Tuesday, August 2, 2016

"La Turtape De Saroied" - Amede Ardoin

The name most mentioned by respected Cajun musicians when asked for the most influential of all south Louisiana French musicians is Amede Ardoin. Ardoin, who died more than 70 years ago, was a black Creole French-speaking accordion player who single-handedly created the modern Cajun style. The three-dozen songs he recorded in New Orleans San Antonio and New York City (mostly accompanied by Cajun fiddler Dennis McGee) were hugely popular when they were released in the Twenties.2
Aye ye yaille, moi je m'en vas,

Oh, oui, moi je m'en vas,

Oui, je m'en vas à Church Pointe,

Oh, je m'en vas.

Oh, je m'en vas moi tout seul,
Oui, je m'en vas moi tout seul,
Y a oui, pas personne, ouis, qui veut venir avec moi, à Church Pointe,
Oh ye yaille, c'est la valse de Bellard.

Oh, ye yaille, moi j'après m'en aller,
Je m'en vas là-bas, oh, à Church Pointe.
Y en a pas personne qui veut venir avec moi,
Pour la voir, c'est la valse de Bellard, ye yaille.

Oh ye yaille, moi je m'en vas c'ez moi, mon tout seul pour aller,
Droite sur la route aujourd'hui,
C'etait un dimanche matin j'ai parti, je vas aller la rejoindre,
Oh la Bellard, je crois je vas aller, pense c'est dur le dimanche,
Elle toute seule.
Amede Ardoin

Here, Ardoin recorded alone in New York City were he waxed "La Turtape De Saroied" (#17023), also known as Saroied's Two Step, in 1934.  Amede's Afro-Creole accent indirectly became titles such as "turtape" and "tostape", which were misunderstood words for "two-step".  Interestingly enough, similar to his "Tostape De Jennings", neither songs were two-steps.  Rather they were steady waltzes.   According to Dan Nishimoto,
Ardoin’s accordion-playing is remarkably consistent, whether he is squeezing out clusters of notes on “Si Dur D’etre Seul” or leaning into the oompah-beat of “La Turtape de Saroied.”1

Aye ye yaille, I'm leaving,

Oh yeh, I'm going,

Yeh, to Church Point,

Oh I'm leaving.

Oh, I'm going alone,
Yes, I'm going all alone,
There is, yeh, nobone who wants to come with me to Church Point.
Ye yaille, it's Bellard's waltz.

Aye ye yaille, I'm leaving,
I'm going over there to Church Pointe,
Noone wants to come with me,
To see her, it's Bellard's waltz, ye yaille.

Oh ye yaille, I'm going to my house, all alone, I'm going,
To hit the road today,
It was a Sunday morning I left, I went to go meet her,
Oh Bellard, I believe I'm going to go, remember it's hard, on Sunday,
She'll be all alone.
The name "Saroied" has been lost to time. Was he referring to the French word for syrup (sirop) Was there someone in the audience named Saroied?  Was he referring to the name Savoy as suggested by record producer Chris Strachwitz?  It's unknown.  

In addition, there's another mystery between this song and his "La Valse Du Ballard".  Although the session notes list this recording as Saroied, given the lyrics of the tune specifically mentioning "c'est la valse de Bellard", the fact that both were recorded during the same Decca session and sound engineers occasionally mis-labeled French recordings on session sheets, there's a high probability that these two song titles were swapped.   

  1. http://www.prefixmag.com/reviews/amede-ardoin/mama-ill-be-long-gone/47751/
  2. http://www.downhomemusic.com/product/amede-ardoin-im-never-comin-back/
  3. Image by John Heneghan


Louisiana Cajun Music Vol. 5: The Early Years 1928-1938 (Old Timey, 1973)
I'm Never Comin Back: Roots of Zydeco (Arhoolie, 1995)
Authentic Cajun & Rare: 1929 - 1934 (JSP, 2008)
Mama I'll Be Long Gone: The Complete Recordings of Amede Ardoin (Tompkins Square, 2011)

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