Monday, September 11, 2017

"The Old Ice Man" - Leroy "Happy Fats" Leblanc

One of Harry Choates's more colorful musician companions was Harold "Popeye" Broussard.  Broussard by all accounts was an excellent piano man and singer.  His specialty was his rendition of the dance hall favorite "How Would You Like To Be The Old Ice Man".  Harry's fiddle and Broussard's piano complimented each other at times.  Other times, Harry and Popeye at times appeared to be in competition with each other to see who could raise the most hell.1 

Together, along with Happy Fats' Rayne-Bo Ramblers band, recorded the tune as "The Old Ice Man" (#8537) in Dallas, Texas in 1940.  They drew crowds and complimented any band they performed with.1 With Harry on fiddle and Popeye on vocals, their group consisted of Sandy Lormand on guitar, Pee Wee Broussard on banjo, Ray Clark on steel, and Happy Fats on bass.



How'd you like to be that old ice man,

Sell the coldest stuff in town,

How'd you like to be that old ice man,
I mean to turn you down,
Since bacon went up to a dollar a pound,
I ate so many rabbits I've been jumping around,
How'd you like to be that old ice man,
Sell the coldest stuff in town.

How'd you like to be that old ice man,
Sell the coldest stuff in town,
How'd you like to be that old ice man,
I mean to turn you down,
Now, I'm sitting in the parlor, mingling around,
I wasn't too dumb to hear the back door slam,
How'd you like to be that old ice man,
Sell the coldest stuff in town.

Eventually Harry went on his way, leaving Broussard to his own devices in the Lake Charles musical scene.   Without Harry, Broussard left and started a family.  According to author Tim Knight:
They were companions in deliquent behavior. If one was hired, both had to be hired; they were a matched set.1    



  1. Poor Hobo: The Tragic Life of Harry Choates, a Cajun Legend by Tim Knight
  2. Lyrics by Jerry M
Find:
Harry Choates: Five-Time Loser 1940-1951 (Krazy Kat, 1990)
Devil In The Bayou - The Gold Star Recordings (Bear Family, 2002)
The Best Of Cajun & Zydeco (Not Now, 2010)

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