Wednesday, April 11, 2018

"Drunkard Waltz" - Jimmy Durbin

Chuck Guillory's band was a very successful Cajun string group in the early 1950s.  Having a slew of musicians in his band, many went off to create their own solo careers, with Jimmy Newman becoming the most successful.   At some point, in 1949, Jimmy decided to leave the group, possibly due to Chuck's drinking but also because of his passion to have his own recording career.   Either way, Newman gathered some of Chuck's members in recording one of his earliest vocal performances, the "Drunkard's Waltz" (#1008).

The band was most of Chuck Guillory's backup band with Jimmy Newman on vocals and guitar, Shelton Manuel on fiddle, Francis "Red" Fabacher on steel, possibly Howard Thibodeaux on bass, Curzey "Pork Chop" Roy on drums, and Farrel "Benny" Fruge on piano.   The band recorded the session at Benny's Fruge Piano House in Eunice about 1949 after Miller decided to try out his new tape recorder for a remote session.  Author and producer of the Acadian All-Star box set, Lyle Ferbache explains:  
The name could be a combination of Newman's first name and the amp he might have been using at the time, which was a Durbin brand.1

Eh, malheureuse, toi t'après m'quitté,

Eh, chère 'tit monde, quoi tu vas brailler?
Quoi tu m'a dis, tu voulais plus m'aimer,
Eh, malheureuse, mon j'suis parti m'soûler.  

Eh, jolie monde, toi jolie coeur,
Eh, malheurse, toi te m'fais du mal.
Quoi tu m'a dis, tu voulais plus m'aimer?
Eh, malheureuse, mon j'suis parti m'soûler.

Herman Durbin, Jimmy Newman,
Murphy "Chuck" Guillory

Another theory could be that Chuck's former piano player, Herman Durbin, could have influenced the name.  Maybe it was a combination of Jimmy Newman and Herman together?   Maybe Durbin is actually on the recording and was nicknamed "Jimmy"?  The source remains unknown.   It's most likely Miller's attempt to label the group as "Jimmy & Durbin". 

Hey, it's terrible, you have left me,

Hey, dear little everything, why are you crying?
Why didn't you say, you didn't love me anymore,
Hey, it's terrible, I left to get drunk.

Hey, pretty everything, you pretty sweetheart,
Hey, it's terrible, you made me sad,
Why didn't you say, you didn't love me anymore,
Hey, it's terrible, I left to get drunk.

Not to be confused with the Balfa's "Drunkard's Waltz" or Louis Cormier's "Drunkards Blues", it would find it's way into Belton Richard's version of "Drunkard's Waltz" around 1967.

  1. Discussions with Lyle F
  2. Lyrics by Jerry M and Jesse L
Release Info:

-A Drunkard Waltz F1008-A Fais Do Do

-B Fais Do Do Two Step F1008-B Fais Do Do

Jimmy C NEWMAN - The Original Cry, Cry, Darling (Jasmine, 2009)
Acadian All Star Special - The Pioneering Cajun Recordings Of J.D. Miller (Bear, 2011)

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