Friday, July 27, 2018

"Merrymaker's Hop" - Miller's Merrymakers

During the 1930s, a tenor banjo player named Beethoven Miller created the band called Miller's Merrymakers and they recorded in New Orleans. After Beethoven left the group, a Cajun fiddle player named Jean Baptiste Fuselier took over as bandleader and changed it's name to J.B. and the Merrymakers. He included guitarist Preston Manuel.

Fuselier began playing the fiddle when he was five. He claimed that when he started violin, he was too small to pick it up to play. He had to lie on the bed.  His cousin suggested that they sit him in a chair so he could hold the fiddle.  His fingers were so short at the time, he learned to play with only three finders and never learned to use his fourth finger during his career.  He recalls:
All that money I made, I made it with three fingers. I played my first dance for fifty cents.  The violin by myself.  A country dance in a house.  I was so hot.  The sweat was pouring in my shoes.  I was not quite ten years old.  That's the first time I got money to play.1   
J.B. Fuselier (fiddle)

Eh, chère, tu m'as quitté, bébé,

Oh, s'en aller avec un autre,
Comment j'vas faire, moi tout seul, à ma maison, jolie monde.

Eh, cher joli 'tit monde, catin,
Moi, je m'en vas chez moi, tout seul, jolie.
His first recording at this very first session in 1936 was ""Merrymaker's Hop" for Bluebird (#B-2004).  It's a slower version of Leo Soileau's "Le Blues De Port Arthur" with a different twist during the song's bridge.  His most covered tune is one about his daughter Myrtle named "Chere Tout Tout", recorded in 1937. However, their signature tune would be recorded in 1938 entitled "Ma Cher Bassett" in New Orleans for Bluebird.

Hey, dear, you have left me, baby,

Oh, going away with another,
How will I handle this, I'm all alone, at my house, my pretty everything.

Hey, dear pretty little everything, pretty doll,
I'm going home, all alone, pretty girl.

  1. Cajun Dancehall Heyday by Ron Yule
  2. Lyrics by Stephane F and Jordy A
Release Info:
BS-02674-1 Merrymakers' Hop | Bluebird B-2004-A
BS-02677-1 Lake Arthur Waltz | Bluebird B-2004-B

CAJUN-Rare & Authentic (JSP, 2008)

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