Tuesday, December 13, 2016

"Un Fussi Qui Brille" - Roy Gonzales

Some of the best Cajun music was inspired by artists of other genres.  In 1929, Roy Gonzales recorded a series of memorable, though mostly long unavailable sides for Paramount that translated Jimmie Rodgers songs into Acadian French.1  Rodger's "T For Texas" was reworked into Roy's "Un Fussi Qui Brille" or "A Shiny Rifle" or "A Rifle That Shines" for Paramount records (#12807).    It was a song he had previously recorded with John H. Bertrand earlier that year in Chicago called "Je Veux M'Ahete Un Fuse Qui Brille" or "I Want A Rifle That Shines".

Je veux m'acheter un fusil avec une canon qui brille, 

oh j’veux m'acheter un fusil avec un canon qui brille, 

et je vais, sûr, tuer un homme qui a volé ma fille. (yodel) 


Garde-donc ici, chère, garde-donc ça t’as fais, 
Oh, garde ici chère, garde-donc ça t’as fais, 
Tu m’as fais t’aimer, là tu veux même plus. (yodel)

Quand je t’ai pris chez toi chère, tu marchais pieds nus, 
Quand je t’ai pris chez toi chère, tu marchais pieds nus, 
J’ai arrivé juste à temps pour pas tu m’as connu. (yodel) 

J’suis parti dans le Texas et  je peux sûr pas t’amener, 
Oh  j’suis  parti dans le Texas et  je peux sûr pas t’amener, 
ça fait rien (de bon) pour une fille (qui vient).
(yodel) 

La maison dedans, chère, c'est dur pas pour toi,
La maison dedans, chère, c'est dur pas pour toi,
Et l’homme qu’est devant moi, j'vas lui montrer que c'est pour moi. 
(yodel)
Starr Piano Company

The plaintiveness of the vocals and the French yodels require no understanding of the language to provoke emotional involvement, the way many French speakers responded to hearing Jimmie's original records.1  It's a story about the singer protecting his love interest, even at the barrell of a gun.   He states "c'est dur pas pour toi" meaning, "it's not hard for you", however, he wants his love interest to not fear living at the house while he holds back a man with his rifle.   He arrived at the Gennett Recording Studio, Starr Piano Company Building, Whitewater Gorge Park, Richmond, Indiana on the same day while Leo Soileau and Moise Robin were gearing up for their own Cajun recording session.  Roy sang, yodeled and played guitar and became friends with Leo.  His fascination with Jimmie Rodgers may have been due to Leo having met Jimmie the previous year.

I want to buy a gun with a barrel that shines,

Oh, I want to buy a gun with a barrel that shines,
And I will, surely, kill a man who stole my daughter.
(yodel)

So, look here, dear, look at what you've done,
Oh, look here, dear, look at what you've done,
You made me love you, now, I want you even more.
(yodel)

When I took you home, you walked barefoot,
When I took you home, you walked barefoot,
I arrived just in time, for you didn't remember me.
(yodel)

I have left for Texas and I surely can't bring you,
Oh, I left for Texas and I surely can't bring you,
It's nothing good for a girl who comes along.

(yodel)

In the house, dear, there's nothing to worry about,
In the house, dear, there's nothing to worry about,
And that man in front of me, I'll show him that (the gun), it's for me.

Roy's jazz-playing brother, Tony, would join Leo Soileau's Cajun string band as the first Cajun drummer.  In his later years, Roy would end up gambling his money away through horse racing and died a very poor man.2




  1. Meeting Jimmie Rodgers : How America's Original Roots Music Hero Changed the ... By Journalist Barry Mazor
  2. Discussions with Deborah G
  3. Lyrics by Stephane F

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