Sunday, January 31, 2016

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

"En Jour A Venir (I'll Get Mine Bye And Bye)" - Sons Of Acadians

Jazz standards had their influence on much of the popular music in the larger cities of south Louisiana and east Texas, however, but it's impact in the Cajun prairies was much less obvious.  Prolific fiddler Oran "Doc" Guidry was no stranger to the genre and covered several tunes at a Decca session in Houston.  It's the Cajun rendition of a Columbia records 1925 jazz tune originally recorded by Fletcher Henderson and his orchestra.  It was based on the 1924 arrangement by Harry Pease; Ed Nelson; Larry Vincent called "Bye And Bye The Sun Will Shine".   The original recording features the famous Louis Armstrong on cornet.   

Oran "Doc" Guidry and his family gathered their group Sons Of Acadians together and recorded the tune "En Jour A Venir" (#17057).

J'm'en va dans l'chemin, j'me sens si bleu,

J'm'en va dans l'chemin, j'me sens si bleu, 

J'm'en va dans l'chemin,  j'me sens si bleu,

Perdu ma fille, mon buggie aussi,

J'va voir la mienne, un jour à v'nir.



J'va voir la mienne, un jour à v'nir,
J'va voir la mienne, un jour à v'nir,
J'va voir la mienne, un jour à v'nir,
Eyou les poules couchent pas si haut,
J'va voir la mienne, un jour à v'nir.

J'va à la rivière, c'est pour m'noyer,
J'va à la rivière, c'est pour m'noyer,
J'va à la rivière, c'est pour m'noyer,
Moi j'aime pas m'faire maltraiter,
J'va voir la mienne, un jour à v'nir.

Moi j'en va pour, pour r'joindre la mienne,
Moi j'en va pour, pour r'joindre la mienne,
Moi j'en va pour, pour r'joindre la mienne,
Elle a trouvé tout qu'que chose pour moi,
J' va voir la mienne un jour à v'nir.

Moi j'en va pour, pour r'joindre la Vielle ,
Moi j'en va pour, pour r'joindre la Vielle ,
Moi j'en va pour, pour r'joindre la Vielle ,
Elle a trouvé tout qu'que chose pour moi,
J' va voir la mienne un jour à v'nir.


By 1932, Jimmie Davis, along with Jack Davis, Jack Barnes, and Ruth White, traveled to Dallas and re-recorded the tune for Decca records.  It was most likely through Doc's friendship with Jimmie where he and his musicians first heard the tune, particularly with Decca crediting Jimmie as the author.  Texas swing adopted jazz stylings and many fiddle players in the region modeled their style after the popular genre.  

By 1939, the Sons of Acadians recorded the tune and featured Roscoe Whitlow on steel guitar, Nathan Guidry on string bass, and Sydney Guidry on vocals and guitar.  Sydney's line "un jour à v'nir" directly translates to "one day soon", however, the phrase "by and by" captures the underlying meaning better.  His phrase, "ayou les poules couchent pas si haut", contains the Cajun word "ayou", corrupted from "où est" and refers to the bottom rung of a chicken coup where droppings are piled up from nesting chickens above.

I headed down the path, I feel so blue,

I headed down the path, I feel so blue,

I headed down the path, I feel so blue,

Lost my daughter, my buggie also,

I'll get mine, by and by.



I'll get mine, by and by,
I'll get mine, by and by,
I'll get mine, by and by,
Where the chickens sleep, not very high up,
I'll get mine, by and by.

I'm going down to the river, in order to drown,
I'm going down to the river, in order to drown,
I'm going down to the river, in order to drown,
I don't like to be mistreated,
I'll get mine, by and by.

I'm going to pull myself together,
I'm going to pull myself together,
I'm going to pull myself together,
She found all these things for me,
I'll get mine, bye and bye.

I'm going to join my old lady,
I'm going to join my old lady,
I'm going to join my old lady,
She found all these things for me,
I'll get mine, by and by.

Later that same year, Louis Armstrong was now leading his own orchestra and re-recorded the tune for Decca as well.




  1. Lyrics by Marc C

Thursday, January 21, 2016

"La Nos A' Rosalia" - Marion Marcotte

In the 1950s, independent labels began to appear in south Louisiana, some of them in New Orleans.  They were interested in capturing the mature market of music that national labels had been serving for years. Mina Lea Crais and her husband, attorney and jazz trombonist, Bill Crais began Carnival records. 

Mina Lea Crais was born Mina Lea Sinske in Watertown, Wisconsin in 1924.  A devoted fan of New Orleans jazz, she first moved to New Orleans in the early 1950s.  Throughout her years in the city, she worked as a librarian at Charity Hospital School of Nursing, Tulane University and the World Trade Center, New Orleans.   They would later become part owners of Carnival Records and talent scouts for Golden Crest Records.1  In 1953, local musician Louis Marion Marcotte would record two sides, one entitled "La Nos A' Rosalia" (#4300) on Carnival records.



Quand j’ai été à la noce à Rosalia, j’ai tout été surpris,

Quand y ont passé la collation, j’va dire vous s’qu’ils ont servi:

Boulettes de poisson d'armé, des gros-bec et des plaquemines,
Du choux bouilli et du choux farci avec des écrevisses.

Quand on a eu fini d’souper, y n’a une soif qui m’a pris,
J’ai sorti dehors la loge de chevaux et j’ai bu de l’eau du puit,
Ça a commencé à me faire du mal, dans l’creux d’mon estomac,
Que d’être coucou j’avais été là, à la noce à Rosalia.

Quand j’ai rentré dans l’camp, j’ai été introduit,
à Rosalia et son mari qui s’appelle T-Valery,
Il semblait avec une lancette et elle ressemblait à une cagette(?),
J’ai jamais vu une femme comme ça, comme madame Rosalia.

Elle a commencé à me charmer, comme un écureuil,
Quand son mari guettait pas, elle m’faisait des clin-d’oeil,
J’étais bien embarrassé, avec cette nouvelle marié,
J’ai jamais vu un ça-s’a-quoi, à la noce à Rosalia.

Elle dit "monsieur Marcotte: Pourquoi tu danses pas avec moi?"
"C’est toi l’seul dans la place qui peut m’faire sentir bon."
"Mon mari c’est bien saoulé, j’aimerais faire des à-côté."
C’est pour ça j’ai resté à la noce si tard, pour soigné Rosalia.
Marion Marcotte

Marion's use of lyrics was a unique one in which he talked about life along the Cajun countryside.  He'd commonly describe things only natives would be familiar with and his stories are different because he has such a big vocabulary.  Being from Marksville, he used a lot of regional phrases. In his song, a "gros-bec", translated to "big beak", is the Cajun name for the yellow-crowned night heron. Given his experience with bride's flirtation, his phrasing of "ça-s’a-quoi" seems to be common to the phrase "what in the hell?", but with more a negative tone such as "WTF!"   Coming from a comedic background, it's no surprise in Marion's use of language and his "cross the line" sexual innuendo.  

When I was at the wedding of Rosalia, I was very surprised,

When they passed around snacks, I'll tell you what they served,

Gar fish dumplings, with gros-bec and with persimmons,
Boiled cabbage and stuffed cabbage with crawfish.

When we had finished the soup, a thirst came over me,
I went outside the horse barn and I drank water from the well,
It started to hurt, feeling pain in the center of my stomach,
It was cuckoo being there, at the wedding of Rosalia.

When I returned to the camp, I was being introduced,
Rosalia and her husband called T-Valery,
He looked like a lancet and she looked like a crate,
I've never seen a woman like that, like Madame Rosalia.

She began to act cute, like a squirrel,
When her husband wasn't watching, she knowingly wink at me,
I was embarrassed for this new groom,
I've never seen that, what the hell was that, at the wedding of Rosalia.

She told Mr. Marcotte: "Why do you dance with me?"
"You're the only one in the place that can make me feel good",
"My husband is completely drunk, I would 'cross the line'",
That's why I stayed at the wedding so late, caring for Rosalia.

In January 1958 Mina and her husband, Bill Crais, took over ownership of the Vieux Carré Music Shop at 706 Bourbon Street. Mina was also an active member of the New Orleans Jazz Club, even serving on the board for several years. Returning from more than a decade away from New Orleans, she brought out the first issue of MECCA, a magazine devoted entirely to traditional New Orleans jazz in January 1974.2




  1. http://specialcollections.tulane.edu/archon/?p=collections/findingaid&id=1622&q=&rootcontentid=185040
  2. Mina Lea Crais papers, 1953-2005. Hogan Jazz Archive.  Tulane.
  3. Lyrics by Stephane F, Bryan L, Marc C, and 'ericajun'
Find:
Marion Marcotte ‎– Favorite Cajun Tales (Swallow, 1981)
Cajun Capers: Cajun Music 1928-1954 (Proper, 2005)
The Best Of Cajun & Zydeco (Not Now, 2010)

Saturday, January 16, 2016

"Little Bitty Girl" - Lawrence Walker

Lawrence Walker helped usher in the accordion-led Cajun sound after the war. He was an important musician and bandleader in the field of Cajun music. He, along with Nathan Abshire, Aldus Roger, and Austin Pitre, was responsible for moving the accordion from the early style of playing to the dance hall sound of the post war era.3 A very rare glimpse of the jazz and country-western influence on Lawrence Walker's band, it's one of his few English recordings.    According to Johnnie Allan, he played about four or five country and western songs, but the majority of the job was strictly Cajun-French songs, some recorded by other artists.2 

If I was a little bitty girl and had a lot of money, 
I’d buy me a guitar player, he’d be as good as any. 
He’d pick, I’d pick, we’d both pick together. 
Wouldn’t we have a lot of fun just picking on one another!

If I was a little bitty girl and had a lot of money, 
I’d buy me an accordion player, he’d be as good as any. 
He’d squeeze, I’d squeeze, we’d both squeeze together. 
Wouldn’t we have a lot of fun just squeezing one another! 

If I was a little bitty girl and had a lot of money, 
I’d buy me a fiddle player, he’d be as good as any. 
He’d rub, I’d rub, we’d both rub together. 
Wouldn’t we have a lot of fun just rubbing on one another!

When I was a little bitty girl I had a lot of money, 
so I bought me a double bass player, he’s as good as any. 
He spanks, I spank, we both spank together. 
Man, we have a lot of fun just spanking one another!

When I was a little bitty girl I had a lot of money, 
so I bought me a drum player, he’s as good as any. 
He beat, I beat, we both beat together. 
Man, we have a lot of fun just beating on one another!

When I was a little bitty girl I had a lot of money, 
so I bought me a steel guitar player, he’s as good as any. 
He steal, I steal, we both steal together. 
Wouldn't we have a lot of fun just stealing one another!

Early on, Lawrence had recorded with almost exclusively with George Khoury's label and recorded "Little Bitty Girl" (#623) somewhere between late 1952 and early 1953. The tune is based on the 1946 comical jazz recording of Velma Nelson's "If I Were A Itty Bitty Girl" accompanied by Will Rowland And His Band on Aladdin records.  The song features a double entendre of a slight sexual innuendo, similar to songs such as Pine Grove Blues.1





  1. Negotiating Difference in French Louisiana Music: Categories, Stereotypes ... By Sara Le Menestrel
  2. "South To Louisiana: The Music of the Cajun Bayous" by John Broven
  3. Discussions with Kevin Fontenot
Find:
Essential Collection of Lawrence Walker (Swallow, 2010)

Monday, January 11, 2016

"Along The River" - Lee Sonnier

Credited as the first person to bring back the accordion into Cajun music after the war, Livaudais "Lee" Sonnier created some of the earliest post-war Cajun tunes on his father in law's Feature label.  J.D. Miller had his own hillbilly band at the time and decided to use his label to record his family.  One of the tunes, "Along The River" (#1041), is a Cajun French cover of a Hank Williams tune called "On the Bank of the old Pontchartrain" and sung by Elwood Dupuis.  With Elwood's undeniably rural Cajun vocal, pretty steel guitar, Sonnier's accordion poised in the background, and the delicious fiddle, it is the moving evocation of all that is at the heart of Cajun music.3

J’ai après marcher, ouais, au long de la rivière, 

Après échapper de la prison, 
Moi j’étais assis là, j'ai arrêté pour me reposer , 
Droite là, oui, au long de la rivière. 

Hé, la rivière!

La plus, ouais, belle fille mais que moi je veux jamais voir  ,
J’l’ai vu quand ça prise main à mouiller,
On a trouvé de l'abri, mais moi et elle, en bas l’même l’arbre,
Droite là, oui, au long de la rivière.   Ah, bon!

Un jour, il y a un homme qui a mis sa main dessus mon bras, 
Il dit pour attendre (pour) du temps encore,
Oui mais je l'ai laissé elle toute seule après pleurer,
Droite là, oui, au long de la rivière.
J.D. Miller
He starts the last line of each verse with "droite la" however, it seems this phrasing is similar to the French "près d’là" meaning "right there". Similar to Hank's song, Sonnier talks about escaping prison and finding a spot along a river.  It's the same spot he'd meet a girl as it began to rain, and the same spot he'd leave her crying to return to prison. 

By 1946, J.D. Miller's music career was ending.  Miller went from one band to another over the next few years—the Four Aces, the Rice City Ramblers, the Daylight Creepers. However, he stopped playing the night before his marriage to Georgia Sonnier, daughter of accordionist Lee Sonnier.1 

When I came out of the service, I went into business, I think it was '46, I went into electrical contracting.  By the time I bought me a store, I didn't have much left.  Of course, I was always interested in music anyhow, so I figured we would set us up in this field with a music department. And at that time I had numerous people who wanted French records.2
After walking, yeah, along the river,
After escaping from prison,
I was sitting there, I stopped to rest,
Near there, yes, along the river.

Hey, the river!

Furthermore, yeah, there's the most beautiful girl that I ever want to see,
I could see, well, it started to get wet,
We found some shelter, well, her and I, down by the same tree,
Near there, yes, along the river. Really!

One day, the man put his hand on my arm,
He says "You have more time to do",
Yes, well, I left her alone, crying,
Near there, yes, along the river.




  1. http://www.louisianafolklife.org/LT/Articles_Essays/miller_and_soileau.html
  2. South to Louisiana: The Music of the Cajun Bayous By John Broven
  3. Fais Do Do Breakdown - Volume One - The Late 1940's.  Liner notes.
  4. Lyrics by Stephane F, Jerry M, and 'ericajun'
Find:
Acadian All Star Special - The Pioneering Cajun Recordings Of J.D. Miller (Bear, 2011)

Monday, January 4, 2016

"Love Sick Waltz" - Aldus Roger

Aldus Roger was born in the small town of Carencro, near Lafayette, a musician's son who began playing the one-row diatonic accordion the locally preferred type of the instrument aged eight. By his mid-teens he was playing in public, but during the 1930s popular taste in rench-speaking south Louisiana swung away from the accordion to a string-band sound, closer to Anglo-American country music. It was not until the instrument enjoyed a revival in the 1950s, thanks to players like Iry LeJune, Nathan Abshire and Roger himself, that he made his mark with his band the Lafayette Playboys.2
Demandant ton p’tit cœur chère p’tite fille,
Il faut l’emmener à la maison z’avec moi,
Garde tout le temps mais bien te soigner, jolie fille,
Ou je te demande de t’en revenir avec ton nég.

Un(e) p’tit(e) bouclette de tes petits cheveux que j’aime autant,
Une p’tite caresse qui travaille aussi dure,
Mon petit cœur qui est si cassé juste pour toi,
Viens t’en donc avec ton nég à la maison.
Johnny Credeur, Phillip Alleman,
Fernest "Man" Abshire, Aldus Roger,
Oran "Doc" Guidry
While his contemporary and fellow accordionist Lawrence Walker favoured a smooth sound, "Aldus's music was loud. More into full force," as singer/historian Johnnie Allan remembered. According to J.D. Miller in a 1984 interview, 

Back there in 1946, when I set my studio up, there was very little to setting up a recording studio.  If I recall correctly, ...i believe I do, I had three microphones, I had a 4 channel Ampeg mixer, I had an audio amplifier, and a mono recorder.  It didn't take any time at all to setup anything, .... we were in business.
Roy Morgan
During the early 1950s, he and his band walked into the J.D. Miller studio in Crowley and waxed the "Love Sick Waltz" (#2004) for Feature records.  His song featured the vocalist and guitarist Roy Morgan, who played with many bands during the 1950s including Joe Falcon and his Silver String Band.
Asking your little sweetheart, dear little daughter,

You must come home with me,

To always look after you, well, take care of you, pretty girl,

Or I'll demand you return with your old man.

A small ringlet of your little hair that I love so much,
Lightly caressing it, it's difficult to handle,
My little heart is so broken, only for you,
Come back with your old man to his home. 

Crowley Daily Signal
Nov 18, 1961
For 15 years Roger had a television show on KLFY in Lafayette, and he made records for all the south Louisiana labels specializing in Cajun music, such as Goldband, Cajun Classics and, especially, La Louisianne, for whom he recorded numerous singles and three albums.2





  1. Lyrics by Stephane F
  2. http://www.theguardian.com/news/1999/jun/02/guardianobituaries2
  3. Photo identification by Michael Dupuy
Find:
Acadian All Star Special: The Pioneering Cajun Recordings of J.D. Miller (Bear Family, 2011)