Wednesday, August 10, 2016

"Pas Aller Vita (Step It Fast)" - Hackberry Ramblers

The Hackberry Ramblers were the first band in southwest Louisiana to blend Cajun music, sung in French, with old-time string band music and a wide variety of popular styles disseminated by the then-new medium of radio. They were also the first group to use electronic amplification in order to increase the volume of acoustic instruments such as the fiddle. Although the Ramblers started out as an all-acoustic string band, by the 1940s they had evolved into a full Western swing orchestra.2   

Luderin Darbonne's father worked in the Louisiana-Texas oilfields and the family moved frequently. When Darbone was 12, his mother gave him his first fiddle.
"She called it a violin," he remembers. "That's for reading sheet music; when you play by ear, it's called a fiddle."2 
Crowley Daily Signal
Apr 19, 1938
With no teachers available, he taught himself via correspondence course.

Here, the Ramblers recorded "Pas Aller Vita (Step It Fast)" for Bluebird records (#2021) in 1937. Sometimes spelled "Pas Allez Vite", it was a cover of the 1929 instrumental "Vas Y Carrement" by the Breaux Brothers.   Recorded at the St. Charles Hotel in New Orleans, LA, the group consisted of Lennis Sonnier on guitar, Floyd Shreve on guitar, Claude "Pete" Duhon on bass, and  Luderin Darbone on fiddle.  Recalling their session, Darbonne stated:
At that time, we'd record with one microphone, and we'd surround the microphone -- four players. And they used a wax disk.1
The band dissolved a few times before the war before reorganizing as Luderin Darbone and the Hackberry Ramblers in 1945.  Two years later in 1947, the group re-recorded the tune for Deluxe Records as "Step It Faster".

(top) Lennis Sonnier, Claude "Pete" Duhon,
(bottom) Luderin Darbonne, possibly Floyd Shreve


Cajun Louisiane 1928-1939 (Fremeaux, 2003)
Cajun Early Recordings (JSP, 2004)

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