Wednesday, March 1, 2017

"C'est Si Triste Sans Lui (It Is So Blue Without Him)" - Cleoma Breaux

An extremely bluesy number, Joe Falcon knew how to turn the accordion into an agonizing melody, expressing misery and despair as no other Cajun accordionist could.  He and his wife-to-be, Cleoma Breaux, traveled to Atlanta, this time with her brothers.  As the duo sat in a make shift studio in Atlanta, Cleoma Breaux recorded one of their more obscure songs during their session.   It's a sorrowful cry for one's love to return.  


Le seul homme j’aimais,
Il m’a quitté moi toute seule,
Pour s’en aller avec une autre que moi,
Oh, moi j’prends ça si dur,
Moi j’prie jour et nuit pour il s’en revienne avec moi.

Oh je vois pas quoi j’ai fait,
Pour il m’quitte dans tous les chagrins,
Il m’a dit ça j’avais fait pouvait donc jamais (z)oublier,
J’ai donc prié jour et nuit,
Pour lui s’en revienne avec moi.

Quand il a quitté la maison,
Il m’a dit de l’observer,
Pardon(?) moi j’avais fait pouvait donc jamais l’oublier,
Il m’a dit d’attacher le crèpe noir sur la porte,
Parce que lui, il aurait jamais r’venu.


Hearkening back to the "unhappy love" theme, "C'est Si Triste Sans Lui" tells the story of a girl abandoned by her lover.  Her reference to a "crèpe noir", a black funeral cloth, signifies the importance of the loss as similar to the death of a loved one.  The song's sentimental lyric is completely subverted by the raucous performance which features Cléoma Breaux on vocal and guitar, Joe Falcon on accordion, and Cléoma's brother Ophy on a barely audible fiddle (not listed on the original label, even though Ophy Breaux is credited).1 "C'est Si Triste Sans Lui" (#40508) was recorded in Atlanta, Georgia on April 18, 1929, the day before Falcon and Breaux recorded "Acadian One Step."1



The only man I ever loved,

has left me all alone,

He ran off with somebody else,

Oh, I'm taking this so hard,

I pray day and night that he'll come back to me.



I don't know what I did wrong,

For him to leave me with all this pain,

He said he did it so I'd never forget,

I pray day and night,

That he'll come back to me.


When he left the house,
He told me to take a good look at him,
He said he was doing this so I'd never forget,
He told me to hang black fabric over the door,
Because he was never coming back.

Her vocals were stellar and Joe's accompaniment filled the song, allowing for Cleoma's beauty as a person and musician to shine.  Fiddler Dennis Mcgee described Cleoma:


A beautiful little woman with black frizzy hair, black, black eyes and white, white skin.  Joe Falcon was lucky to have her.2





  1. http://theanthologyofamericanfolkmusic.blogspot.com/2010/07/cest-si-triste-sans-lui-it-is-so-blue.html
  2. http://www.mustrad.org.uk/reviews/caj_orig.htm
  3. Lyrics by Marc C
Find:
Cajun Dance Party: Fais Do-Do (Legacy/Columbia, 1994)
Anthology of American Folk Music (Smithsonian Folkways, 1997)
Les Cajuns Best Of 2002 Les Triomphes De La Country Volume 12 (Habana, 2002)
Prends Donc Courage - Early Black & White Cajun (Swamp Music Vol. VI) (Trikont, 2005)
American Folk Music, Vol. 4 (Classic, 2009)
The Perfect Roots & Blues Collection (Sony, 2015)

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