Thursday, November 17, 2016

"La Musique Encore, Encore" - Dixie Ramblers

During the period of the 1930s, there were at least four different groups recording under the name Dixie Ramblers, one of them being a Cajun group from Lake Charles.  Hector Duhon, at the age of nine or ten, constructed his first fiddle from a cigar box and the first tune he played was T'es Petite mais T’es Mignonne ("You're little but you're cute"). Accordion music faded from public favor and was hardly heard in southwest Louisiana during the 1930's, the popular music of that day being heavily influenced by hillbilly string band music. Accordingly, Hector quit playing traditional Cajun music and created the Dixie Ramblers, a family string band of twin fiddles and two guitars. They traveled to New Orleans in 1936 during the peak of their popularity and cut six sides of blues and swing on the Bluebird label.3


Un jour, j’étais près musicien attablé comme un Parisien, 

Une dame s’approchait vite et bien, elle le regarde un musicien!



Quand moi je soufflais comme ça, le son qui s'en va au bout de là,

Oh, oh, oh, oh écoute là bas.



Si tu souffles ta trompette trop bien, le sang monte à tes reins,

Oh, oh, oh, oh compte du job demain.


Essaye encore, encore, 
La musique quand elle descend,
Comme ci, comme ça, comme ci, comme ça,
Et si quelqu’un qu’écoute là, qu'entendent (ils)*.

Et si tu peux taper dans tes bras, et ça fait tourner le destin venu,
Oh, oh, oh, oh qui choisit.

Quand moi je soufflais comme ça, je sens t’auras écouté,
Oh, oh, oh, oh écoute là bas.

Si tu souffles ta trompette trop bien, le sang monte à tes reins,
Oh, oh, oh, oh compte du job demain.

Essaye encore, encore, 
La musique quand elle descend,
Comme ci, comme ça, comme ci, comme ça,
Et si quelqu’un qu’écoute, qu'entendent (ils)*.

Et si tu peux taper dans tes bras, et ça fait tourner le destin venu,
Oh, oh, oh, qui choisit écoutez.
Hector Duhon

The 1936 song "La Musique Encore, Encore" (#2180) is of particular interest.  It's a 1935 jazz cover made famous by Tommy Dorsey, Hal Kemp, and jazz trumpeter, Wingy Manone.  Originally written by Edward Farley and Mike Riley, the lyrics by Red Hodgson, it's a Cajun version of their tune "The Music Goes Round And Round".   It featured Jesse Duhon on guitar; Hector Stutes on fiddle; Hector Duhon on fiddle; Larry LaLonde on vocals, and Willie Vincent on guitar and vocals.   According to annotator Pat Harrison:


It is a a wonderful side by the Ramblers and at times reminds the listener of something that a French cabaret performer might have used; perhaps not surprising because Hector Duhon himself pointed out that their repertoire included country songs, French numbers and songs they had heard on the radio.4
Many of the original lyrics had changed in Duhon's version, causing alot of confusion on certain lines.   It's quite possible he's trying to state "je sens que t’auras le goût d’là" or "boude là", possibly "I feel they'll get a taste of it over there".  Interestingly, "peux taper dans tes bras" signifies "clapping with your arms", which is another way of saying clapping with your hands, excitingly. *NOTE: "Qu'entendent (ils)" is a bizarre phrase, one which listeners can't quite make sense of.   It's quite possible he wants the audience "to choose to listen" as in "entendent choisir".   It's a phrasing in the song which has been lost to time and the vocalist could be singing something completely different.


Crowley Daily Signal
Jan 17, 1935

Willie Vincent was a versatile multi-instrumentalist, who like a good studio player, used the different varieties of instruments that are at least slightly related to the guitar to bring different blends to various songs. This included the pedal-steel guitar, which has been barely used in Cajun music, although its predominance in western swing bands, known for dueling pedal steels on either side of the stage.  Vincent's very existence on certain sessions is debated however, he definitely worked on and off with the Rayne-Bo Ramblers, the historic Cajun band under the leadership of the rotund, ecstatic Happy Fats.

Other instrumental contributions by Vincent took the music in different directions, such as when he played the banjo, also not the normal choice for a Cajun combo. At times he stayed in the background and played bass, developing primitive versions of the bass lines that would eventually become common currency on the zydeco market. Vincent's name does not show up on credits much past the '40s.1


One day, I was a musician seated like a Parisian,

A lady approached quickly and well, she looked like a musician!



When I blew like that, the sound which comes out over there,

Oh, oh, oh, oh listening over there.



If you blow your trumpet real good, the blood rushes giving chills down the back,

Oh, oh, oh, oh you can count on a job tomorrow.


Trying again and again, 
The music when it goes down,
Like this, like that, like this, like that,
And if someone is listening, then they'll understand.

And if you clap with your arms, and it turns out it's destiny,
Oh oh oh, which chooses (you).

When I blew like that, I feel you'll listen,
Oh, oh, oh, oh listening over there.

If you blow your trumpet real good, the blood rushes giving chills down the back,
Oh, oh, oh, oh you can count on a job tomorrow.

Trying again and again, 
The music when it goes down,
Like this, like that, like this, like that,
And if someone is listening, then they'll understand.

And if you clap with your arms, and it turns out it's destiny,
Oh oh oh, which chooses to listen.

Hector had abandoned music when he married, however, he would reform the group in the 1950s, this time with accordion player Octa Clark and his son Bessyl on steel guitar. They performed Saturday evenings on the Bayou Jamboree radio program in Lafayette and even wrote a song together called the "Dixie Rambler Special".  Later, after Bessyl left, the two older gents still played regularly, mainly at Mulate's and occasional festivals. In 1981, Arhoolie's Chris Strachwitz was the first to record the two legends accompanied by Michael Doucet on guitar at Doucet's home.2  Surprisingly, Octa had never before cut a record, turning down a number of offers in the past.3




  1. http://www.allmusic.com/artist/willie-vincent-mn0001716219/biography
  2. http://www.rootsworld.com/reviews/clark.html
  3. http://www.hechicero.com/louisiana/octaclark.html
  4. CAJUN-Rare & Authentic.  Pat Harrison.  Liner notes.
  5. Lyrics by Stephane F, Stephanie D, and 'ericajun'
Find:
CAJUN-Rare & Authentic (JSP, 2008)

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