Saturday, November 4, 2017

"Sulphur Breakdown" - Charlie Broussard

Charles Broussard was born into the Nicholas Broussard family of fiddlers who played in the mid-1800s around the town of Creole, Louisiana. He learned to play on a homemade fiddle in his youth, eventually playing house parties and house dances as well as dancehalls with his brothers, Albert and Theo Young.1

By the late 1940s, Charles Broussard started playing a more western swing and country style of music and formed the Sulphur Playboys, recording "Soldier’s  Waltz" and "Sulphur Breakdown" with French lyrics on the Houston-based Opera label. His son, Carrol learned the steel guitar and played and recorded with Harry Choates, Jimmy C. Newman, Abe Manuel, Robert Bertrand, and Rufus Thibodeaux.1
Baytown Sun
June 30, 1951

C'est les filles de la campagne,
J'connais qu'est si mechante,
C'est les blondes du village,
Qui depensent tout mon argent.

Travailler tout la s'maine,
Pour Faire l'argent pour samedi au soir,
Dimanche matin je serai malade,
Y a personne oui qui veut d'moi.

C'est la fille a Nonc Edouard,
Qui mangeait du Gumbo Toloche,
C'est les filles a tee Tante Rosa,
Qui veut rester au bal chez Joe.

Cinquante sous dans ma poche,
Et la bouteille dans ma main,
Ma tit fille m'a dit hier encore,
Voudra s'marier, la s'maine qui vient.
Charles Broussard

In 1947, Bennie Hess, bandleader of the Oklahoma Tornadoes got together with Bill Quinn of Gold Star records in Houston and created their own label called Opera records.   It was originally created to push Hess' own band material.  But that year, he decided to dabble in recording some Cajun artists.   Charlie, having worked with Hess's fiddle player Floyd, was an obvious choice to have round out his Cajun pressings.  His song "Sulphur Breakdown" (#109) was an ode to the small town of Sulpher, Louisiana, not far from where he grew up.   He was backed by Billy Christian on guitar, Carrol Broussard on steel guitar, and C. J. Broussard on drums.

It's the girls of the countryside,

I know which are so michievous,

It's the blondes of the village, 
Who spend all of my money.

Working always,
To make money for Saturday night,
Sunday morning, I will be depressed,
There is no one who wants me.

It's the daughter of Uncle Edouard,
Who ate the gumbo,
It's the girls of Tee Aunt Rosa,
Who want to stay at Joe's place.

Fifty cents in my pocket,
And a bottle in my hand,
My little girl told me again yesterday,
Would like to get married, the hand which I'd take. 

Carrol Broussard, Billy Christian,
Charles Broussard, C. J. Broussard,
Homer Goodrich, Jack Granger
Courtesy of Cajun Dancehall Heyday1

  1. Cajun Dancehall Heyday by Ron Yule

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