Friday, December 28, 2018

"Mes Cinquantes Sous (My Fifty Cents)" - Eddie Shuler

UPDATED! The Reveliers were a backup band for former Hackberry Ramblers guitarist and record producer, Eddie Shuler.  In the late 1940s, he had several fiddle players such as Johnny Porter, Norris Savoie, and Charlie Broussard.  Two other musicians that rounded out his group were steel guitarist Ronald Ray "Pee Wee" Lyons and bassist Johnny Babb.  For this session, Shuler's vocalist was Frankie "Tee Tee" Mailhes, a local musician in the Lake Charles area who had formerly recorded with his friends, the Alley Boys of Abbeville.  By the late 1940s, Shuler's first French music release was an attempt to capture the local Cajun music market.




Moi et ma belle on a été au bal,
C'était un samedi soir,
On en a revenu c’était lendemain,
Lendemain matin z- au jour,
J'ai demandé si elle avait pas faim pour quelqu'chose,
Elle m'a répondu (qu') elle avait pas faim,
Mais elle aurait mangé quand même.
Moi je pensais aller ordonner un lunch de quinze sous,
Moi je pensais aller ordonner un lunch de quinze sous,
Elle a ordonné un poulet rôti, une demie douzaine de z"huitres,
Elle a ordonné un poulet rôti, une demie douzaine de z"huitres.

Moi, j"avais faim, mais j'avais pas le cœur de manger,
Moi, j"avais faim, mais j'avais pas le cœur de manger,
Et quand je pensais que j'avais juste cinquante sous dans ma poche,
Et quand je pensais que j'avais juste cinquante sous dans ma poche.
Et quand j'ai mis mon cinquante sous dessus le comptoir,
Et quand j'ai mis mon cinquante sous dessus le comptoir,
Il m'a foutu un coup de poing, il m'a tiré dans la fenêtre,
Il m'a foutu un coup de pied, il m'a tiré dans le chemin,
Écoutez ici, mes amis, ne vas jamais au restaurant,
Il faut jamais que tu vas dans le restaurant de cinquante sous dans ta poche.


Eddie Shuler's Reveliers
KPLC in Lake Charles
Eddie Shuler, unknown, possibly Eldrige "Coon" Guidry,
Amos Comeaux, Johnny Babb, Jimmy Webster, unknown

Recorded in mid 1946, "Mes Cinquantes Sous" (#1012) is a unique country-Cajun cover of the song "I Had But Fifty Cents", originally written as a poem in 1881 by Sam Devere and published in 1885.  It was later recorded by Riley Puckett in 1925 and the Binkley Brothers Dixie Clodhoppers in 1928.   Frankie had originally recorded the tune in 1939 as "Moi Et Ma Belle" with the Alley Boys and by 1946, brought the song to Shuler's group. It has been a well known song for years, even recorded by Ricky Skaggs, Jo-El Sonnier, and Beausoleil.


Me and my wife, we went to the ball,
It was a Saturday night,
We came back the next day,
Next morning, during the day,
I asked if she wasn't hungry for something,
She told me that she was not hungry,
But, she'd eat anyways.
I thought I was going to order a fifteen cent lunch,
I thought I was going to order a fifteen cent lunch,
She ordered a roast chicken, half a dozen oysters,
She ordered a roast chicken, half a dozen oysters.

I was hungry, but I did not have the heart to eat,
I was hungry, but I did not have the heart to eat,
And when I realized I had just fifty cents in my pocket,
And when I realized I had just fifty cents in my pocket,
And when I put my fifty cents on top of the counter,
And when I put my fifty cents on top of the counter,
He punched me, he threw me into the window,
He kicked me, he pulled me into the road,
Listen here, my friends, never go to the restaurant,
You must never go to the restaurant (with only) fifty cents in your pocket.

During the early 1950s, Louis Spell and his French Serenaders would copy Shuler's recording and record "The Fifty Cent Song" for J.D. Miller in Crowley.  
By 1957, the Ethnic Folkways Library recorded the tune with Madame Marion Dugadet from Avery Island entitled "La Chanson De Cinquante Sous".






  1. Lyrics by Stephane F 
Release Info:
A Mes Cinquantes Sous (My Fifty Cents) | Goldband 1012
B Jolie Blonde (Pretty Blonde) | Goldband 1012

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

"Jus Pasque" - Leroy "Happy Fats" Leblanc

Cajun swing was perhaps the most dynamic musical expression in the history of Cajun music.  Fiddlers, guitarists, steel guitarists, drummers, piano accordionists, and banjo and mandolin pickers all drew inspiration from the eclectic array of commercial musical styles available at local record stores, emitting from household battery-operated radios, and via the rouging groups and jazz orchestras that provided entertainment at local clubs and honky-tonks.1 Leroy "Happy Fats" Leblanc seems to have embraced it all throughout his recording years. 



C'est juste que tu crois que t'étais jolie,
C'est juste que tu crois t'es si douce,
C'est juste que tu crois que tu as quelque chose,
Moi j'ne sais pas.

J'ai donné tout mon argent,
(Je) croyais t'avez tout sur le col,
Oui, mais, sapristir, j'ai fini-z avec toi,
C'est juste parce que.

C'est juste que tu crois que t'es jolie,
C'est juste que tu crois t'es si douce,
C'est juste que tu crois que t'as quelque chose,
Mais, moi je ne sais pas.

J'ai dépensé tout mon argent,
Tu croyais j'étais vieux Santa Claus,
Bébé, sapristir, mais, j'ai fini avec toi,
C'est juste parce que.



Alex Broussard, , Happy Fats
www.wendyrodrigue.com
"Just Because" was a prolific tune, earlier recorded by Nelston's Hawaiians, covered by many groups of the day including Cleoma Falcon as "Jeusté Parcqué".  The French word "sapristi", meaning "Oh heavens!", is still used in France but in a comical way because it's colorful and old-fashioned, so people have tenderness for this word. "Sapristi" is not vulgar, however, its a way to swear without being dirty or offending God. It's an expression of surprise, impatience, or hopelessness and may come across as sarcastic out of frustration. 

Oran "Doc" Guidry had been jazz fiddler for some time before Happy Fats replaced Louis Arceneaux with Doc in 1938.  According to Guidry, when they first met two years prior in 1936 at one of their first dance-hall shows, Happy asked him if he was interested in finishing school. 
He asked me, "You intend to get through school?"  I said "Yeah."  He asked, "What do you want to pick up?"  I said, "I want to pick up medicine."  He said, "You want to be a doctor?"  I said, "Yeah".  He introduced me that night..."Doc" Guidry!3  
It turns out that Happy had borrowed the nickname from Light Crust Doughboy's fiddle player Clifford "Doc" Gross and from that point on, Oran was known to everyone as "Doc" Guidry.   Many people throughout his life never knew his real name.3  


Doc Guidry



Just because you think you are pretty,
Just because you think you are sweet,
Just because you think you have something,
I don't know.

I gave you all my money,
Beleiving you had everything "on the collar",
Yeh, well, good heavens, I'm finished with you,
Just because.

Just because you think you are pretty,
Just because you think you are sweet,
Just because you think you have something,
Well, I don't know.

I spent all my money, 
You thought I was old Santa Claus,
Baby, good heavens, well, I'm finished with you,
Just because. 


Happy rounded out his group with Ray Guidry on banjo, Roy Romero on steel guitar, Nathan Guidry on bass, and Robert Thibodeaux on piano. The release became popular enough with RCA that they released it on their "staff" label and on their "Dog 2" label.  After the war, Happy and Doc reunited as Happy, Doc And The Boys until 1953.  Happy Fats went on to become a major south Louisiana television personality in the 1950s after the first TV station opened in Lafayette.








  1. Cajun Breakdown: The Emergence of an American-Made Music By Ryan Andre Brasseaux
  2. http://www.wendyrodrigue.com/2010/04/its-spring-in-louisiana-and-that-means.html
  3. Interview with Oran "Doc" Guidry.  Shane Bernard.  11-2-1991.
  4. Lyrics by Stephane F

Release Info:
BS-022038-1 Jus Pasque | Bluebird B-2037
BS-022041-1 Te Jolie Te Petite | Bluebird B-2037

BS-022038-1 Jus Pasque | Bluebird B-2091
BS-022032-1 Les Escrivis Dan Platin | Bluebird B-2091

Friday, December 14, 2018

"Waxia Special" - Oscar "Slim" Doucet

Oscar "Slim" Doucet was a native of Opelousas who assembled a group of musicians known as the Accordion Playboys.  For years, he ran Slim Doucet's Garage during the day, working as a mechanic and played music for barn dance parties at night.  After meeting local town representative, Dr. Boudreaux, he jumped on an opportunity to bring his accordion to a 1929 Okeh session in Atlanta.  Alongside some contemporary musicians where he and guitarist Chester Hawkins recorded two songs, one which was the "Waxia Special" (#45333).

"Waxia", is the name of a bayou near Opelousas, Louisiana.  Referred to on maps as "Bayou Wauksha", it's most likely the corrupted spelling of the Indian name "Ouachita" (not to be confused with the larger "Ouachita River" in northern Louisiana). Another source explains that a Alabamas tribe had settled there in the early 19th century from the region of Waxahatchee.  The word, meaning "crest of hair", may possibly be a Siouan word from the Catawba tribe, which spoke a Catawban dialect.1


Daily World
Jun 21, 1945

The bayou was home to the Waxia community not far from the historic town of Washington, LA.   The waterway flowed into the more well known Bayou Teche river which inspired many Cajun tunes.  In recent times, Creole people of the Waxia area were studied by Dr. Jay Edwards of LSU for their unique usage of the French language.2  












  1. Native American Placenames of the United States By William Bright
  2. http://www.louisianafolklife.org/LT/Virtual_Books/Guide_to_State/dillard.html
Release Info:
402382 Chere Yeux Noirs | Okeh 45333
402383 Waxia Special | Okeh 45333

Friday, December 7, 2018

"Jole Brun" - Harry Choates

The main catalyst for exposing interest in Cajun music after the war was fiddle player Harry Choates.  Choates had just recorded his hit song "Jole Blon" and was looking for any work he could find.  He and record producer Jimmy Mercer figured they could take his themed title, rename it, and make even more money on a different recording label.   He renamed the tune "Jole Brun (Pretty Brunette)" and changed some of the lyrics for the Cajun Classics label (#1009).

Still under contract with Bill Quinn's Gold Star label which he scored his hit "Jole Blon", he either recorded in a radio station in Lake Charles, or possibly ventured out to Paris, Texas where Jimmy Mercer had created his own pressing plant and recording studio. His makeshift studio located in the plant allowed the whole process to occur onsite.  Together with Harry, he brought along Esmond Pursley on guitar, Joe Manuel on banjo, Pee Wee Lyons on steel, B.D. Williams on bass, Curzy Roy on drums, and Johnnie Manuel on piano.


Oh, mais, jolie brune, mais, malheureuse, chère 'tite fille,
Oh, pourquoi t'as fais, mais, ça t'as fais à ton pauvre 'tit chien.

Oh, mais malheureuse, mais, jolie brun, t'as chagrin,
Oh, vilaines manières, malheureuse, ça fait pitié.

Oh, jolie brune, ma petite jolie cœur,
Eh, ha ha!  Eh, malheureuse.

Oh, mais, malheureuse, tu connais ça a pas fais bien,
Oh, pourquoi t'as fais, mais, avec moi, si mal, bébé,
Oh, j'connais, chère petite, tu va avoir du regret,
Tu vas venir un jour, jolie brune, oh, ça, (dans) pas longtemps.


The Paris News
Nov 24, 1946

In 1946, Jimmy Mercer had obtained a hydraulic record press from Chicago and had it shipped to Texas.  He started with his first label, Swing, and called his place Swing Record Manufacturing.   He boasted the machine could produce a record in 18 seconds and had the capacity of 2700 records a day.  According to Mercer:

We are engaged in manufacturing records for a number of well known companies and we also intend to put out two records under our own label, "Swing" and "Downbeat".   We hope to be able to give talent in Northeast Texas an opportunity to audition so that they might possibly become recording artists.3  


Oh, well, pretty brunette, well oh my, dear little girl,
Oh, why have you done this, well, that you've done to your old little dog.

Oh, well, oh my, well, pretty brunette, you're sad,
Oh, your terrible ways, oh my, made it pitiful.

Oh, pretty brunette, my little pretty sweetheart,
Eh , ha ha!  Eh, it's terrible.

Oh, well, oh my, you know that it's not been well,
Oh, why have you done that, well, with me, so bad, baby,
Oh, I know, dear little one, you're going to have regrets,
You will come back one day, pretty brunette, oh, it won't be that long.

The Paris News
March 29, 1949

By 1947, Choates was now in considerable demand and he had no qualms about contracts. Surprisingly at one point, Quinn narrowly stopped Choates from recording with Decca in violation of his contract. In February, Choates recorded for Jimmy Mercer’s Swing Records in Paris, Texas (author Andrew Brown states Lake Charles, Louisiana) on his new label, Cajun Classics, created just for Choates, including “Jole Brun.” Cajun Classics was part of a family of labels operated by Jimmy Mercer in Paris from 1946 to 1950. When the records went on sale, Quinn contacted Mercer, only to find Choates had signed a contract with him as well so he and Mercer settled on an arrangement.1


Mercer had many labels over his career including All Spice, Cajun Classics, Hillbilly Hit Parade, Personality, Royalty, Swing, Vox, Western Magic, Zest, and Zip labels.  However, Mercer had run into trouble in 1949 when he was "convicted of shipping obscene (party) records across state lines".  According to the FBI, a complaint was filed alleging that Mercer transported "obscene, lewd, lascivious matter of indecent character" to St. Louis.  He was arrested by a US deputy marshal at his home and was released on bond.  This spelled the end of all of Mercer's recording activities.2  






  1. http://www.amoeba.com/harry-choates/artist/64745/bio
  2. "Shipping Obscene Records Charged".  Paris News. Mar 29, 1949
  3. The Paris News Nov 24, 1946.
  4. Lyrics by Stephane F
Release Info:
1007 Hackberry Hop | Series 1007 Cajun Classics
1009 Jole Brun | Series 1009 Cajun Classics


Find:
Harry Choates ‎– The Fiddle King Of Cajun Swing (Arhoolie, 1982, 1993)
Cajun Fiddle King (AIM, 1999)

Monday, December 3, 2018

"Tu Le Du Po La Mam" - Lawrence Walker

Melodies played in the cultural-plexes of Vermilion and Iberia parishes produced different themes and titles in the areas around Calcasieu and Evangeline parish.  While the Segura Brother's were singing about mosquitoes and their family's appearances, further north, Cajun fiddler Dennis McGee and his musical family were using the same melody to sing about chasing women.  The Fawvor brothers, natives of Calcasieu, had originally recorded the tune in 1929 as "Valse De Creole".  McGee recalls:
I stayed with Theodore McGee and one day he said, "Well Mac, I believe I'll buy a violin for you.  I'm going to Ville Platte."  No strings!  There was nothing on it. He bought some strings and the pegs. He knew how to play a little. He tuned it up and played "Tout Les Deux Pour La Meme".  He said, "Now, you're on your own."  I said, "Not really!".  "Yes, here!" he said, "Go! Go play!". I went to my little room. I had a little room in back. I sat on the side of my bed and you know what? Before nightfall I played the waltz, "Tout Les Deux Pour La Meme".  Oh yes, I learned it during the day.2  
Crowley Daily Signal
July 2, 1959

Tous les deux pour la même,
Ni moi ni toi qui l'aura,
Tous les deux pour la même,
Ni moi ni toi qui l'aura,
C'est pas la peine (que) tu me dis non,
T'auras toujours pour me dire oui,
C'est pas la peine (que) tu me chagrins,
T'auras toujours pour me marier.

J'ai parti de la maison,
Z-avec ma jogue au plombeau,
Le pistolet dans ma poche,
Et ma vie dans ma main,
J'ai parti pour te chercher,
T'amener-z-à la maison,
C'est pas la peine tu me dis non,
T'auras toujour pour me dire oui.

Lawrence Walker

Songs like this which influenced McGee were eventually picked up by Lawrence Walker in which he recorded the song for George Khoury in 1950.  The title was a corrupted form of the phrase "tous les deux pour la même" inferring that the singer and another are "both going after the same woman".  It's possible that Lawrence had Mitch David on fiddle, Valmont ‘Junior’ Benoit on steel guitar, and probably Simon Shexneider on drums. 

Both of us for the same,
Neither me nor you will have her,
Both of us for the same,
Neither me nor you will have her,
It's not worth you telling me no,
You have to say yes, forever,
It's not worth you hurting me,
You have to marry me, forever.


I left the house,
With my saddle horn jug,
The gun in my pocket,
And my life in my hands,
I left to come get you,
Take you to my house,
There's no need to tell me no,
You have to say yes, forever.

That same year, while Lawrence was using the Fawver song for his recording of "Tu Le Du Po La Mam", Nathan Abshire was using the Segura song for his own song "La Valse De Holly Beach".  According to musician Johnnie Allan:
Lawrence was a big factor in French music, he and Uncle Joe [Falcon] were playing music along about the same time. His songs were all the sad melodic type songs, he was a very good accordion player, very well known in this area. I remember I played steel guitar with him for six years and the crowds were just tremendous almost everywhere we played.1







  1. South to Louisiana: The Music of the Cajun Bayous By John Broven
  2. Ye Yaille Chere by Raymond Francois
Release Info:
A Tu Le Du Po La Mam | Khoury's 607-A
B Ton Papa Ta Mama Ma Sta Da All | Khoury's 607-B

Find:

Cajun Honky Tonk: The Khoury Recordings, Volume 1 (Arhoolie, 1995)
A Tribute To The Late Great Lawrence Walker (La Louisiane, 1995)
A Legend At Last (Swallow, 1983)
Essential Collection of Lawrence Walker (Swallow, 2010)

Sunday, November 25, 2018

"Hippy Ti Yo" - Abe Manuel

Abraham "Abe" Manuel was a hillbilly fiddle player that dabbled in both country music and Cajun music, covering popular tunes of the region.  In the early 1940s, he played with Leo Soileau at the Avalon Club in Basile.  No strangers in the music business, Abe Manuel Sr. toured and appeared at the Louisiana Hayride and the Grand Ole Opry with Hank Williams and Lefty Frizzell. For a time, he was one of Bob Wills' Texas Playboys. He ended up playing with Chuck Guillory, Carrol Broussard, and even possibly Harry Choates with his brother Joe.  Broussard, who played steel guitar with Harry, recalls that Abe filled in on fiddle for Harry when he "went off to get cured".1   
Lake Charles American Press
Mar 3, 1954



C'est le Hip et Taïaut, ouais, 

Mais, qu'a volé mon traîneau, ouais, 

Quand il a vu j’étais devenu chaud, cherie,

Il a ramené mon traîneau. 



C'est le Pitre et Bosco, ouais, 
Qu'a volé mon gilet,
Quand il a vu j'suis d'venu chaud , chérie, 
T'as ramené mon gilet.

C'est le Hip et Taïaut, ouais, 
Mais, qu'a volé mon traîneau, ouais, 
Quand il a vu j’étais devenu chaud, cherie,
Il a ramené mon traîneau. 

C'est le Pitre et Bosco, ouais, 
Qu'a volé mon gilet,
Quand il a vu j'suis d'venu chaud , chérie, 
T'as ramené mon gilet.
Abe Manuel Sr.

Recorded in 1954 at J.D. Miller's studio in Crowley, Louisiana, Abe's Louisiana Hillbillies consisted of Abe Manuel on fiddle, Bradley Stutes on steel guitar, Dorothy "Dottie" Vincent on rhythm guitar, Amos Comeaux on drums, and either Wiley Barkdull or Cecil Farrell "Benny" Fruge on piano.  In the song, it's quite possible "Pitre et Bosco" is actually "filles de Bosco", similar to the lyrics in Leo Soileau's "Hackberry Hop".  Either way, the song is clearly taken from the well-known "Ils La Volet Mon Trancas" sung by Cleoma Breaux in 1934.   

It's Hip and Taïaut, yeah,

That stole my sled, yeah,

When they saw I had become hot, cherie,

They brought my sled back.


This is Pitre and Bosco, yeah,
That stole my vest,
When they saw I had become hot, cherie,
They brought my jacket back.

By 1965, Abe was living in Lake Charles and became vice-president of the Southern Association of Country and Western Music.   Years afterwards, Abe and his wife Dottie were owners of Manuel's Cajun Store in Milton, Tennessee for years. That store became a restaurant, and Abe Manuel Sr. found his calling. On summertime Friday nights at dusk, most of the town bring lawn chairs over to the restaurant, sit down in the road, and eat friend alligator and crawfish étouffée while watching the Manuels and their friends play Cajun country music on the porch.  





  1. Louisiana Fiddlers By Ron Yule 
  2. In the Country of Country: A Journey to the Roots of American Music By Nicholas Dawidoff
  3. https://groups.google.com/forum/#!topic/alt.music.country.classic/Hh9-IIB9nt4
  4. May 21, 1965 Lake Charles American-Press from Lake Charles, Louisiana · Page 5
Find:
Acadian All Star Special - The Pioneering Cajun Recordings Of J.D. Miller (Bear, 2011)

Monday, November 19, 2018

"Je Jais Pos C Cannye (Ain't Misbehavin')" - Patrick "Dak" Pellerin

Je Suis Pas Si Canaille!  In June 1929, the New Drug Store in Opelousas, Louisiana booked a full-page ad in the Clarion News to advertise the recordings of "Acadian Records" by Okeh.  The manager of the store, who took the group of six musicians to Atlanta, used the rhetoric explicitly based on the Evangeline myth.  Although Okeh was interested in Cajun music, Dr. A.J. Boudreaux sent along an Opelousas-born jazz crooner to fill in the session. The few Cajuns that tried to incorporate pop tunes of the day into their repertoire did so with the results achieving  cultural success or marketing failure.



Though it's a fickle age,
With flirting all the rage,
Here is one bird with self-control,
Happy inside my cage,
I know who I love best,
Thumbs down on all the rest,
My love was given heart and soul,
So it can stand the test.

Personne peut parler avec,
Je suis tout seul,
Personne avec qui marcher avec,
Mais je suis content sûr l'étagère,
Je fais pas cannaille,
Je garde mon amour pour toi.

Je connais pour sûr,
Que quand moi j'aime,
J'ai jamais courtiser dessus toi qu(i) a les cheveux foncés,
Je garde mon amour,
Je garde mon amour pour toi.

On raconte que,
Dans le p'tit coin,
Va pas nulle part,
Pas faire différence avec,
Tes baisers qu'on attend de toi, crois donc moi,

Ne reste pas en retard,
Ne pas aller,
Chez moi à huit heures, juste moi et mon radio,
Je fais pas cannaille,
Je garde mon amour pour toi.

On raconte que,
Dans le p'tit coin,
Va pas nulle part,
Pas faire différence avec,
Tes baisers qu'on attend de toi, crois donc moi,

Ne reste pas en retard,
Ne pas aller,
Chez moi à huit heures, juste moi et mon radio,
Je fais pas cannaille,
Je garde mon amour pour toi.

"Acadian Musicians Sing for Records"
Dr. A.J. Boudreaux, Oscar "Slim" Doucet,
Christine Mufzar, Jeanne LeBlanc,
S. Hawkins and Patrick Pellerin
Traveled to Atlanta to record for Okeh, 1929.
Center for Louisiana Studies, UL Lafayette

Patrick “Dak” Pellerin's banjo was the Cajun embodiment of America's waning minstrelsy traditions and the escalating jazz fervor sweeping the nation during the roaring twenties. Consequently, Pellerin's musical performance was absolutely cutting edge.1  Accompanied by pianist Mina Stubbs, the banjo player performed a English-French interpretation of Fats Waller and Andy Razaf's showstopper "Ain't Misbehavin" made famous by Broadway's all African-American musical revue "Connie’s Hot Chocolates". Okeh records entitled it "Je Jais Pos C Cannye (Ain't Misbehavin')" (#45410).


That year, "Ain’t Misbehavin'" became one of the most successful songs of its day. Ted Gioia states that more than 20 artists recorded the song in 1929 alone, including Louis Armstrong, Waller (an instrumental version) and Bill Bojangles with Irving Mills & his Hotzy Totsy Gang.  One of the unique versions to come out from that year was one by Ruth Etting who introduced a unique set of verses in the introduction.  It seems it's this version in which Pellerin chose to sing; starting in English and finishing in French.
Ruth Etting



No one to talk with,
I'm all by myself,
No one to walk with,
But I'm happy on the shelf,
I'm not being mischievous,
I'm keeping my love for you.

I know for sure
That when I love,
I'll never woo on the one that has dark hair,
I'm keeping my love,
I'm keeping my love for you.

It is said that,
In the little corner,
Don't go anywhere,
Doesn't make a difference,
Your kisses, which I look forward to, believe me,

I don't stay late,
I don't care to go,
At home at eight o'clock, just me and my radio,
I'm not being mischievous,
I'm keeping my love for you.

It is said that,
In the little corner,
Don't go anywhere,
Doesn't make a difference,
Your kisses, which I look forward to, believe me,

I don't stay late,
I don't care to go,
At home at eight o'clock, just me and my radio,
I'm not being mischievous,
I'm keeping my love for you.


Patrick is presented as a "student at Southwest Louisiana College" with his education validating the authenticity and the weight of his selections and promoting Acadian social status.1    The fact that Okeh marketed this jazz piano rendition as part of their "French Acadian" series highlights the lack of cultural understanding that major labels had regarding the nature of Cajun music.  It's no doubt that Pellerin's influence came less from Cajun Creole origins and more from French-converted contemporary radio tunes of the day.  As far as A&R executives were concerned, as long as it was in French and stemmed from Louisiana, it must be Cajun music.  





  1. Cajun Breakdown : The Emergence of an American-Made Music By Ryan Andre Brasseaux
  2. Negotiating Difference in French Louisiana Music: Categories, Stereotypes ... By Sara Le Menestrel
  3. Lyrics by Stephane F

Release Info:
W403427 Because | Okeh 45410
W403428 Je Jais Pos C Cannye (Ain't Misbehavin') | Okeh 45410

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

"Church Point Breakdown" - Iry Lejeune

By the end of Wold War II, Cajun music had basically devolved into western swing music sung in French.  Gone were the accordions of the 1920s, replaced by Texas-style string bands of the 1940s.  The isolation of the Acadian prairies gradually gave way and the music scene opened up to locals yearning of the good 'ole days.   After the war, many GIs wanted to hear the old music again and after Iry Lejeune recorded in 1948, a number of musicians from the old days dug out their dusty, neglected accordions form closets or attics or barns and began playing again across dance halls.1


Eh, ye yaille, malheureuse,
Tout les jours dans ma maison,
J'après, mais, t'espérer,
Eh, rappelle-toi, catin,
Ton papa et ta maman t'a toujours dit,
De pas faire ça avec ton nègre. 

Eh, ye yaille, tout les jours,
Après souffert dans ma maison,
Plus personne que vient me rejoindre,
Oh, ça me ressemble,
'Tite fille, tout les jours tu connais,
Pour venir puis voir,
Quoi faire que, moi, j'suis là?

Eh, bébé, tout les jours,
Moi, j'suis là sur ma galerie,
Après espérer, pour ton vieux nègre,
Oh, tu devrais jamais m'oublier,
Tant loin q'moi j'm'en vas te dire,
Donc, garde-donc, j'm'ennuie de toi. 


Crowley Daily Signal
Feb 9, 1950

"Church Point Breakdown" (#1096) was an ode to the town of Church Point, not far from where Iry grew up in Pointe Noire.  Iry's relative, Angelas Lejeune, was also a well-known accordionist from Pointe Noire and Iry converted his cousin's tune "Le Petite One Step" into his own.  Recorded in 1953 at Iry's home with Milton Vanicor on fiddle and Goldband producer Eddie Shuler on guitar, it's one of the few Iry releases that Eddie pressed solely on 45 RPM.  Shuler invited director Drew Ellender for this session.  His main function was to let Iry know when to start and stop and he stood behind Iry who was sitting on the floor.  Iry's son Ervin Lejeune pointed out that he was sitting on the floor, "probably because daddy had a bad habit of tapping his feet."3  


Daily World
Jan 30, 1949


Hey, ye yaille, oh my,
Everyday in my house,
Well, I'm waiting for you,
Hey, remember, little doll,
Your father and your mother have always told you,
Don't do that to your man.

Hey, ye yaille, everyday,
Suffering in my home,
No one comes to meet me,
Oh, looks to me that way,
Little girl, everyday you know,
What is that I'm doing here?

Hey, baby, everyday,
I am there, on my porch,
Waiting, your old man,
Oh, you should never forget me,
As far as I can tell you,
So, look, I am lonesome for you.
It was Angelas who lent Iry his accordion to practice with while he plowed his fields and it was Iry's uncle Steven who gave the future star his first accordion.1  But Angelas wasn't the only family influence on Iry.  Many of the Lejeunes from the area between Pointe Noire and Church Pointe were musicians.  Iry's father Agness played and Angelas' family were all musicians. When author Andrew Brown was asked to compare Iry's style against Lawrence Walker, he stated:
Iry could play rings around Lawrence Walker.  Lawrence could play some good waltzes, but when it comes to two-steps, he couldn't touch Iry Lejeune.2  








  1. "Iry Lejeune rescued traditional Cajun music" by Gene Thibodeaux. The Church Point News.  Oct 11, 2008.  
  2. Wilson Granger interview.   Andrew Brown.  2005.
  3. "Iry Lejeune: Wailin the Blues Cajun Style" by Ron Yule
Release Info:
-1 La Valse (Dalse) de Bayou Chene | Goldband G-1096-1
-2 Church Point Breakdown | Goldband G-1096-2

Find:
The Legendary Iry LeJeune (Goldband, 1991)
Iry Lejeune: Cajun's Greatest: The Definitive Collection (Ace, 2003)

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

"Carolina Blues" - Nathan Abshire

Throughout the early 20s and 30s, standard blues chord progressions and melodies influenced many musicians in New Orleans, Chattanooga, Chicago, and Dallas.   Cajun musicians picked up on these popular tunes and created some of their own based around these familiar chords.  Nathan Abshire, who was already familiar with the blues, had already recorded his signature "Pine Grove Blues" and his "French Blues" earlier in the 1940s.


By the later 50s, Nathan's recording career was winding down and both he and Dewey Balfa used this opportunity to rework a very familiar blues set into his "Carolina Blues" (#649). Listed in either 1955 or possibly early 1956 in Lake Charles, Louisiana, his tune can be found in a number of pre-war era songs such as "Tipple Blues" by the Allen Brothers and Kentucky String Ticklers, the "Ginseng Blues" by the Kentucky Ramblers, "The Georgia Black Bottom" by the Georgia Crackers, "Chevrolet Car" by Sam McGee, and "Honky Tonk Blues" by Jimmie Davis.   However, according to author Kevin Coffey, Nathan used the melody of the Shelton Brother's "Deep Elem Blues".  He states:
It's pretty much "Deep Elem Blues" melodically, the same melody that Happy Fats cut as "Se Mallereaux" in the '30s, and I'm sure other Cajuns did similar things back then with same melody.


Quand j’ai quitté ta maison là bas dans la caroline,
Pour venir à la Louisiane, mais, pour rejoindre mon cher bébé,
On m'avait dit, m'avait dit qu'elle m’aimait, 
Aujourd'hui, elle est après me quitter, bébé, 
Ça, ça me fait trop du mal.

Mon 'tit bébé m'a quitté pour s'en aller avec un autre, 
S'en aller avec un autre, c’était là bas àyoù il fallait pas 
Où moi j'vas aller, chère 'tite fille, fais pas ça z'avec moi, 
Viens me rejoindre à la maison, 
J'suis moi tout seul après pleurer.
Dewey Balfa
Courtesy of Masters of Traditional Arts



In fact, Nathan may have borrowed the tune from Happy Fats' recording of "Se Mallereaux", since both Nathan and Happy had started their careers together back in the 1930s and lyrically the songs are awfully similar.  The song features Dewey Balfa on vocals and fiddle, Nathan Abshire on accordion, possibly Jake Mire on steel and possibly Shelton Manuel or Thomas Langley on drums.   The song would later be re-titled as "Bouret Blues".  Dewey's rendition spoke of leaving the Carolinas to meet his lover, only to find out she had already left him. 
Crowley Daily Signal
May 3, 1969


When I left your house there in the Carolina,
To come to Louisiana, well, to meet my dear baby,
I had been told, told that she loved me,
Today, she is leaving me, baby,
That, that hurts me too much.

My little baby left me to go away with another,
To go away with another, it's over there, where you mustn't go,
Where I'm going to go, dear little girl, don't do that to me,
Come meet me at home,
I'm all alone crying.

Some sources place it on July 1957, however, given Khoury's lack of documentation, it's quite possible it was released anywhere around this period.   This pressing came out both in 78 and 45, making it one of the few Nathan Abshire recordings on both mediums.  Strangely enough, Khoury had the songs on each side of #649 reversed, with incorrect labels for the songs.  He even used a different label color and probably a different pressing plant.  







  1. http://www.mastersoftraditionalarts.org/
  2. Lyrics by Stephane F

Release Info:
K-649-A Boora Rhumba 649-A Khoury's (label reversed on 78)
K-649-B Carolina Blues 649-B Khoury's (label reversed on 78)

Find:
Nathan Abshire & the Pine Grove Boys - French Blues (Arhoolie, 1993)