Sunday, December 10, 2017

"Jolie (Brunette)" - Jolly Boys of Lafayette

Attesting to the endurance of Jolie Blonde as a true Cajun song, it's melody can be found in numerous recordings, both before the war and afterwards.  As the Hackberry Ramblers were reveling in their recent release of "Jolie Blonde" for Bluebird records in late 1936, Decca had the Jolly Boys of Lafayette covered the same tune in early 1937 at a session in Dallas, Texas, but with a different title called "Jolie Brunette" (#17032).   The melody came from the first recording of "Ma Blonde Est Partie" by the Breaux family. 

Jolie brune, ouais, tu connais,
J’ai mérité pas, ça t’après m'faire,
Et moi, je connais tu vas pleurer,
Avant longtemps d’avoir fait ça tu m’as fait.

Joli cœur, moi je connais,
T'auras du regret de pas bienfait, 
Mais, ça t’as fait il y pas longtemps,
Fais pas ça à ton pauvre vieux negre, malheureuse.

The Jolly Boys of Lafayette consisted of the Fabacher brothers, Francis "Red" on guitar and Joseph accompanying, along with Leon "Crip" Credeur on vocals and fiddle.   As shown in an early test pressing, Decca had originally attempted to call it "Jole Le Blon" however, for unknown reasons, the title was changed.   It was most likely an attempt to capitalize on the popularity of the melody and Decca made sure the name wouldn't cause any issues.   

Pretty brunette, yeah you know,

I do not deserve this you've done to me,
And me, I know you have cried,
Before long, what's been done to me.

Pretty sweetheart, I know,
You will regret when you're not doing so well,
Well, you did that not long ago,
Do not do this to your poor old man, oh my.

While the group wasn't well known, their short recording session added to the Cajun music repertoire of the late 1930s.  By 1946, Harry Choates would propel the song into the American culture. 

  1. Lyrics by Jordy A


Cajun: Rare & Authentic (JSP, 2008)

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