Tuesday, May 30, 2017

"Two Step De Te Momou" - J.B. Fuselier

It's one of Jean Baptiste Fuselier's more obscure tunes.   Not to be confused with Lawrence Walker's "Mamou Two Step", this tune was recorded among a slew of string band songs during the later part of the Cajun string-band era.   Misspelled version of "Tit Mamou", "Two Step De Te Momou" (#2079)  was an ode to the town of Mamou, Louisiana, not far from where J.B. was living.  The small group consisted of  Fuselier on fiddle and vocals, Preston Manuel on guitar, and probably M.J. Achten on guitar.

Oh, Mamou!

Oh chère, moi, je m’en vas dans ‘tit Mamou,
C’est pour voir, oh yaille, les jolies p‘tites filles.

Ohh, comment je vas faire là béb?

Oh chère, comment tu crois je peux faire?
Tu m’as quitté, moi tout seul, à ma maison, jolie.

Ohh ye yaille comment tu veux que je faire, jolie,
Ohh dans ma maison, jolie?
Crowley Daily Signal
Nov 18, 1949

One of the best-known lineups of the Merrymakers consisted of J.B. on fiddle, Desbra Fontenot on steel, Norris Courville on drums, and Preston Manuel on guitar.  Fiddler Varise Connor knew J.B. fairly well and played with him often, but after the Depression, money became an issue.  He recalled:
Back then, the Great Depression was so bad that they couldn't pay us enough to play dances.  You weren't guaranteed a fixed price, you had to play for a certain percentage of the money paid at the door.  I worked hard all the time, all the time.  When I stopped playing dances, that's when I started my saw mill.  I told J.B. "If you want to play your life for nothing, go ahead.  I quit."2   
Crawford Vincent sometimes sat in on the drums after J.B. moved to Lake Charles.1

Oh, Mamou!

Oh dear, I'm going to little Mamou,
It's to see, oh yaille, the little pretty girls,

Oh, how am I going to handle this, baby?

Oh dear, how do you think I can handle this?
You left me all alone at my house, pretty one.

Oh ye yaille, how will I do this, pretty one,
Oh, at my house, pretty one?

  1. Louisiana Fiddlers By Ron Yule, Bill Burge
  2. Ye Yaille Chere by Raymond Francois
  3. Lyrics by Stephane F and Jordy A

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