Wednesday, May 30, 2018

"Madame Young Donnez Moi Votre Plus Jolie Blonde (Madame Young Give Me Your Sweetheart)" - Dennis Mcgee and Sady Courville

Composer, vocalist, and fiddler, Dennis McGee was one of the earliest recorded Cajun musicians.  In the 1920s and 30s, he played and recorded alongside black Creole accordionist Amede Ardoin as well as fellow fiddler and brother-in-law Sady Courville.  He received his first fiddle from a cousin and within six months was playing for house parties throughout southwest Louisiana.6  In 1929, Mcgee and Courville recorded eight sides for the Vocalion label at the St. Charles Hotel.   Among his recordings is the classic "Madame Young Donnez Moi Votre Plus Jolie Blonde (Madame Young Give Me Your Sweetheart)" (#5319), which borrowed the tune of the popular Cajun song "Allons Danser Colinda."  Considered a "valse à deux temps", accordion player Joe Falcon recalled the tune from his early days:
"Allons danser Colina"-- I knew that tune since I was a little boy.  I played it many times. That 'Colinda', that's what the old folks call a 'two-step waltz'.  I had one of my musicians say that there wasn't no such thing as that.  I said "Hold it, brother.  I'm older than you".  He said "There ain't no such thing as a two-step waltz. What number could it be?"  I said, "Allons danser Colina." That's a two-step waltz from old times.7  
For Dennis, a "deux temp" signified a kind of dance.
People would dance in pairs, boy-girl. Then, they'd let go of each other and they would turn on one side, then another. This is why it's called "valse à deux temps" because they were turn on each side.  One time on one side for one, and then the other; "deux temp".8  
Ouais, donc ouais , Madame Young, donnez-moi la vot' chère blonde,

Le voudrais malheureuse avec, mais ouais, malheureuse,

Mais ouais, oh ouais, mais l’avoir, l’avoir, oh ouais, la grosse blonde,

Pour moi finir mes grands jours avant tu pars, malheureuse.

Ouais, donc ouais, Madame Young, comment ça s’fait d’refuser,
Pas miserait de m’marier, ah ouais, j’irais l’après, ouais,
Ouais, mais ouais, de l’avoir avec la chère ma grosse blonde,
C’est pour moi finir mes grands jours, toujours avec la chère blonde.

Depuis quand elle etait ‘tite, j’avais chéri la chère blonde,
Je su’ après la guetter, oh ouais, la chère petite blonde,
Je desirais que ça s’rait elle dirait "Ouais" à mon idée,
D’avoir la chère, mais, grosse blonde pour, ouais, finir mes grande jour.

C’est pas quelle est si belle, mais, el’est si bonne et aimable,
La chère 'tite blonde, j’l’aime rais dans tout, mais, chère mon gros cœur,
Oh oui, 'garde-donc cheri cœur, mais, fait pas ça ‘vec ton nègre,
Tu vas me faire, mais, mourir pour toi toujours, malheureuse.

Dennis McGee and Sady Courville
Courville has noted that his name was not included on the record label because he was afraid his friends would laugh at him.  One one song came out with his name on the label.  The others said "second fiddle." 

According to author and music producer Chris King:
The irresistible charmer Dennis McGee played this song for Madame Ulysses Young, his first wife’s mother, in order to gain the hand of young Marie. McGee was one of the rare artists that could produce a pleading agony and a desperate longing from both his fiddle and his singing.5

It's based on an old African religious song.  It was forbidden to be danced because of it's association with voodoo.  The "Calinda" is understood to be a scandalous dance. Because of its purportedly lascivious nature, many slave owners forbade their slaves from dancing the Calinda, tied to voodoo-sexual rituals. Tracing the dance backward through time, the Calinda arrived in Louisiana from the Caribbean. It had earlier arrived in the Caribbean from Africa. And, ironically, from there, the dance possibly traces its origins back to Europe and to a troubadour from the Provence region of France.  Thus, while the Cajuns left western France and made their way from the North Atlantic to Acadie and later to Louisiana, the source material for "Colinda" traveled from the south of France, through Africa, across the South Atlantic, to the Caribbean, and finally to Louisiana.



Yeah, so yeah, Mrs. Young, give me your dear blonde,

I'd like that, oh my, well yeah, oh my,

Well yeah, oh yeah, well to have her, to have her oh yeah, the big blonde,

With me for the rest of my days, before you leave, oh my.

Yeah, so yeah, Mrs. Young, how can you refuse me?
Don't bet on marrying me, ah yeah, I'll go get her, yeah,
Yeah, well yeah, to have the dear big blonde,
With me for the rest of my days, always with the dear blonde.

Since she was little, I've cherished the dear blonde,
I'm watching for her, oh yeah, the dear little blonde,
I would like if she said "Yes" to my idea,
To have the dear, well, big blonde for, well, the rest of my days.

It's not that she's so beautiful, but, she's so good and kind,
The dear little blonde, I'd love her with all my heart,
Oh yeah, so look dear sweetheart, well, don't do that to your man,
You'll make me die for you, forever, oh my.

By 1947, Happy Fats and Doc Guidry would re-work the song into the common use title "Allons Danser Colinda".  McGee influenced younger generations of Cajun musicians, and shortly before his death was named Honorary Dean of Cajun Music by the University of Southwestern Louisiana (now the University of Louisiana at Lafayette).6   





  1. Louisiana Fiddlers By Ron Yule
  2. http://www.eunice-la.com/index.php/history/people-of-interest/16-history/history/128-dennis-mcgee
  3. Do Not Sell At Any Price: The Wild, Obsessive Hunt for the World's Rarest ... By Amanda Petrusich
  4. Cajun Breakdown: The Emergence of an American-Made Music By Ryan Andre Brasseaux
  5. http://www.thewire.co.uk/audio/tracks/stream-tracks-from-the-tompkins-square-aimer-et-perdre-compilation
  6. Louisiana Rocks!: The True Genesis of Rock and Roll edited by Tom Aswell
  7. Swamp Pop: Cajun and Creole Rhythm and Blues By Shane K. Bernard
  8. "Accordions, Fiddles, Two Step & Swing: A Cajun Music Reader" by Ron Brown, Ryan A. Brasseaux, and Kevin S. Fontenot
  9. Lyrics by Raymond F
Release Info:
NO-108 Madame Young Donnez Moi Votre Plus Jolie Blonde (Madame Young Give Me Your Sweetheart) | Vocalion 5319
NO-109 Mon Chere Bebe Creole (My Creole Sweet Mama) | Vocalion 5319

Find:
Louisiana Cajun Music Vol. 5: The Early Years 1928-1938 (Old Timey/Arhoolie, 1973)
The Complete Early Recordings of Dennis McGee (Yazoo, 1994)
Cajun Louisiane 1928-1939 (Fremeaux, 2003)
Aimer Et Perdre: To Love & To Lose Songs, 1917-1934 (Tompkins Square, 2012)
The Very Best of Cajun: La Stomp Creole, Vol. 1 (Viper, 2016)

Thursday, May 24, 2018

"Demain C'est Pas Dimanche" - Moise Robin & Leo Soileau

Courtesy of Chris Strachwitz
"Tomorrow Is Not Sunday". It was Leo Soileau and Moise Robin's version of the old Creole song known as "Adieu Rosa".  While Robin and Soileau were lined up to record the melody, they met Douglas Bellard there at the studio in New Orleans in October of 1929.  Bellard would take the melody and shape it into his "Mon Camon La Case Que Je Suis Cordane", more commonly known as "Les Flammes D'enfer". Dennis McGee and Ernest Fruge were also in the studio that day and the duo reworked the melody, using the original title "Adieu Rosa".  Robin, recalls:


When I went over there, the last time I made a record in New Orleans with Leo Soileau, Angelas Lejeune, he made Bayou Pon Pon and I was there when he made Bayou Pon Pon. And there was a black [man], he made a record, Les Flammes D'enfer. I remember all these players.1

Moise Robin


Merci Bon Dieu, demain ç'est pas dimanche,
Bon Dieu connaît, demain ç'est pas dimanche,
Tonnerre m'écrase, demain ç'est pas dimanche,
Merci Bon Dieu.

Tonnere m'écrase, demain ç'est pas dimanche,
Bon Dieu connaît, mais, ça ç'est pas ma femme.

Bon Dieu connaît, Corine ç'est pas ma femme,
Merci Bon Dieu, Corine ç'est pas ma femme.

Adieu, Rosa, yaille, adieu, Rosa,
J'aurais l'malheure, "Lord",
Adieu Rosa.

Merci Bon Dieu, demain ç'est pas dimanche,
Bon Dieu connaît, demain ç'est pas dimanche,
Tonnerre m'écrase, Corine ç'est pas ma femme.

J'aurais l'malheure, j'aurais l'malheure.

Adieu, Rosa, yaille, adieu, Rosa,
Bon Dieu connaît, demain ç'est pas dimanche,
Merci Bon Dieu.

Adieu, Rosa, yaille, adieu, Rosa,
Tonnerre m'écrase, Corine ç'est pas ma femme,
Merci Bon Dieu, Rosa ç'est pas ma femme.
Leo Soileau

They took Bellard's melody and made it into their own rendition entitled "Demain C'est Pas Dimanche" (#15845). It was a familiar melody that influenced other songs such as Joe Falcon's "Acadian One Step", Angelas Lejeune's "Madame Donnez Moi Les" and Bixy Guidry's "Ella A Plurer Pour Revenir".  Leo would rework the song in the 1930s as "Petit Ou Gros", made famous by Joe Bonsall in the 1960s.  

Many people criticized Leo for his poor usage of the French language. Even some believed Moise to be on vocals, thanking God it wasn't Sunday and that his lover wasn't his wife. When the local priest found out Moise, the son of Joe Robin, might be the vocalist, he was angry:
It was Leo that made that record and I was playing with him. Father LaChapel, the priest of Leonville, heard that particular record.   He asked "Who sang that? Who made that record?" Arthur Stelly of Leonville said "It's Moise Robin." The priest said, "Moise Robin? C'est le bourriquet à Joe Robin". (It's Joe Robin's jackass). They accused me.2  



Thank the good Lord, tomorrow isn't Sunday,
Good Lord knows, tomorrow isn't Sunday,
May the thunder crush me, tomorrow isn't Sunday,
Thank the good Lord.

May the thunder crush me, tomorrow isn't Sunday,
Good Lord knows, well, that it's not my wife.

Good Lord knows, Corine is not my wife,
Thank the good Lord, Corine is not my wife.

Bye, Rosa, oh my, bye, Rosa,
I'd be so unlucky, Lord,
Bye Rosa.

Thank the good Lord, tomorrow isn't Sunday,
Good Lord knows, tomorrow isn't Sunday,
May the thunder crush me, Corine is not my wife.

I'd be so unlucky, I'd be so unlucky.

Bye, Rosa, oh my, bye, Rosa,
Good Lord knows, tomorrow isn't Sunday,
Thank the good Lord.

Bye, Rosa, oh my, bye, Rosa,
May the thunder crush me, Corine is not my wife,
Thank the good Lord, Rosa is not my wife.

Over time, "Adieu Rosa" and similar songs would become the well known "Les Flammes D'Enfer". Musician Wade Fruge, influenced by Bellard, discusses the song's origin and a story:
I learned what they call "Les Flammes d'Enfer" from a black fiddle player [Douglas Bellard].  It's a copy of another song called "Adieu, Rosa".  He'd play it in a one step, not a two step like people play it today. Today, it's played faster.




  1. http://arhoolie.org/moise-robin/
  2. Ye Yaille Chere by Raymond Francois
  3. Picture by Chris Strachwitz
  4. Lyrics by Raymond F

Release Info:
NO261 La Valse À Moreau | Vocalion 15845
NO262 Demain C'est Pas Dimanche | Vocalion 15845

Find:
Leo Soileau: Louisiana Cajun Music Vol. 7 (Old Timey, 1982)
Cajun Louisiane 1928-1939 (Fremeaux, 2003)
The Early Recordings of Leo Soileau (Yazoo, 2006)

Friday, May 18, 2018

"Anuiant Et Bleu" - Roy Gonzales

In the summer of 1929, Opelousas jewelry store owner, Frank Dietlein2 negotiated a recording deal for Leo Soileau and Paramount Records.   Crowley native Roy Gonzales, who sang French interpretations of Jimmie Rodgers songs, went along for the ride with an old four-string guitar.  Paramount expected them to perform, having invested $700 to transport them on a fast mail train to Indiana.1  


When Gonzales arrived at the studios in July of 1929, he had a change of heart and pleaded with the producers not to record.  The record executives insisted , and the Louisiananian produced six Cajun adaptations of tunes popularized by Jimmie Rodgers, including "Anuiant Et Bleu" (#1456), better known as "Lonely and Blue".1  

Ennuyé et bleu, et mon coeur cassé, 

Personne pour me contenter, chère,

Tu m'as laissé seul, t'as parti chez toi, 

Pourquoi tu voyages, ma chère fille? 

T'as promis toi t'étais juste pour moi, 
Et toi et moi t'aurais jamais laissé,
Tu m'as pas écouté, tu m'as laissé, 
Peut être un jour tu viendras. 
(yodel)

Tu crois tu saurais je m'ennuie de toi, 
Que moi je t'aime pour toujours,
Peut être tu dirais "Un jour je m'en reviendrai",
Mais, j'ai laissé seul chez toi, chère.

T'as promis (que) t'aurais été que pour moi,
Et toi et moi t'aurais jamais laissé,
Tu m'as pas écouté et tu m'as laissé,
Peut être un jour tu reviendras. 
(yodel)
Clarion News
July 18, 1929

Gonzales approached the microphone, four-stringed guitar in hand and proceeded to strum through several familiar Rodgers-styled blues. The accomplished vocalist confidently swung his warm vibrato-laden baritone through the material, embellishing his vocal with yodeling.1  

Lonely and blue, and my heart is broken,

Noone to make me happy, dear,

You left me alone, you went back home,

Why did you roam, my dear girl?

You promised you were just for me,
And you'd never leave me,
You didn't listen, you left me,
Maybe one day you will return.
(yodel)

You think you know that I will miss you,
That I'll love you forever,
Maybe you would say, "Someday I'll return"
Well, I left your house alone, dear.

You promised me you would have been only for me,
And you, you'd never leave me,
You did not listen to me and you left me,
Maybe one day you'll come back.



At the same session, Roy also sang a variation of Jimmie Rodgers' "Blue Yodel" entitled "Choctaw Beer Blues".   It was a tune that he recorded earlier with John Bertrand, but it ended up becoming un-issued by Paramount.  Named after the famed beer of Oklahoma's native Americans, a portion of the song was attributed to orchestra band leader and neighbor, Joe Rivet.    Rivet was a trumpeter from Iberville Parish, and traveled with his band in places such as New Orleans, Shreveport, Lake Charles, Lafayette, and spots in east Texas such as Port Arthur, Longview, and Nacogdoches.5  After playing in Herman Scallan's group in the 1920s, he formed his own group.  Even Harry James' saxophonist and trumpeter Claude Lakey filled in.4   Roy joined his group playing drums and eventually they settled in Alexandria.  Known as Joe Rivet and his Castle Garden band, you could catch their show billed as "Swing and Sweat with Joe Rivet".3   Gonzales and Rivet remained playing until the 1950s. 
Rayne Tribune
Jul 26, 1935





If you're from Mobile, what are you doing down here,

If you're from Mobile, baby what you doing down here,

I'm just messing around, drinking good ole Choctaw beer.

(yodel)



I'm going up the country, but I sure can't take you,

I'm going up the country, but I sure can't take you,

There's nothing up there that an ugly woman can do.

(yodel)


Now, a dog run a rabbit, he run for a thousand miles,
Boy, a dog run a rabbit, run it for a thousand miles,
A rabbit broke down and busted our good time.
(yodel)

There's one thing in this world, I can't understand,
Well there's one thing in this world, baby I can't understand,
It's why an ugly woman always picks a bow-legged man.
(yodel)

Now, blues and trouble, they ramble hand in hand,
Oh, blues and trouble, they ramble hand in hand,
You ain't never had no trouble till you marry a no-good man.
(yodel)






Anuiant Et Bleu




Choctaw Beer Blues



  1. Cajun Breakdown: The Emergence of an American-Made Music By Ryan Andre Brasseaux
  2. NOTE: In Tony Russell's Paramount liner notes, he makes no mention of Frank Dietlein.  Instead, he mentions Winter Lemoine of Opelousas as the agent in which Gonzales contacted Paramount
  3. The Town Talk from Alexandria, Louisiana. January 1, 1987.
  4. https://www.discogs.com/artist/313071-Claude-Lakey
  5. Longview News. February 13, 1933.
  6. Lyrics by Stephane F, Jerry M and Jeremy R
  7. Photos by John T

Release Info:
G-15353-A Anuiant Et Bleu | Paramount 12832
G-15354-A Choctaw Beer Blues | Paramount 12832

Find:
Paramount Old Time Recordings, CD B (JSP, 2006)
The Rise & Fall of Paramount Records: Volume Two, 1928-1932, CD G (Third Man, 2014)

Monday, May 14, 2018

"Teche Special" - Iry Lejeune

The legendary Iry Lejeune ranks as one of the truly great blind musician/performers.  Iry got his second chance at the recording world in 1947 when he heard about Eddie Shuler's radio show on KPLC in Lake Charles, La. Shuler provided a 15- minute segment daily during which any amateur musician could walk in and play on the air. Iry pitched his French accordion into a flour sack and showed up on Eddie Shuler's doorstep. The young accordion player was a smash hit with the listeners. Unfortunately, the station owner was not a fan of Cajun accordion music and ordered Shuler not to bring Lejeune back on his show.1 Shuler explains:
[Iry] came in and performed on my show, two songs.  When we were walking out of the station after the show was over, the head man of the station, his name was Mr. Wilson, he came out of that back room.  He had a voice like a bellowing bull.  He weighed about 290 pounds.  He said "Eddie Shuler, you S.O.B, what in the hell was that you had on my radio station?" I said "Mr. Wilson, that man said that was Cajun music. I don't know, I have to go along with him. I have never heard anything like it". He said, "If you ever do that again I'm going to throw you right out the front door.  I'm not going to tell you you're through, just kick your effed up self out the front door". I said, "Yes sir".3  


Eh, 'tit monde, comment tu crois, moi, je vas faire,
Tout le temps après, mais, jongler à toi,
Tu devrais quand même chez toi, t'en venir, oui, 'tite monde,
J'aimerais te dire quelque chose, que j'aimerais entendre.

Eh, je devrais, mais, pas oublier tout ça, toi,
Tout ça que, toi, t'etais apres me faire,
Juste par rapport à ta famille, 
Moi, je connais, tite monde, t'es apres me faire du mal.

Moi j'connais, catin, mais, viens donc me rejoindre,
Moi, je voudrais te dire quelque chose, que je peux pas te dire,
Moi, je peux pas t'envoyer te dire, mais, cher 'tit monde, pas jusqu'à, toi,
Tu reviens, oui, me rejoindre, que je te dis toi-même.


R.C. Vanicor, Ernest Fruge, Iry Lejeune,
Alfred "Duckhead" Cormier, Earl Demary,
Ernest's son



Not looking to loose his radio business, he dropped the act.  In the meantime, Shuler had formed a small record company, Goldband Records. He and Lejeune quickly reached a gentleman's agreement that they would record four sides in the middle of the night in the KPLC studios when they were not being used for station purposes. The agreement stated that Shuler would use all of his contacts with other disk jockeys and radio stations throughout Louisiana and Texas to promote and distribute the records produced, and that only if positive financial results could be produced within six months from the initial recording sessions would future recording sessions result.1  During one of those sessions, in 1949, Iry recorded the "Teche Special" (#101) alongside Ellis Vanicor on fiddle, Ivy Vanicor on rhythm guitar, and Orsy "R.C" Vanicor on steel guitar.  

Hey, my little everything, how do you think I'll deal with this,
Always, well, thinking of you,
You should still come home, yeah, my little everything,
I would like to tell you something, that I'd like (you) to hear.

Hey, I shouldn't, well, forget all that you (did),
All that which you did to me,
Just because of your family,
I know, my little everything, you made me sad.

I know, pretty doll, well, come and join me,
I would like to tell you something, that I can't say to you,
I can't send (someone) to tell you, well, dear little everything, not until you,
You come back, yeh, to join me, which I'll tell you, yourself.

Although this song was recorded in 1948, Iry was playing this song as early as 1944.3  His group under this agreement, Iry Lejeune cut 26 sides for Goldband Records and his subsidiary Folk-Star between 1948 and his tragic death in 1955.  Record sales rarely went beyond the local Cajun audience due mainly to the language barrier and the fierce down-home nature of the music.  Eddie considered one of these early copies a "big hit": selling a mere 3500 copies!2




  1. http://www.zydecocajunbyway.com/iry.html
  2. Cajun Honky Tonk. The Khoury Recordings.  John Broven. Liner notes.
  3. http://arhoolie.org/eddie-shuler-goldband-records/
  4. Ye Yaille Chere by Raymond Francois
Release Info:
-A Teche Special | Goldband F-101-A
-B Te Mone | Goldband F-101-B

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

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

"Hippitiyo" - Hackberry Ramblers

The Hackberry Ramblers had been playing music since 1933 and by 1936, they were the darlings of Bluebird Record producer Eli Oberstein.  But by 1939, the Hackberry Ramblers were having a hard time staying together. Luderin Darbone had quit playing and the recording industry ignored Cajun music.   After the war, Cajun music was hot again, and Luderin decided to get the group back together.  

Deluxe had already worked with Bill Quinn of Houston when he needed the outfit to help press his Harry Choate recording "Jole Blon".  With this arrangement, Deluxe had entered into the Cajun music market.  



Eh, Hip et Taïaut, chere,
Qu'a volé mon traîneau, chere,
Quand il a vu j’étais devenu chaud, chere,
Il a ramené mon traîneau.

Eh, Hip et Taïaut, chere,
Qu'a volé mon chapeau, chere,
Quand il a vu j’étais devenu chaud, chere,
Il a ramené mon chapeau, negre.

Eh, Hip et Taïaut, chere,
Qu'a volé mon chapeau, chere,
Quand il a vu j’étais devenu chaud, negre,
Il a ramené mon chapeau, chere.

Eh, Hip et Taïaut, chere,
Qu'a volé mon chapeau, chere,
Quand il a vu j’étais devenu chaud, chere,
Il a ramené mon chapeau, negre.



It would be Joseph Leibowitz of DeLuxe records who would discover the group.  Darbone recalls his encounter with DeLuxe:
Right after Harry Choates recorded Jole Blon, I wrote to a company out of Houston. It wasn't the same company that he had recorded for, but there was another company there. We sent them some records that we had cut here at one of the music stores in Lake Charles. Then they wrote back and said they didn't think we're going to record that type music. In the meantime, this fellow that was with the DeLuxe, he must have had connections, but he got some way, he got in touch with the same company. They referred our band to him. 1
Part of their recording set list had Luderin Darbone on fiddle, Edwin Duhon on bass, Grover Heard on lead guitar, Lennis Sonnier on acoustic guitar, Neil Roberts on trumpet, Westley "Chink" Widcamp on bass, Gary Major on sax, and Lefty Boggs on drums.


Hey, Hip and Taïaut, dear,
Who stole my sled, dear,
When they saw I was mad, dear,
They returned my sled.

Hey, Hip and Taïaut, dear,
Who stole my hat, dear,
When they saw I was mad, dear,
They returned my hat, dear.

Hey, Hip and Taïaut, dear,
Who stole my hat, dear,
When they saw I was mad, my man,
They returned my hat, dear.

Hey, Hip and Taïaut, dear,
Who stole my hat, dear,
When they saw I was mad, dear,
They returned my hat, my man.

Lennis Sonnier rejoined the group and they left for New Orleans in 1947.  He sang an old classic Cajun tune "Hippityo" (#5035), a cover of the Cleoma Breaux recording "Ils La Volet Mon Trancas".  





  1. http://arhoolie.org/hackberry-ramblers/

Release Info:
D 344 Te Petite | DeLuxe 5035 A
D 349 Hippitiyo | DeLuxe 5035 B

Find:
Louisiana Cajun Music Volume 8: The Hackberry Ramblers - Early Recordings 1935-1948 (Old Timey, 1988)

Friday, May 4, 2018

"Fa-De-Do Stomp" - Harry Choates

Gold Star records was the creation by a record producer named Bill Quinn.  Bill got his start partnering up with Orville "Bennie" Hess and Frank Sanborn with their very first label named 'Gulf'.  However, after Frank left the team and Hess started his own label named Opera, Bill ventured out on his own. Quinn's methods were nothing near professional.  His make-shift setup was always causing issues.  According to Clyde Brewer:
It used to be an old grocery store.  Quinn really didn't have a company then, but he had a studio. We recorded some that afternoon, but when we came back the next morning, a cold norther had blown in. And there was no heat in this building.  His turntable would run about 78 RPM, then it would go about 33, then about 20.  So, he went out to his car and got a blowtorch, fired it up, and held it close to that motor until he could get the speed fixed.   And then we recorded a few more things.1  

Many of the recordings Quinn had lined up never materialized, mainly due to rugged, poor maintained equipment.  Occasionally, one of a kind master discs were destroyed or damaged in the processing tanks, casualties of Quinn's ongoing experiments.   According to Deacon Anderson:
Quinn had an old Rek-O-Kut belt driven turntable.  His overhead lathe was Presto.  Every now and then, the arm would slip and ruin the record.1  
Crowley Daily Signal
Aug 17, 1948


By 1946, Quinn discovered a lowly Cajun fiddle player named Harry Choates and the two kicked off a slew of session for his Gold Star label. Harry's band was backed by himself on fiddle, Esmond Pursley on guitar, Joe Manuel on banjo, Pee Wee Lyons on steel guitar, B.D. Williams on bass, Curzy Roy on drums, and Johnnie Manuel on piano.  The following year, Harry and Quinn were working close together, waxing a tune called "Fa De Do Stomp" (#1326) when Quinn discovered Harry was secretly recording for Jimmy Mercer's Cajun Classics outside of his contract.  This was the beginning of the end of Harry and Bill's relationship. Drummer Curzy Roy remembers a session for Decca in Houston that was about to commence when Quinn suddenly appeared, bringing things to a sudden halt.1  

Curzy "Pork Chop" Roy


"Fa De Do Stomp", a misspelled title of Fais Do-Do Stomp, was a swingy instrumental of a 1937 string band recording by J.B. Fuselier called "Lake Arthur Stomp".  Floyd Leblanc covered the tune in 1949 as "Louisiana Stomp". Cursy Roy loved playing with Harry:
I like him, but Choates was kind of a lowlife...some nights we'd play, Harry would get so drunk, he'd rock.   Like he was gonna fall forwards or backwards.  But he'd never miss a lick.  On that fiddle, ...never ever hit a bad chord.1  

Having no concern with his Gold Star contract, Harry began recording for Macy Henry's new label and with the break-up of Harry's original Melody Boys band, the two partners parted ways. 





  1. "Devil in Bayou".  Andrew Brown. liner notes.
  2. Photo by Jeremy R

Release Info:
1326A Cajun Hop | Gold Star 1326-A  Modern 20-526
1326B Fa-De-Do Stomp | Gold Star 1326-B Modern 20-530

Find:
Harry Choates ‎– The Fiddle King Of Cajun Swing (Arhoolie, 1982, 1993)
Devil In The Bayou - The Gold Star Recordings (Bear Family, 2002)
GOLD STAR LABEL Classic Country Music (BACM, 2018)