Friday, August 13, 2021

"Blues Negres" - Cleoma Falcon

This article may contain potentially offensive language, including obscenities and ethnic or racial slurs. In the interest of making this material fully available to scholars, we have chosen not to censor this material.

In the 1920s and 1930s, Cajun musicians could not avoid the influence of the blues sound heard throughout the south.   So much so, many of them recorded at least one tune with some blues influence.   A great example is the tune by Cleoma Breaux Falcon entitled "Blues Negres (Niggar Blues)" on Decca (#17004).   According to Dr. Barry Ancelet, it would be the influence of Afro-Creole and Native American sounds that makes Cajun music sound so different than the Acadian music of Nova Scotia.  

Oh, pour tu m'aimer,
Tu connais j'mérite pas donc tout ça, toi t'après faire,
C’est pitié a la maison, moi tout seul, j'ai p'us personne, mais, p'us m'aimer,
Moi j'm'en va, moi tout seul, comme un pauvre malheureuse.

Écoute-moi tout les conseils de les autres,
Tu connais moi j't'aime, bon Dieu sait, chère 'tite fille,
Tu connais j'mérite pas tout ça toi t'après faire.
Moi j'm'en va, moi tout seul, à la maison, j'ai p'us personne, mais, p'us m'aimer,
Pourquoi moi j'ai des regrets quoi toi t'après faire?

Recorded in 1934 in New York City, "Blues Negres", i
t shares similarities with a song called "Bull Doze Blues" by Henry Thomas in 1928 for Vocalion.  It's loosely related to the old minstrel song, composed in 1912 by Leroy “Lasses” White entitled "Nigger Blues", which was one of the first blues songs published.  In addition to the importance of the "Nigger Blues" for being one of the first published blues songs and written by one of the first composers of twelve-bar blues, it was the first whose lyrics were in what would become the standard blues form used by the 1920s vaudeville performers and found in the folk blues songs collected and recorded in the 1930s.3  

Whoa, how you loved me,
You know, so I don't deserve all that you've done,
It's pitiful at home, I'm all alone, I have no one, well, no one to love me,
I'm going, all alone, like a poor miserable woman.

Listening to all the advice of others,
You know I love you, the good Lord knows, dear little girl,
You know I don't deserve all that you've done,
I am going, all alone, to the house, I have no one, well, no one to love me,
Why do i have such regret for what you are doing?

Blues arrangements and one-steps acted as a cultural weather vane indicating the direction of commercial Cajun music.  Cleoma would go on to record other bluesy tunes such as "Ouvrez Grand Ma Fenetre" and "En Route Chez Moi". 

  1. Against the Tide, the story of the Cajun people of Louisiana by Zachary Richard
  2. Cajun Breakdown : The Emergence of an American-Made Music By Ryan Andre Brasseaux
  4. Lyrics by Herman M
Release Info:
39208-A Soucis Quand J'Etais Gamin (Troubles When I Was A Boy) | Decca 17004 A
39207-A Blues Negres (Nigger Blues) | Decca 17004 B

Presents Hot Women Singers (Kein & Aber, 2003)

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