Thursday, November 3, 2016

"Vous M'Avez Donné Vôtre Parole (You Gave Me Your Word)" - Dennis McGee

Few people can be justifiably regarded as both an originator of a particular style of music and also as a conveyor of an older style of folk music in its own right.   One such artist was the unique Cajun, Dennis McGee. Every recording was done either with a second fiddler and with McGee providing the vocals, or in the role of the accompanying fiddler behind an accordion player and vocalist.  Since McGee was one of the earliest Cajun artists to record commercially, most musicians, collectors, and scholars regard him, along with the black accordion player, Amédé Ardoin, as the source of most traditional Cajun tunes and the techniques developed to play them; the true vine, as it were.1 

Tu m'as promis, tu m'as promis, mais ton 'tit cœur malheureux, 

Mais, 'gardez donc, tu vas faire mais pour toujours,

Mais, rappelle toi, les promesses tu m'as fait, 

Mais, rappelle toi, jolie, tu m'avais dit "mais jamais cher", 

Tu m'aurais tourner ton dos pour un autre joli-cœur.

J'ai la blâme, mais, aujourd'hui mais tu fais ça, t'es joli, 
Mais, gardez-donc, malheureuse, ennuyeuse,
Mais, comment-donc tu vas faire, mais, moi tout seul, malheureuse.

Oui, t'as fait chère cousine te va m'abandonnes de ton nèg', 
Mais joli-cœur, mais rappelles toi,
Mais, des accroires que t'avais fait avec ton nèg'.....,
Tu rappeler, mais, si longtemps.

'Gardez donc, malheureuse, comment tu l’aime toujours,
Comme un misérable, oh mais m’aime, mais, malheureuse,
Yéyaïe, je voulais, mais bien, eh chère.
Dennis McGee and Sady Courville

"Vous M'Avez Donné Vôtre Parole (You Gave Me Your Word)" was a song recorded alongside fiddler Sady Courville.   Together, they headed to New Orleans in 1929 and recorded it for Vocalion records (#5348). The song's melody has a loose similarity to Amede Breaux's "Ma Blonde Est Partie".  

You promised me, you promised me, well, your little heart, oh my,

Well, look at what you've gone done, well, always.

Well, you remember the promises you had made, 

Well, you remember, my pretty one, you had said, "I'll never" dear,

Yet, you have turned your back for another sweetheart.

I am to blame, well, today, well, you have done that, you pretty one,

Well, look at that, oh my, I'm lonesome,

Well, how are you going to do this, well, I'm all alone, oh my.

Yes, you did, dear cousin, you have abandoned your old man,
Well, sweetheart, well, you've returned,
Well, all the tears you have done to your old man,
Well, remember, it wasn't long ago.

Look at that, oh my, how do you still love him,
Like a miserable one, oh, you like him, well, oh my,
Oh ye yaille, I wish you well, dear. 

Not only did McGee record from 1929 to 1934 with such artists as Amédé Ardoin, Sady Courville, Wade Fruge, and Angelas Le Jeunne, but he also later recorded two “studio” albums in 1972 and 1977 with Sady Courville for Morning Star and Swallow, respectively.  Fewer still are those who were aurally documented in the 1920s & 1930s and in the 1970s & 1980s who showed little loss of skill or recollection of repertoire.1

  2. Lyrics by Stephane F, 'ericajun', and Marc C
The Complete Early Recordings of Dennis McGee (Yazoo, 1994)
Cajun Early Recordings (JSP, 2004)
Aimer Et Perdre: To Love & To Lose Songs, 1917-1934 (Tompkins Square, 2012)

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