Tuesday, September 13, 2016

"Hathaway Waltz" - Nathan Abshire

Nathan Abshire grew up near Gueydan, Louisiana and lived on the prairies around Basile, not for from Hathaway.   After recording in the 1930s, he began playing at the Avalon Club during after his service in the war.   Several of the band members, including the bar owner Quincy Davis, wanted the band to record tunes in a studio.  According to Eddie Shuler of Goldband records, he didn't have time for Nathan because of Iry's success and sent him to Virgil Bozeman.  Having teamed up with George Khoury and Virgil Bozeman in 1949, Nathan Abshire recorded a slew of tunes, one entitled "Hathaway Waltz" (#111).   With Nathan on vocals and accordion,  Earl Demary or Ernest Thibodeaux on guitar, Atlas Fruge on steel guitar, Jim Baker on bass, Oziet Kegley on drums, and Will Kegley or Wilson Granger on fiddle, the group pioneered the first recordings for Bozeman and Khoury.
Earl Demary, Wilson Granger, 
Eldrige Guidry, unknown on drums, 
Nathan Abshire, and Ernest Thibodeaux

Hathaway is a rural community in Jeff Davis Parish, between Jennings and Basile, founded by George Hathaway. The community sits on an old trail which connected the French Opelousas settlement with the Spanish settlements in Texas. It was an area frequented by musicians passing through, playing dance halls between the major highways.  
Hé, toi tit fille, rappelle toi, chere, 
Les consel tu as entendu de autant que mon, 'tit monde.

Hé Ha Ha! 

Hé te vas voir ton erreur, chere, 
Te vas voir ton erreur, ça sera trop tard.

Hé! Hé  Hé.... 

Hé! Te malheurese, te peut voir, chere, 
Tu peut voir tant les chargin merite peu ça, tit monde.

George Hathaway

George Hathaway, a native of Indiana and educated at Greencastle, moved to Jennings to develop rice farming and built the Lake Arthur Rice Mill.  He moved with several families from Iowa, Kentucky and Indiana in the late 1800s in order to develop agriculture in the south.   With his success came more farmers and their families populated the area.2

Hey, you little girl, remember, dear, 

The advice you heard so much from me, my dear little everything.

Hey ha ha!


Hey, you are going to see your mistake, dear, 
You are going to see your mistake, it will be too late.

Hey hey hey!

Hey, you're miserable, you can see, dear, 
You can see so much the grief, deserving so little of that, my dear little everything.
By 1949, Nathan was the key artist Virgil Bozman had on his OT label.  He played in dance-halls such as the Continental Club located near Hathaway where many of the local rice farmers frequented.  "Hathaway Waltz"  is an ode to the region where Nathan played.


  1. http://hathawayhistory.blogspot.com/
  2. American Miller and Processor. Volume 39, Issues 1-6. June 1, 1911.
  3. Lyrics by Jerry M
Find:
Nathan Abshire & the Pine Grove Boys - French Blues (Arhoolie, 1993)

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