Wednesday, April 5, 2017

"Valse De Estherwood (Estherwood Waltz)" - Leo Soileau

Leo Soileau was a Cajun musician from Ville Platte that recorded the second Cajun group after Joe Falcon.  He recorded late 1928 with a bluesy accordion player named Mayuse Lafleur.   Leo kept recording traditional Cajun music with an accordion led duo until the end of 1929.  After string bands took over the airwaves in 1936, Louisiana saw bands like Leo Soileau's Aces changed from purely Cajun French songs to a mixed group of English and French tunes.   Leo used this session in New Orleans to record both styles.  In the wake of Ace' initial and influential recordings, Soileau continued to revamp extensively the sounds of commercial Cajun music. 

I had fiddle, piano, sometimes I had two guitars, a steel, electric mandolin, and saxophone and bass.   I have as much as eight piece bands.

Ohh, mais toi m'avais*, chère

Ohh, mais pourquoi, donc, bébé

Hé, mais toi p’tite fille, chère

Ohh, mais aussi loin bébé

Oh, mais toi m'avais*, chère,
Oh, mais pourquoi donc, mais, tu fais ça?

Hé, mais moi, je m’en vas à la maison
Oh, mais pour te rejoindre, malheureuse

Hé, tu m’as quitté moi tout seul
Ohh, pourquoi donc mais tu fais ça?
Leo Soileau (second, bottom row)
Image courtesy of Johnnie Allan & the 
Center for Louisiana Studies, 
University of Louisiana at Lafayette

His line containing "toi m'avais" is confusing.  The love interest either had his love or would have had his love.   It could very well be saying something else, sounding similar such as "t'as m'avoué" in which the love interest confesses to the person.  

His Four Aces consisted of  Bill ‘Dewey’ Landry on guitar, Floyd Shreve on guitar and a slew of other musicians.  Leo named his song "Valse de Estherwood" (#17016) after a town not far from his residence of Crowley, Louisiana.   Estherwood is a small community originally named "Tortue" after the Indian Chief Celestine La Tortue of the Attakapas nation.  It sits alongside the Trief bayou, which was named for Jean-Baptiste Trief, a mysterious person believed to have been one of Jean Lafitte's pirates.  In 1816, he was described as a "tall, dark, sinister-looking" man who wore large earrings like pirates once did.   The entire Mermentau River basin area was notoriously known for pirate activity.

There are several stories about how Estherwood got its name. A likely one is that it is the combination of two names: Wood, for a Dr. Wood who was once prominent in the area, and Esther, for the wife of a railroad executive. Another is the wood part may come from the fact that the trains stopped for fuel wood here.

Oh, well, you could've had me, dear,

Oh, well, why so, baby?

Hey, well, you little girl, dear,

Oh, well, so far away, baby.

Oh, well, you could've had me, dear,
Oh, well, why did you do that?

Hey, well, I'm going home,
Oh, well, to you you, oh my.

Hey, you left me all alone,
Oh, so why, well, did you do that?

  1. Cajun Breakdown: The Emergence of an American-Made Music By Ryan Andre Brasseaux
  2. Label scan by University of Louisiana at Lafayette Cajun and Creole Music Collection - Special Collections
  3. Lyrics by Jordy A

No comments:

Post a Comment

Got info? Pics? Feel free to submit.