Saturday, September 3, 2016

"Je Vas Jamais Lessair Pleurer (I'll Never Let You Cry)" - Alley Boys of Abbeville

By 1939, plenty of Louisiana jazz music was on the airwaves and being played in larger dance halls. Keeping in step with current trends in Cajun music, the Alley Boys of Abbeville outfit modernized their sound by employing a rudimentary public address system that operated off of a car battery during performances.   This allowed their  They featured French renditions of mainstream American tunes.  

J'va jamais t'laisser pleurer pour moi,

Tu vas jamais savoir comment moi j'pourais etre,

J'va jamais te dire combien d'temps tiend l'amour,

Tu vas jamais savoir a qui c'est qu'j'a pres jongler,

J'va jamais t'laisser rester dans la pluie,

J'va pas t'laisser espere pour derien,

J'va jamais enmener des larmes a tes yeux,

J'va jamais t'laisser pleurer.
Sydney Guidry

The song they performed during a mammoth Vocalion session was "Je Vous T'aime Lessair Pleurer" in 1939 sung by Frank "Tee Tee" Mailhes.  Frank was accompanied by Sidney and Murphy Guidry on guitars, Lourse "Mockay" Touchet Leger on steel resonator guitar, and Maxie Touchet on drums.  "I'll Never Let You Cry" was written by Lew Pollack and lyrics by Sidney Mitchell two years earlier for the film "In Old Chicago".  Later, the song was popularized with Artie Shaw in 1938 and much later by Slim Whitman. That same year, Bill Boyd & His Cowboy Ramblers covered a very popular version of the song.  When the band returned from the session, Lourse's daughter Carolyn recalled,
That's the one people around here liked.2   

I'll never let you cry for me,

You have never known how nice I can be,

I'll never tell you how much I'm in love,

You'll never know who I'm thinking of,

I'll never let you stay in the rain,

I'll not let you wait around for nothing,

I'll never allow the tears in your eyes,

I'll never let you cry.

In addition to maintaining club dates, the band found work on KVOL.  The Tuff-Nutt Company sponsored the group's weekly broadcast, though the business could only provide the group with uniforms as payment. According to Sidney Guidry:

You have no idea how bad times were in South Louisiana, around 1938-1939.  Man, times were tough and although Tuff-Nutt didn't pay us, we were happy to have the clothes.1

  1. Cajun Breakdown: The Emergence of an American-Made Music By Ryan Andre Brasseaux
  2. Discussions with Carolyn T S
Cajun Vol. 1 Abbeville Breakdown 1929-1939 (Columbia, 1990)
Cajun: Rare & Authentic (JSP, 2008)

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