Friday, October 2, 2015

"The Rabbit Stole The Pumpkin" - John Bertrand & Milton Pitre

Children's songs can be some of the most inspirational pieces of music passed on through generations.  One of the most influential instrumentals floating around the Cajun prairies would be recorded by an almost obscure duo.  Recorded by John H. Bertrand and Milton Pitre, it would influence one of the earliest versions of the melody which became Iry Lejeune's "J'ai Ete Z Au Bal" and be the sole influence for Lawrence Walker's "Johnny Can't Dance".   

The duo traveled to Chicago in 1929 when Paramount decided to bring more blues to their recording studio.   The song, "The Rabbit Stole The Pumpkin" (#12730), was based on a children's tune that Lawrence Walker remembers hearing played as child.1
Later that same year, it was recorded separately as "J'vai Jouer Celea Pour Toi (I'll Play This For You)" by Bixy Guidry and during the mid 1930s as "Ne Buvez Plus Jamais" by Joe Falcon.

While there are some similarities with Iry Lejeune's "I Went To The Dance"; covered by countless Cajun musicians, it would be Lawrence Walker's "Johnny Can't Dance" that would take the melody and popularize it for all time.  Much later, Rick Michot would write lyrics to the song, calling it "Le Lapin a Volé Le Giraumon"2


Crowley Daily Signal
Mar 15, 1929

  1. Ye Yaille Chere, Traditional Cajun Dance Music by Raymond E. Francois
John Bertrand / Blind Uncle Gaspard / Delma Lachney Early American Cajun Music (Yazoo, 1999)
The Rise & Fall of Paramount Records: Volume Two, 1928-1932, CD G (Third Man, 2014)

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