Friday, June 15, 2018

"Poche Town" - Joe Falcon

Joe Falcon, dubbed “The Accordion King,” helped push the instrument to the peak of its prewar popularity. Although button accordions were available in Louisiana as early as the 1880s, the instrument wasn’t popular until 1925, when the Monarch and Sterling boxes arrived on the scene. Set in C and D, they could be played alongside the open-tuned Cajun fiddle and, with their prodigious volume, they quickly came to dominate the dance music of the fais do do.1    

Oh, promets-moi, joli cœur,

Tu vas jamais m’oublier comme t'as pris, oui, ton cœur,

Tu m'as pris de la maison, jolie fille,
En promettant de me soigner, garde-donc ça tu fais, chère

Oh, observe-moi bien, joli cœur,
Tu vas avoir, ouais, pitié, moi tout seul dans la misère,
Tu m'as pris de la maison, jolie fille,
Tes bons parents qui m'a fait donc quitter de la maison.

Oh, j'ai p'us d'espoir, chère,
J'ai d'espoir t'en aller en virant le dos pour la vie,
Tu m'as dit, chère, tu voulais la promesse,
De bien te soigner tous les deux, bonne ‘tite fille, jusqu'à la mort.

Many of Joe's tunes had no titles by the time he entered the studio.  Executives persuaded him to make up names on the spot, either after family or towns he was familiar with.   Entitled "Poche Town" (#40506) in 1929, it was an old Cajun melody. Today, the area referred to as Poche Town (pronounced "poh-shay") is a rural section, north of the railroad tracks in Sulphur, Louisiana.  The area is named after George Simeon Portie, Sr.son of Oscar and Corrina Elender Portie, who moved here in 1902 from Hackberry, Louisiana.2

Adolph "Bixy" Guidry in 1929 did the same with his tune "Waltz Of The Long Wood" with Percy Babineaux for Bluebird Records.  Several of Joe's songs influenced Leo Soileau, including this one entitled "Promise Me".  The song also has some similarities to the Chuck Guillory's "Tolan Waltz", "La Valse De Grand Bois", Shirley Bergeron's "La Valse De La Belle", Blackie Forestier's "Crying Waltz" and The Veteran Playboys' "La Valse De La Belle".  

Oh, promise me, pretty sweetheart,

You will never forget me when you took, yes, your heart (away),
You took me away from home, pretty girl,
Promising to take care of me, so look what you've done, dear.

Oh, pay attention well, pretty sweetheart,
You'll have, yeah, pity, I'm all alone in misery,
You took me away from home, pretty girl, 
Your good parents who made me leave home. 

Oh, I'm hoping, dear,
I have hoped you'll go turn back forever,
You told me, dear, you wanted the promise,
Of taking good care of both of us, good girl, until you die.

The accordion-fiddle combination reigned at dances and on phonograph records until about 1935, when the slicker sounds of the hillbilly string bands and, soon, Western swing came rushing into the French-speaking parishes.   

  3. Lyrics by Stephane F and Jordy A

Release Info:
W110552-2 Poche Town | Columbia 40506-F Okeh 90006
W110553-2 Osson | Columbia 40506-F Okeh 90006

Louisiana Cajun Music Volume 1: First Recordings - The 1920's (Old Timey, 1970)
Cajun, Vol. 1: Abbeville Breakdown 1929-1939 (Sony/Columbia, 1990)
Cajun Origins (Catfish, 2001)
Baby, How Can It Be? (Songs of Love, Lust and Contempt from the 1920s and ‘30s) (Dust To Digital, 2010)
The Perfect Roots & Blues Collection (Sony, 2015)

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