Wednesday, February 6, 2019

"Le Midland Two Step" - Amede Ardoin

Amede Ardoin was one of the first African-American accordionists to make a "French" record. He was a popular performer and creative improvisational singer, respected by blacks and whites alike. His vocal and playing styles have influenced most Cajun and Creole musicians since then. He recorded many sides, with Dennis McGee on fiddle, and later in the mid-1930s on his own.1 Based on the slower Angelas Lejeune's "La Valse Du Texas", Ardoin took the slow tempo waltz and created a fast-paced two-step from the melody.

Oh, toi, catin, ô tous mes parents,
Oh, moi, je connais, ça veut pas me voir chez toi.

Oh, toi 'tite fille, comment ça se fait avec toi,
Tu me fais tant de la misère sans jamais je t'ai rien fait,
Oh, je m'en vas en quelque part, ouais, pour mon je te voir,
Ouais, pour moi, je te voir, mais, tes parents veulent pas que mon je te vois.

Oh, ye yaille, toi, catin, ça peut passer,
Tu sais, chez ma marraine, moi, j’avoir au moins 5 sous,
Oh, moi, je m'en vas, ô, j'ai pas d'argent,
Oh, mon papa et ma maman m'en a pas donné.

Oh, ye yaille, catin, éoù c'est je vas aller,
Oh, pour mon te voir toutes les heures dimanche matin,
Oh, moi, j'allais, là-bas éoù toi, t'etais,
Moi, je m'aperçois, mais, ta maman veut pas me voir.
Amede Ardoin

In 1934, record mogul, Jack Kapp, who had recently left Brunswick Records that year, quietly pulled some of their previous recording artists to record for a new label named Decca.  He convinced former Brunswick artists such as Bing Crosby, the Mills Brothers, Guy Lombardo and Amede Ardoin to sign with the fledgling label.  During a solo trip to New York City, Kapp invited both the Falcons and Ardoin to their main studio where Ardoin waxed the quick paced song, "Le Midland Two Step" (#17003) as an ode to the small farming community in Acadia Parish.   In an agriculturally-dominated society, if one wasn't farming, they were considered lazy.   Fiddle player Canray Fontenot and his father remembered growing up playing music with Amede.  
Amede, he was the lazy type of man. He was the baby of the family.  He didn't like to work. He was always playing. He'd go somewhere if he knew someone was making a big boucherie, he go over there and sit down with his accordion, and play there.  They'd feed him, maybe give him a piece of meat to take home to give to one of his brothers.2     

Oh, you little doll, oh, my parents,
Oh, I know, they don't want to see me at your place.

Oh, you little girl, why have you done that?
You've made me so miserable without ever doing anything to you,
Oh, I'm going to go somewhere, yeah, so I can see you,
Yeah, so I can see you, however, your parents do not want me to see you.

Oh, ye yaille, you little doll, that passes by,
You know, at my godmother's place, I have at least five cents.
Oh, I'm going away, oh, I have no money,
Oh, my dad and my mom did not give me any.

Oh, ye yaille, little doll, where am I going to go?
Oh, for I see you all the time on Sunday mornings,
Oh, I'm going to go over there, where you were,
I realize, well, your mother does not want to see me.

  1. J'ai Ete Au Bal Vol. 1.  Arhoolie CD 331.  Liner notes.
  3. Lyrics by Marc C
Release Info:
39196-B Le Midland Two Step (The Midland Two Step) | Decca 17003 A
39204-A Valse De Mon Vieux Village (My Old Home Town Waltz) | Decca 17003 B

I'm Never Comin' Back: The Roots of Zydeco (Arhoolie, 1995)
CAJUN-Rare & Authentic (JSP, 2008)
Mama, I'll Be Long Gone : The Complete Recordings of Amede Ardoin, 1929-1934 (Tompkins Square, 2011)

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