Wednesday, September 27, 2017

"Brow Bridge Waltz" - Floyd Leblanc

Floyd LeBlanc was born in Mermentau, Louisiana and his musical career began at an early age.  He had learned to play music from his father and grew up around music.  He had moved to Texas and after WWII, joined Bennie Hess' Houston-based Oklahoma Tornadoes as their fiddle player.1  Riding the wave of Cajun music resurgence, in 1947, Floyd recorded several of his own French fiddle tunes, one called "Brow Bridge Waltz" (#110) for Bennie Hess' Opera records in Houston, Texas. 

Moi, j'connais, t'es après me quitter, chère, 

Pour t'en aller dedans les chemins,
Pourquoi-donc mais tu me fais ça, chère, 
Moi, j'connais, jolie fille, tu vas pleurer.

Rappelles-toi tout ça t'as dit, chère, 
I(l) y pas longtemps de ton papa,
Si jamais que j'vas te revoir, chère, 
Moi, j'connais, jolie fille, tu vas pleurer.
Floyd Leblanc

Here, Floyd gave it the name of a small Cajun town called Breaux Bridge, misspelled as 'Brow' Bridge.  It was a key town settled by Firmin Pierre Breaux, a son of a Acadian settlers.  Born in Acadie, Firmin acquired land along the busy commercial waterway known as the Bayou Teche in 1771.  He and his son built a footbridge in 1799 across the Bayou Teche and maintained it in order to ease the passage of his family and neighbors across the Teche.2  Being one of the few crossing points along the Teche river, a town grew around the location and was named after the bridge.   

I know, you have left me, dear, 

Headed along the road,
Why, well, did you do that, dear, 
I know, pretty girl, you'll going to cry.

Remember, all that you've said, dear, 
Not long ago with your dad,
If I ever see you again, dear,
I know, pretty girl, you're going to cry.
The melody was an extremely popular one among musicians in the region stemming from Angelas Lejeune's 1929 version of "La Valse de Pointe Noir" which would become more popularly known as Nathan Abshire's "Kaplan Waltz" in 1949.  Even Abe Manuel used the same melody for his "Ville Platte Waltz" when he played with Jelly Elliot.   The melody can be found in the recording of Bixy Guidry & Percy Babineaux as "Vien A La Maison Avec Moi" and even earlier by Dudley and James Fawvor as "La Valse De Creole" in 1928.  Amede Ardoin's "Valse De Ballard" carried some similarities.

  3. Lyrics by Stephane F
Cajun Music - The Early 50's (Arhoolie, 1975)
Bayou Two-Step - Cajun Hits From Louisiana 1929-1962 (Jasmine, 2015)

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