Thursday, September 14, 2017

"Pine Grove Boogie" - Nathan Abshire

Marking the height of Nathan Abshire's second music career, he and Virgil Bozeman teamed up with a band of musicians to lay down some of Nathan's favorite type of music... the blues!  Nathan's accordion, full of "blue" notes of tonal purity, was outstanding behind Roy Broussard's vocals.  

Bozeman worked both as a musician and as a house painter.  But then found himself in San Antonio stationed in the military. After the war, he joined Bennie Hess' Oklahoma Torndados band as a rhythm guitarist.  He was in Lake Charles, pushing his cowhorn sales when he gained an interest in what record producer Eddie Shuler was doing.  Originally, Bozeman had met with Eddie Shuler during one of his radio programs, trying to get into the recording business.   Virgil figured he'd work alongside Shuler to get Nathan to record a batch of songs, including a 1949 follow up to his Pine Grove Blues entitled "Pine Grove Boogie" (#111).   By this time, he, Will Kegley and Ernest Thibodeaux formed a new group with Nathan and added Atlas Fruge and Jim Baker.  Ron Broussard joined in for this particular session.  But Eddie referred Bozeman to a record salesman named George Khoury.  According to Eddie:

He came by, I still had a radio show at the time he came by. Well, first he came to me and I didn't want him. That's because I wasn't too enthused about what he was doing because he was singing and all that stuff.  He came and he got affiliated with George Khoury.5

Nathan Abshire

Oh, ayou toi t'as passé, ma chère petite négresse, que toi(?)
T’es partie avec un autre que moi,
Mais moi, je connais qu’il t’aime pas mieux, ouais, petite négresse.

Oh, ayou toi t’as passé avec un autre qui t’aime pas mieux, ouais, que moi?
Avec un autre qui t’aime pas mieux que moi,
Mais moi je connais t’auras du regret ’tite fille, ma négresse, (mais fait pas ça avec moi!)?

Although moderately successful, the recording was unable to duplicate the success of "Pine Grove Blues".  Bozman was running out of money and Khoury was no longer financially supporting him.  His meager band income was supplemented by an unusual profession: cowhorn salesman. According to Ernest Thibodeaux:
Virgel Bozman

Bozman tried to make a living any way he could.  He would walk around fields looking for the old Brahma bull horns.  He would take them, clean them up real nice and put a finish on them.  He didn't have any trouble selling them.  People would mount them in their house to hang their hats or coats.  I can bet they still might be in use.

Oh, where have you gone, my dear little woman, you,

You have left with someone other than me,

Well, I know he loves you no better, yeh, little woman.

Oh, where have you gone with another who loves you no better, yeh, than me,
With another one who loves you no better than me,
Well, I know you will have regrets, my woman. (Well, don't do that to me!)

It would be Virgel's last release near Lake Charles.  Realizing his business wasn't successful, he moved back to San Antonio.  He continued his O.T. label alongside Bob Tanner's facility by mailing his masters to Stephen Shaw and George Weitlauf in Cincinatti, OH.  His last Cajun release was Abshire's "Step It Fast".

  1. South to Louisiana: The Music of the Cajun Bayous By John Broven
  2. The Encyclopedia of Country Music
  4. Louisiana Music, Vol. 1 by Lyle F
  6. Lyrics by Jordy A
French Blues (Arhoolie, 1993)

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