Friday, January 12, 2018

"Widows Of The Village" - Aldus Roger

Aldus Roger was one of the most influential Cajun performers during the era when the musical genre was little known outside of the French Triangle in southwest Louisiana. The leader and frontman of the Lafayette Playboys Rogers reached his largest audience, in the 1950s and '60s, as host of a Saturday afternoon show on Lafayette's KLFY Channel 10. The Lafayette Playboys, which Roger formed in the mid-'40s, featured many Cajun musicians who went on to influence the musical genre including Johnnie Allen, Rodney Miller, Fernice "Man" Abshire, Raymond Cormier, Belton Richard, and Doc Guidry.  According to Marc Savoy:
Before that, [Cajun music] was too segregated in small places, it was too isolated. It didn't really take off like it did until Roger got on television and presented it to the masses. That legitimized it for so many people - the fact that they saw it on television, 'It's ok to be Cajun, because look, it's on television.'2
Aldus Roger and the Lafayette Playboys
Tit Maurice in Bosco
(top) Aldus "Popeye" Broussard, Ellis Richard,
Aldus Roger, Paul Baque, unknown
(bottom) Claude Sonnier, Roy Morgan
Johnnie Allan Collection,
Center for Louisiana Studies,
University of Louisiana at Lafayette

C’est les veuves de la ville,

Ils sont partis chez ‘Tit Maurice,

Ils sont partis pour avoir un bon temps,

Moi, je connais c’est les belles,

C’est les veuves de la ville,
Ils ont nous joint, c’est là-bas, chez ‘tit Maurice.

Tous les soirs, ayou tu vas?
Il y a rien pour dur,
Tout je te demande, chère bébé, viens donc me rejoindre,
Tu m’as dit tu m’aimais,
Moi, je connais c’est pas vrai,
Je suis parti, c’est là-bas, chez ‘tit Maurice.
Crowley Daily Signal
Aug 3, 1950

It's possibly one of the only releases by record producer Eddie Shuler of Aldus before he began recording with J.D. Miller.  It's Roger's rendition of Happy Fats' classic "La Veuve De La Coulee" originally recorded in 1942.  However, the song gained moderate success with Happy's re-recording of it in 1946.  The band mostly likely had Aldus "Popeye" Broussard on fiddle and possibly Claude Sonnier steel guitar.  Aldus television spot garnered lots of local attention. According to music historian Pierre Daigle:
So far as music to dance by, there can be no better, but I find that he plays a cool music, and in my opinion it does not stir the heart. Yet, despite this, Roger had a devoted following among both dancers and musicians.1
Between 1953 and 1956, Aldus and Shuler recorded the tune as "Widows Of The Village" (#106) on the Bob Tanner's label "Tanner N Texas".  It was an ode to the women that frequented the dance hall famously known as the 'Tit Maurice, located near the community of Bosco.   It was owned by Ellis Richard who, like many dance-hall owners, had a betting horse racetrack in the back.  Happy recalls the place:
This old one, the dance floor was about 100 feet by 100 feet, so it was a pretty big dance floor. The bandstand was at one end with the bar at the other end.  They had chicken wire on the windows so they wouldn't come in, in some places they had chicken wire in front of the band.3

It's the widows of the village,

They are headed to the 'Tit Maurice,

They are headed to have a good time,

I know it's the beauties,

It's the widows of the village,
They have joined us, it's over there, at the 'Tit Maurice.

Every night, where do you go?
There's nothing that's too difficult,
All I ask of you, dear baby, is to come and join me,
You told me you loved me,
I know it's not true,
I left to go, it's over there, at the 'Tit Maurice. 

  3. South to Louisiana: The Music of the Cajun Bayous By John Broven
  4. Lyrics by Jordy A
Release Info:
TNT 106-1 Lifetime Waltz TNT 106
TNT 106-2 Widows Of The Village TNT 106

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