Friday, December 1, 2017

"Happy One Step" - Sady Courville & Dennis McGee

The Louisiana twin fiddling of Dennis McGee with Sady Courville, and later, Ernest Fruge is one of the great treasures of southern fiddling, past and present.  Dennis had a long musical career, with a repertoire extending back into the nineteenth century.  His local fame led him to start playing with accordionist Amede Ardoin, at a time when crossing racial lines was unusual.  Eventually, he would be invited to record for several labels, including this 1929 session for Vocalion in New Orleans which produced "Happy One Step" (#5315).

Author Blair Kilpatrick states:
The Happy One Step is beautiful--so spare and haunting--played simply on the fiddle.  There are no words to the Happy One Step, although the title suggests it is a cheerful song.1  
McGee played with such Cajun artists as Amede Ardoin, Joe Falcon and Amede Breaux when the music was first being recorded in the late 1920s. He performed on the radio show "Prairie Home Companion" and often played at festivals.2  A National Heritage Award winner, Dennis McGee continued to be a favorite at
festivals and house parties until his death in 1989 at ninety-six.3   

Dennis McGee & Sady Courville
Image courtesy of Johnnie Allan & the 
Center for Louisiana Studies, 
University of Louisiana at Lafayette

  1. Accordion Dreams: A Journey Into Cajun and Creole Music By Blair Kilpatrick
  2. The New Amberola Graphic, Volumes 67-82
  3. J'ai Ete Au Bal Vol. 1.  ARhoolie CD 331.  Liner notes.

The Early Recordings Of Dennis McGee: Featuring Sady Courville & Ernest Fruge (Morning Star, 1977)
The Complete Early Recordings of Dennis McGee (Yazoo, 1994)
Les Cajuns Best Of 2002 Les Triomphes De La Country Volume 12 (Habana, 2002)
J'ai Ete Au Bal - Vol. 1 (I Went To The Dance) (Arhoolie, 2011)

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