Monday, December 5, 2016

"Tostape De Jennings" - Amede Ardoin

Singer and accordionist Amédé Ardoin is generally recognized as the most influential figure in the early development of both Creole and Cajun music, two distinct styles which nonetheless have much in common, especially in the years between the two World Wars, when the recording of Southern folk music first became possible.1 His last session, a solo one, was done by Decca in New York City in 1934.  According to historian and author Dr. Barry Ancelet:

Those New York recordings that he did, every single cut, he made up there.3

Oh, catin, t'es parents ça veut pas,
Oh, jolie, ayou moi je vas aller pour être capable-donc, te voir,
Toi, t'es parents veulent pas moi je vas là avec toi. 

Oh, ye yaille, comment je vas faire, j'suis tout seul,
Oh, catin, si toi, tu jongler, toi, sur les misères tu m'as fait.
Y a déjà pas longtemps tu me ferais donc, pas ça.

Oh, c'est beau.

Oh ye yaille, catin,
Ayou c'est moi je vas aller, 'tit monde,
Je m'en va à la maison, toi, je vas en demandant,
Oh, catin, ayou je vas aller pour moi te rejoindre, tit monde.

Dimanche matin, toi, moi j'avais contûme,
Penser te rejoindre pour te ramener à quique part.

Sûre, ta maman veut pas que je t'emmène en nulle part.
Jennings, Louisiana, 1909

Two Step de Jennings" (#17002), incorrectly written as "Tostape De Jennings", was an ode to the small town of Jennings, Louisiana.  The Jennings area was settled in the main by wheat farmers of Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska and other Midwestern states.  Named after Southern Pacific Railroad contractor, Jennings McComb, these settlers were predominately of Anglo-Saxon stock.  Over time, Cajuns would migrate westward into these areas as the oil industry boomed.  Oddly enough, the song is not actually a two step but a waltz.  

Amede Ardoin

Milton Vanicor recalls:
I’d go to the dance and Amédé Ardoin was our musician at that time, cuz the dances were all house dances. Amédé Ardoin, when I was a little boy, my daddy let the young kids have his house for a dance. He said, "I’ll let you have the house for a dance, IF you get Amédé Ardoin." I knew him very well. One of my cousins would go get him in Crowley and bring him to the house. My daddy would ask him to go get Amédé early, like on Saturday night, and he said, "I want to hear him with not a lot of noise like at the dance." He’d play around 4 o’clock, something like that... he’d play for my daddy a little bit before the dance.2

Oh, little doll, your parents don't want this,
Oh, little doll, where am I going to go to see you?
Your parents don't want me to go there with you.

Oh, ye yaille, what am I going to do, all alone?
Oh, little doll, if you would, reminisce on all the miseries you'e done to me,
It's not so long ago that you wouldn't have done that to me.

Oh, it's my beauty.

Oh, ye yaille, little doll,
Where am I going to go, little everything?
I'm going to the house, you, I'm going, asking,
Oh, little doll, where can I go to meet you, little everything?

Sunday mornings, I was always in the habit,
Of thinking about going to get you and take you somewhere,
Surely, your mom doesn't want me to bring you anywhere.

  1. Southeast Texas: Hot House of Zydeco by R. Wood.  Jared Synder
Amadé Ardoin – Louisiana Cajun Music Vol. 6 : Amadé Ardoin – The First Black Zydeco Recording Artist (1928–1938) (Old Timey)
I'm Never Comin Back: Roots of Zydeco (Arhoolie, 1995)
Mama I'll Be Long Gone: The Complete Recordings of Amede Ardoin (Tompkins Square, 2011)

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