Friday, April 20, 2018

"Vingt Et Un Ans (Twenty One Years)" - Louisiana Rounders

Growing up, multi-talented musician and entertainer, Joe Werner, dazzled the local audiences in Crowley with his abilities to sing, whistle, play guitar, and the harmonica as a kid on stage.   Before long, his name as a local entertainer would reach neighboring cities. Throughout the 20s and 30s, he learned the popular tunes of the day and converted the lyrics to his native Cajun French language.  By 1936, Joe worked alongside the Hackberry Ramblers before forming a small group for his own recording session with Decca to record some popular American cover songs.  Still considered an amateur musician, he continued to perform in many talent contests, winning awards and garnering more fame. 
Rayne Tribune
May 8 1936




Le juge dit "Lève-toi debout garçon et sèche tes larmes,
T'es condamné a Nashville pour vingt et un ans",
Embrasse-moi bye-bye, chère, et dis tu seras pour moi,
Parce que vingt et un ans, chère, c'est bien longtemps.

Pas le loin du chemin d'fer, chère, aussi loin tu peux voir,
Et continue à m'faire bye-bye, chère, a "farewell" a moi,
Alors, embrasse-moi bye-bye, chère, et dis tu seras pour moi,
Parce que vingt et un ans, chère, c'est bien longtemps.

Werner teamed up with Julius "Papa Cairo" Lamperez and Wayne Perry, who were both Crowley residents.   By the end of 1937, they were in Dallas, TX at the Adolphus Hotel for their first Decca session.  The trio covered a popular 1930 Bob Miller tune called "Vingt Et Un Ans (Twenty One Years)" (#17046) in a Cajun string band style.   Werner's harmonica mimic'd the accordion sound that had been so popular 10 years earlier.  
The judge said "Stand up boy and dry your tears,
You've been condemned to Nashville for twenty one years,"
Kiss me bye-bye, dear, and say you'll be mine,
Because twenty one years, dear, it's a very long time.

Not far from the railroad, dear, as far as you can see,
And continue waving bye-bye, dear, wishing farewell to me,
So, kiss me bye-bye, dear, and say you'll be mine,
Because twenty one years, dear, it's a very long time.
Bob Miller
Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame


The original song writer, Bob Miller, was among the pioneering professional songwriters who specialized in what was then called hillbilly music. He worked for Irving Berlin Music, formed his own publishing company in 1933, and also worked as an A&R man and record producer for the Columbia and Okeh labels. His biggest early hit was the prison song "Twenty-One Years." During the Depression, this song was so popular and was sung by so many artists that Miller wrote a number of follow-up songs to it, including "Twenty-One Years, Part Two," "New Twenty-One Years," "Answer to Twenty-One Years," "Woman's Answer to Twenty-One Years," "After Twenty-One Years," "The End of Twenty-One Years" and "The Last of the Twenty-One Year Prisoner."1    








  1. http://nashvillesongwritersfoundation.com/Site/inductee?entry_id=2509
  2. Lyrics by Stephane F

Release Info:
L05 63075 Le Vieux Arbe De Pin (They Cut Down The Old Pine Tree) 17046 A Decca
L08 63078 Vingt Et Un Ans (Twenty One Years) 17046 B Decca

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