fuselier joined the string band craze in the mid 1930s, first joining banjo player Beethoven Miller and guitarist Preston Manuel.   Over time, Miller left the group and J. B. and Preston formed J. B. Fuselier and the Merrymakers.   They played in many of the same dance-halls around south Louisiana in which hosted Joe Werner, Hackberry Ramblers and Happy Fats.  
Tard dans l'après-midi, joue rose, dans le champ du blé,

Tard dans l'après-midi, joue rose, dans le champ du blé,

Dans le champ du blé, joue rose, dans le champ du blé,

Tard dans l'après-midi, joue rose, j'vais t'en revenir.



J'vais t'en revenir, joue rose, j'vais t'en revenir,

Tard dans l'après-midi, joue rose, dans le champ du blé.


Jongle a moi, joue rose, jongle a moi, 
Jour et nuit, joue rose, jongle a moi, 
Tard dans l'après-midi, joue rose, dans le champ du blé,
Tard dans l'après-midi, joue rose, dans le champ du blé,
Champ du blé, joue rose, dans le champ du blé
Tard dans l'après-midi, joue rose, mais, j'vais t'en revenir.

Jour et nuit, joue rose, je (suis) dessus mes genoux,
Jour et nuit, joue rose, je (suis) dessus mes genoux,
Dessus mes genoux, joue rose, je (suis) dessus mes genoux,
Jour et nuit, joue rose, pour toi qu'est si doux.
Champ du Blé


The tune is based on an old traditional American folk song known as "Down In The Valley" or "Birmingham Jail".1 This song is thought to have originated in the British Isles centuries ago. It appeared in the Southern mountains, populated by English, Scotch and Irish immigrants, around 1803. Later on the song was sung by the people traveling westward over the mountains of Tennessee and Kentucky into Arkansas and Missouri. The song was passed down through the generations by memorization, in the true folk-song tradition, and has remained popular through the years.2  The first appearance of the lyrics were in sheet music by H. M. Belden in 1909.  It was first recorded by Darby and Tarleton in 1927 for Columbia Records as "Birmingham Jail".   Two years later, they would record it again as "Down In The Valley" followed by Ezra Hill & Henry Johnson the same year.  Later in 1934, John Lomax published the song as a prison convict tune in his "American Ballads and Folk Songs" publication. The melody resembles another song called "Bird In A Cage".

Many numbers by Fuselier contained the words "Ma Chére" in the title such as "Ma Chére Catain", "Ma Chére Jolite", "Ma Chére Vieux Maison Suet", "Ma Chére Bouclett" and "Ma Chér Bassett".  "Chére" and "chér" itself is a corrupted form of the French word "chérie" which means "dear", commonly used as a term of endearment.  In this 1938 Bluebird recording entitled "Ma Chere Joui Rouge" (#2041), he refers to his "dear, rosy cheeks".    

Late in the afternoon, little rosy cheeks, in the wheat field,

Late in the afternoon, little rosy cheeks, in the wheat field,

In the wheat field, little rosy cheeks, in the wheat field,

Late in the afternoon, little rosy cheeks, I'm going to return to you.



I'm going to return to you, little rosy cheeks, I'm going to return to you,

Late in the afternoon, little rosy cheeks, in the wheat field.

I reminisced, little rosy cheeks, I reminisced,
Night and day, little rosy cheeks, I reminisced,
Late in the afternoon, little rosy cheeks, in the wheat field,
Late in the afternoon, little rosy cheeks, in the wheat field,
The wheat field, little rosy cheeks, in the wheat field,
Late in the afternoon, little rosy cheeks, I'm going to return to you.

Day and night, little rosy cheeks, I am on my knees,
Day and night, little rosy cheeks, I am on my knees,
On my knees, little rosy cheeks, I am on my knees,
Day and night, little rosy cheeks, for you are so sweet.
Joue rose can be found in the title of the Balfa Brothers song "Chere Joues Roses" covered by Steve Riley, Joel Sonnier, and others.




  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Down_in_the_Valley_(folk_song)
  2. http://www.darachweb.net/SongLyrics/DownInTheValley.html
  3. Lyrics by Stephanie D and Stephane F

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