Tuesday, September 5, 2017

"I Made A Big Mistake" - Iry Lejeune

"J'ai Fai Une Grosse Erreur".  In the 1940s and ‘50s, Iry LeJeune, a nearly blind accordionist who only lived 26 years, recorded Cajun songs that are still being imitated today.  Born near Church Point, Louisiana to a farming family, Iry, near blind from birth, turned to music as a young child. It was his cousin, Angeles LeJeune, who first introduced him to the accordion. But it was the records of Amedee Ardoin that most inspired him, influencing both his Cajun-French style and his recording future.5  Yet, the growing popularity of local country music stars during the 1950s also had impact on his creativity. Known for his soulful music, many consider LeJeune to be the greatest Cajun accordion player and recording artist of all time.

In the recording, Iry had Alfred Cormier playing rhythm guitar and Wilson Granger playing fiddle.  Wilson's first stint with Iry was around 1948 when Earl Demary occasionally would hire Iry to join his Musical Aces for dances around Lake Charles and southeast Texas.   Besides playing with Iry in the Musical Aces, he played with Iry for two stints in the 1950s, one where they recorded "I Made A Big Mistake" (#1057) on Eddie Shuler's Goldband label. Allegedly, written by record producer J. D. Miller, Iry chose to cover this song in 1954 after Jimmy Newman failed to garner any success with it in 1951.   
Quand j'ai quitté de la maison,
Moi, je croyais j'avais raison,
J'avais dit j'aurais jamais revenu,
Ça a pas été si longtemps,
Je t'ai eu te besoin z-à mon côté,
C'est là j'ai vu j'avais fait une grosse erreur.

Moi, je t'ai rejoint dessus la rue,
Avec un autre à ton côté,
Tu ressemblais si contente et aussi heureuse,
Avec des larmes dedans mes yeux,
Et mon cher cœur aussi cassé,
Moi je savais j'avais fait une grosse erreur.

Dans la clarté du soleil,
Et la lumière de la lune,
Moi j'ai vu personne qu'est si heureuse,
Avec des larmes dedans mes yeux,
Et mon cher cœur aussi cassé,
C'est là j'ai vu j'avais fait,
Une grosse erreur.
Robert Bertrand, Wilson Granger,
Iry Lejeune, Alfred Cormier

"I Made A Big Mistake" was recorded at Iry's house along with Wilson on fiddle. Wilson stated that many people thought that J. B. Fuselier played on this record because Wilson left the group soon after the recording and J. B. jumped in until the his death. Eddie would later release the song on 45 RPM, first using the maroon Folk-Star label and later on using his yellow Goldband label.
When I left home,
I believed I had a reason,
I said I'd never return,
It wasn't for very long,
I needed you by my side,
It's then I saw I had made a big mistake.

I met you on the street,
With another at your side,
You seemed so content and happy,
With tears in my eyes,
And my dear heart is also broken,
I knew I had made a big mistake.

In the clarity of the sun,
And the light of the moon,
I saw a person who was so happy,
With tears in my eyes,
And my dear heart so broken,
That's when I saw I had made,
A big mistake.

According to Walter Mouton, Iry was the only accordion player he ever saw in his life who could carry on a full conversation while playing.  

  1. South to Louisiana: The Music of the Cajun Bayous By John Broven
  2. Louisiana Fiddlers By Ron Yule
  3. Discussions with Sarah Dover Savoy Gonzales
  4. "Iry Lejeune: Wailin the Blues Cajun Style" by Ron Yule
  5. https://www.bestofneworleans.com/blogofneworleans/archives/2011/10/12/iry-lejeune-cajun-accordion-player
Iry Lejeune: Cajun's Greatest: The Definitive Collection (Ace, 2003)

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