Thursday, March 29, 2018

"O.S.T. Gal" - Leroy "Happy Fats" Leblanc

Like Western swing, Cajun swing helped redefine the rural Southern experience, an experience based on interaction and exchange. Varied cultural currents flowed freely throughout the Bayou Country. Individuals only had to reach out to access the cultural innovations and mass culture available at their fingertips.1 Happy Fats and his swinging fiddler, Harry Choates, were keenly aware of the music's popularity and had no problem performing throughout south Louisiana and Texas. The duo recorded an upbeat tune in 1940 entitled "O.S.T. Gal" (#8537) for Bluebird records.  His group had Sandy Lormand on guitar, Joseph "Pee Wee" Broussard on banjo, Ray Clark on steel guitar, and Harold "Popeye" Broussard on piano.  Harry's fiddle rides, Sandy's electric guitar slides and Popeye's honky-tonk piano sound really made this recording shine. Based on an old 19th century tune known as "Oh, Dem Golden Slippers", a blackface minstrel spiritual made famous by the Fisk Jubilee Singers and later by Vernon Dalhart & Carson Robison, it was used in other recordings such as the Jolly Boys of Lafayette's "Old Man Crip".  
1924 Travel Log

Met me a girl at the O.S.T.,
Thought sure was a hum-dinger,
I soon asked her to put a ring,
Upon her little finger.

Chaste and pure, she assured be true,
She'd would wed me soon,
We'd go down to my old town,
And spend our honeymoon.

Bought me a ring and bought me a cow,
And I bought me a Model T Ford,
Saved nineteen dollars and twenty cents,
Just to pay our board.

Barely clothed, up bright and early,
My gal, I went home to bring (her),
She stepped up with a dozen children,
Hanging on her apron string.

Says "Hello daddy, we're glad to see you,
Mama sure is due,
We can't see how she ever fell,
For a guy with a mug like you."

Puttin my Ford in reverse,
Sure was nothing could stop her,
Now I know I'll never be,
That dozen children's papa.

Says "Hello daddy, we're glad to see you,
Mama sure is due,
We can't see how she ever fell,
For a guy with a mug like you."

Puttin my Ford in reverse,
Sure was nothing could stop her,
Now I know I'll never be,
That dozen children's papa.

Rayne Acadian Tribune
Mar 1, 1940

O.S.T. is references the O.S.T. Dancehall located in Rayne, LA.   Many Cajun bands played there with many Cajun "gals" arriving to enjoy a good time.  The name O.S.T. is shortened for the Old Spanish Trail, named so after a colonial Spanish highway that connected San Diego, CA to St. Augustine, FL.  The old route, now mostly made of HWY 90, passed through New Orleans, Lafayette, Crowley, and Rayne.  Happy recalled: 
The club I played longest at was the old O.S.T. club here in Rayne.3  

Harold Broussard remembered traveling on the way to record with Happy Fats and Harry Choates.  When the band was offered a recording contract with RCA (Bluebird), they loaded up Happy Fats' 1934 Chevrolet with instruments. The stand-up bass was strapped to the car's roof.  The Rayne-Bo Ramblers triumphantly rolled into Dallas and performed a very successful recording session in the studios of the Jefferson Hotel.  On the return trip, a gust of wind blew the bass fiddle from the roof of Happy Fats' Chevrolet sending the instrument crashing into a dozen pieces to the highway between Dallas and Shreveport. Everyone bailed out of the car including Harry and retrieved the scattered pieces from the roadway. The instrument was returned to Rayne and miraculously repaired.  According to Broussard, the sounds it produced were better than ever.  "We must have had angels on our shoulders."2  
O.S.T. Nite Club
Courtesy Lisa Smith Soileaux and Tony Olinger

By the late 1930s, RCA Victor and it's subsidiary label, Bluebird, were exhausted with the releases of Cajun-French songs and Happy used the opportunity to push more of his English speaking music to the masses.  It wouldn't be until over a year and a half before he would re-enter the Bluebird studios in Dallas, TX in October 1941.  In his last session in Dallas, he recorded 8 songs, half of them American hillbilly tunes and half of them Cajun French tunes.   However, by the time they were ready for release, Bluebird dumped all but one of the Cajun recordings in favor of the English ones. 

1929 Travel Log

It didn't matter too much since not long after the 1941 recording session, the US entered WWII and Cajun music ceased to be recorded by any label for the next 4 years.

  1. Cajun Breakdown: The Emergence of an American-Made Music By Ryan Andre Brasseaux
  2. "Poor Hobo: The Tragic Life of Harry Choates: A Cajun Legend" by Tim Knight
  3. South to Louisiana: The Music of the Cajun Bayous By John Broven
  4. Lyrics by Jordy A
Harry Choates: Five-Time Loser 1940-1951 (Krazy Kat, 1990)
Cajun Fiddle King (AIM, 1999)
Devil In The Bayou - The Gold Star Recordings (Bear Family, 2002)

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

"La Valse De Amour (Waltz of Love)" - Sidney Brown

One of the most respected musicians in the business was Sidney Brown of Lake Charles, Louisiana.  His accordion music turned tunes like the Valse de Meche "La Pestauche Ah Tante Nana" or Sha Ba Ba" into hits of yesterday and classics of today.  Records such as these were fine examples of authentic French music at it's best.1

Oh, joues roses, quoi faire donc, ‘tit monde,

T’après m'quitter aujourd’hui dans les misères,
Tout je t'demande, joues roses, fais pas ça, bébé,
Moi j'connais t’auras du regret pour le restant d'ma vie,

Oh, joues roses, moi je vois pas, donc quoi,
Quoi tu fais pour toi-même, t’après m'quitter,
Dit-moi, c’est fait ye yaille, je m'rappelle pas, joues roses, 
Vient-toi donc, ouais, me donner une autre chance.
Crowley Daily Signal
July 16, 1959

Sidney loved accordion music at an early age; so much, in fact that he began to teach himself to play.  By the time he was 13, he had learned enough to play dances and fais do dos in his hometown of Church Point, Louisiana and was soon developing his own style and sound.  By the 1956, he teamed up with Eddie Shuler and his Goldband label to create "La Valse de Amour" (#1046).  The melody seems to be a mixture of Iry Lejeune's "Convict Waltz" and "Te Monde" but with a strong resemblance to his tune "Come And Get Me".

Oh, little rosy cheeks, what happened, my little world,
You have left me today in misery,
All I ask of you, little rosy cheeks, don't do that, baby,
I know you are going to regret this for the rest of my life.

Oh, little rosy cheeks, I don't see, so why,
Why have you done this to yourself, you left me,
Tell me, it's done, ye yaille, I don't remember, little rosy cheeks,
So come on, yeah, give me another chance.

As his record sales increased so did the offers of personal appearances and he formed a group called the Traveler Playboys to fill his many engagements.  They consisted of Vinus Lejeune and Nelson Young on fiddles, Wilus (Wallace) Ogea on guitar, Mervin Faul on steel guitar and Cliton Newman on drums.

  1. Sidney Brown LP.  Goldband Records.  Mike Leadbitter.  Liner notes.
  2. Lyrics by Jordy A
Release Info:
-A Highball Two Step G-1046-A Goldband
-B La Valse De Amour G-1046-B Goldband

Friday, March 23, 2018

"Mamou Two Step" - Lawrence Walker

One of Lawrence Walker's most recognized tunes.   It originally started as a recording by Nathan Abshire during his years playing with Happy Fats and his Rayne-Bo Ramblers.  The basic origins of the tune come from a song called "One Step De Morse", recorded in 1935 for Bluebird.  Lawrence would re-work the tune, adding it's signature bridge section and naming it after a small town in Evangeline Parish. According to author Sara Le Menestrel:
The replacement of one title with another in order to make a personal contribution to an existing song is a time-honored practice.  
Recorded as "Mamou Two Step" (#601) it was one of George Khoury's earliest pressings with one of his most well known and best selling artist.   The 1950 recording included possibly Houston Fruge on guitar, Mitch David on fiddle, possibly Valmont "Junior" Benoit on steel guitar, and possibly Simon Shexneider on drums.  Shelton Manuel, who occasionally played drums with Lawrence recalled:
Crowley Daily Signal
Nov 18, 1949

Lawrence Walker was a very good musician.  He was precise in his music, especially on his tune-ups.  He made sure everything was tuned right, and we wore uniforms back then. We wore white shirts with ties.  We'd travel around in a station wagon. We had a local broadcast at KPLC.2 

After Khoury folded up his Cajun music venture, Lawrence recorded shortly with Swallow records before moving over to La Louisianne Records in 1961.   There, he modernized the tune, adding a bass guitar and twin fiddles to the song. Modern artists such as Wayne Toups gave the song new life by recording it in rock n roll style during the 1980s. 

Mamou Two Step - Khoury's - 1950

Mamou Two Step - La Louisianne - 1961

  1. Negotiating Difference in French Louisiana Music: Categories, Stereotypes ... By Sara Le Menestrel
  2. Accordions, fiddles, two step & swing: a Cajun music reader by Ryan A. Brasseaux, Kevin S. Fontenot
Release Info:
A Country Waltz 601-A Khoury's
B Mamou Two Step 601-B Khoury's

Louisiana Cajun Music Volume 4: From The 30s To The 50s (Old Timey, 1972)
Cajun Honky Tonk: The Khoury Recordings, Volume 1 (Arhoolie, 1995)
A Tribute to the Late, Great Lawrence Walker (La Louisianne, 1995, 2000)
Cajun Capers: Cajun Music 1928-1954 (Proper, 2005)
Essential Collection of Lawrence Walker (Swallow, 2010)

Sunday, March 18, 2018

"A Mosquito Ate Up My Sweetheart" - Segura Brothers

Columbia records rounded out the end of 1928 with a final call by advertising in the papers for Cajun musicians to bring their instruments to New Orleans for one last session.  In December, the Segura Brothers accepted the invitation.  It would be these recordings that would gain them the notoriety of Alan Lomax in 1934 and later, other folklorists at the Library of Congress.  As Lomax lamented:
The Segura Brothers and their band at White Oak near New Iberia, Louisiana, played this beautiful music.2,3  

Les maringouins, a tout mange ma belle,

Ils ont quitté de ses gros orteils,

Pour me faire des bouchons de liège,

Pour toucher les demi-bouteilles,

Et ton papa ressemble à un éléphant,

Et ta maman ressemble à une automobile,

Ton petit frère ressemble à un ouaouaron,

Ta petite soeur ressemble à un coin de banquette.

Given that this song seems to be a children's tune, the Seguras seem to borrow more Acadian traditional melodies compared to the African Creole influences in other melodies of the period.  Like other comparable tunes such as "Saute Crapaud", Cajun children had a fascination with songs involving animals and insects.    According to his daughter Lorraine:
I asked him, "Why did you make that?" He said, "Just for fun."  Everyone would laugh their heads off when he'd play it.4  
Dewey and Eddie Segura

Keep in mind, these lyrics can't be taken literally.  Cajuns found interesting and unique ways to describe someone's appearance.  In this case, the mosquitoes caused such bodily havoc, that the subject's family look deformed.   Even in Cajun French, the term "coin de banquette" is commonly used to refer to someone who is ugly.   A "demi-bouteille" is more of a small whiskey bottle, similar to a flask.   "Maringouins" and "ouaouaron" are both Native American words that Cajuns adopted from the Huron/Iriqouis and South American natives respectively.5  

The following year, Artelus Mistric recorded the melody as "You Belong To Me".  It's quite possible it may have been influential in Leo Soileau's 1937 "Valse D'Amour".

The mosquitoes ate my beauty,

They have left her big toes,

Seem as if they are plugging corks,

To use on half-bottles,

And your dad looks like an elephant,

And your mom looks like a car,

Your little brother looks like a bullfrog,

Your little sister looks like a bench seat.

In 1957, the tune was recorded during a field session for the Ethnic Folkways Library by Bobby Bourke from Avery Island entitled "Les Marigouins Ont Mange Ma Belle". Nathan Abshire was a huge fan of the Segura's music. He had borrowed their tune "My Sweetheart Run Away" for his "Valse de Bayou Teche". In 1949, "Mosquito" became popularly known as Nathan Abshire's "La Valse de Hollybeach". 

In 1987, right before his death, Dewey told his daughters that he wanted the Cajun French music heritage, which he had worked his lifetime to promote, to remain alive.  In keeping with those wishes, he gave his 78 RPM recordings to them stating, "I know you'll do something with them".1  In 1998, his recordings, along with other artifacts, were put on display at the Acadian Museum of Erath near his hometown.  He told his daughter Lorraine that "Mosquito" was his favorite song.

  1. Abbeville Meridional. 3-5-1999
  3. Traditional Music in Coastal Louisiana: The 1934 Lomax Recordings By Joshua Clegg Caffery
  4. Discussions with Lorraine S D
  5. Ye Yaille Chere by Raymond Francois
  6. Lyrics by Stephanie D
Release Info:
W147656-1 A Mosquito Ate Up My Sweetheart 40507-F Columbia 90007 Okeh
W147657-1 New Iberia Polka 40507-F Columbia 90007 Okeh

Louisiana Cajun Music Volume 1: First Recordings - The 1920's (Old Timey, 1970)
Cajun Louisiane 1928-1939 (Fremeaux, 2003)
Cajun Capers: Cajun Music 1928-1954 (Proper, 2005)
Cajun Country, Vol. 2, More Hits from the Swamp (JSP, 2005)

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

"Cherie Ba Sate (Little Sweetheart)" - Joe Manuel

Between 1946 and 1948, Harry Choates and his Melody Boys recorded dozens of tunes.  But after the break-up of his original group, the Manuel brothers, Joe and Abe, ventured out and formed their own groups with similar style.  Joe Manuel was born into a musical family north of Basile. Although his father, Adam, was an accordion player, Joe played Cajun music often without an accordion throughout his career. In the late 1940s, Abe and Joe Manuel who had performed with Leo Soileau and Harry Choates played more contemporary requests and styles dictated by the listeners and dancers.  Joe's band appeared on the radio on stations like KWSL in Lake Charles.  Following his tenure with Choates, he teamed with his brother Abe in the Rockola Playboys and as Sandy and Joe Austin in Corpus Christi, Texas.  But by 1949, he had his own group, The Louisiana Nighthawks.1
Joe Manuel

Hey, bassette, il y a pas longtemps, ouais, 
Tu m'as laissé, 'tit fille, pour t'en aller, 
Pour t'en aller, ouais, avec un autre, 
Avec un autre, ‘tit fille, j'mérite pas ça, vilains 

Hey, bassette, observes-toi bien, ouais, 
Tous les malfaits, ‘tit fille, ça tu m’as fait il y a pas longtemps,
Tu m'as quitté pour roulailler, ouais, 
Pour t'en aller, ‘tit fille, j'mérite pas ça.
Opelousas Daily World
May 20, 1949

The location for this recording is unknown however, it's quite possible given the sounds on the recording, it was held across the street from the Silver Star Club in Sulphur; the same place Hackberry Ramblers recorded for DeLuxe. During the session, he recorded a waltz he entitled "Chérie Bassette", misspelled as "Cherie Ba Sate". (#6039); not to be confused with the more well known recording by J.B. Fuselier.  His band comprised of probably Eddie Caldwell, Abe Manuel on fiddle, Dusty Rhodes on steel guitar, and Crawford Vincent on drums. 

Hey, short girl, over there, not long ago, yeah,

You left me, hey, little girl, you went away,

You went away, yeah, with another,

With another, little girl, I didn't deserve that, your naughty ways.

Hey, short girl, take a good look at yourself, yeah
All the terrible things, little girl, that you did to me, over there, not long ago,
You left me to go run around, yeah,
You went away, little girl, I didn't deserve that.

  1. Cajun Dancehall Heyday by Ron Yule
  2. Lyrics by Jordy A and Herman M
  3. NOTE: Possibly "Cherie Ba Sate" and "Creole Hop" are in reverse on 78 pressing.
Release Info:
D 946 Cherie Ba Sate 6039-A DeLuxe
D 947 Creole Hop 6039-B DeLuxe

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

"Les Tete Fille De Lafayette" - Happy Fats

Cajun country musician, Leroy "Happy Fats" Leblanc took chances with musicians filling in his group and Harry Choates was definitely one of them.   In 1940, Harry began playing with Leo Soileau and Happy in their Cajun band. He started playing with a borrowed fiddle. For the rest of his career he played with borrowed instruments and may never have actually owned his own. If he did, he would have bought it from a pawn shop and then later sold it to buy something to drink. Choates could play anything with strings, and occasionally, the piano. Once, when the strings on his bow were broken, he cut them off in a ceiling fan, rosined the wood of the bow and played the fiddle with that.4,5   

By February of 1940, Harry joined Happy in Dallas, Texas for his earliest recording session for Bluebird records.  In their ode to the 'belles' of Lafayette, the Rayne-Bo Ramblers expanded on the arranging style employed during their recording of "Lafayette" by emphasizing vocal harmonies, dramatic pauses, and fiddle and steel guitar breaks.1  According to author Ryan Brasseaux:

The Rayne-Bo Rambler release "Les Tit Fille de Lafayette" represents a high point during the Cajun swing era.  Happy Fats Leblanc and his string band combined French lyrics with Southern gospel harmonies and jazzy fiddle breaks.  The arrangement was sophisticated, urbane, and absolutely cosmopolitan, just like the musicians and culture from which the music sprang.1 
Rayne Tribune
Aug 23, 1940

Allons là-bas à Lafayette,

C’est pour voir les belles petites filles,

On va danser, on va traîner,

On va avoir les meilleurs temps de nos vies.

Tu connais, moi, je connais,

C’est la place pour moi à aller,

Hé, petite fille, après espérer,

Loin, là-bas, dans Lafayette.
The song "La Tete Fille Lafayette" (#2083) was led by two vocalists: Kaplan native and guitarist Stafford "Sandy" Lormand and Texas swing fiddle player Harry Choates. The rhythm section's bouncing 2/4 backbeat with Happy on bass, Harold Broussard on piano, Choates' cascading fiddle runs, and Ray Clark's bright steel guitar accents painted a jovial musical backdrop for the romantic lyrics to "Les Tit Fille De Lafayette," which describe a bachelor's paradise at a Lafayette dance.1  According to music author Michael Hurtt, 
"Les Tit Fille De Lafayette" was a song so swinging that when he bursts into the French vocal it’s a shock to the listener that it isn’t sung in English.3

Let's go over there to Lafayette,

It's to see the beautiful little girls,

We're going to dance, we're going to hang out,

We're going to have the best times of our lives.

You know, I know,

It's the place for me to go,

Hey, little girl, I hope,

Far away, over there, in Lafayette.
Daily Advertiser
Jun 12, 1940

More than anything else, Harry’s gig with the Ramblers combined all of the rural, bluesy overtones, advanced jazzy improvisations and sprightly musicianship that would come to define his unique style.3  

But Harry's stint with Happy didn't last.   His heavy drinking and unreliability was too much for Happy's style and Harry left after three months with the group.  During this time, the Ramblers would be featured on KVOL.  It was Lafayette's oldest radio station, opening in 1935 and featured Happy Fats on their program.   For a short while, a fiddler from Port Arthur, TX, named Billie Mack "Tiny" Moore, joined the group for a short stint.   Moore recalls playing during the KVOL years:
Then I went to Louisiana with a Cajun band by the name of "Happy Fats and His Rainbow Ramblers". We lived in Rayne, Louisiana and our radio program was in Lafayette, Louisiana on KVOL, I'll never forget it. I was over there for about a year. A steady job. A very low-paying job, but it didn't cost much to live. For instance, my room and board and laundry, I lived with his mother, Happy Fats' mother, Leroy LeBlanc was his real name. I lived with Mrs. LeBlanc, marvelous French cook, for two dollars a week. My room and board and laundry was two dollars a week. So if we made 15-20 dollars a week, we were still all right. I enjoyed that. We did play a lot of the old Cajun music which I wasn't too familiar with, and am still not even today. But with a swing feel I suppose. And a lot of the country songs back in those days.2 
Moore would later leave for Port Arthur joining the Jubileers swing band.
St. Joseph High School Gym, Rayne, LA, Jan 28, 1941
KVOL Hillbilly Jamboree
Billie Mack "Tiny" Moore, radio manager Robert Escudier,
radio host Alfred Bryant "A.B." Craft Jr,
Joseph "Pee Wee" Broussard, radio host Dick Haynes,
Ray "Professor" Clark, Stafford "Sandy" Lormand,
Leroy "Happy Fats" Leblanc

  1. Cajun Breakdown: The Emergence of an American-Made Music By Ryan Andre Brasseaux
  2. Eldon Shamblin, Tiny Moore, Dean McKinney Moore 1981 interview online
  5. "Poor Hobo: The Tragic Life of Harry Choates: A Cajun Legend" by Tim Knight
  6. Lyrics by Jordy A and Eric C
Release Info:
BS-048014-1 Les Tete Fille De Lafayette B-2083-A Bluebird
BS-048012-1 La Polka A Gilbert (Old Time Polka) B-2083-B Bluebird

Harry Choates: Five-Time Loser 1940-1951 (Krazy Kat, 1990)
Devil In The Bayou - The Gold Star Recordings (Bear Family, 2002)
Cajun Capers: Cajun Music 1928-1954 (Proper, 2005)

Friday, March 2, 2018

"Allon A Tassone (Let's Go To Tassone)" - Dennis McGee & Sady Courville

Dennis McGee is credited with transforming French Louisiana music into a high-level cultural expression, elevating it to the status of "art" music.  During these early years, his most well known partner was a fellow fiddle player named Sady Courville.   According to author Sara Le Menestrel, "reversing the stereotype of plain or simple music, this comparison is suggestive of the existence of geniuses within French Louisiana music, like in any other genre."  Sady recalls the first session:
There was an old man in the community who was always promoting different things.  He asked this man that I was working with if he thought we would like to make some records. He said, "I wonder if Dennis and Sady would go and make some records".  That was the old 78s at that time.  So [Wade] Fruge asked me and I asked Dennis.  He had said, "They would pay all your expenses" but that was it.  Just our expenses you know.4   

Allons! Aller à grand Tasso, mais, c’est pour voir les belles petites chères,

Allons! Aller, mais, à grand Tasso, mais, c’est pour voir les belles bouclés,

Allons! Aller à grand Tasso pour voir les belles bouclés.

Gardez-donc, mais, ces belles jeunes, mais, ils sont si bonnes, mais, les danseurs,
Ça danse bien, mais, ç’a la bonne vie, c’était joli, les chers p’tit cœurs,
Gardez-donc, mais, c’est si mignonne, malheureuse, dit "Bye bye".

Je suis après, mais, m’en aller, mais ouais, là-bas, mais, à Tasso,
C’est pour voir les belles p’tites, oh yé yaille, malheureuse,
C’est là je vas m’en aller, si loin, mais, c’est pour voir, mais, les belles filles.

Allons! Aller, mais, s’en aller, oh là-bas, mais, p’tit monde, mais malheureuse,
Je vas aller, mais, m’en aller à Tasso, c’est pour voir les chères mignonnes.
Sady Courville 1

Courville and McGee took a trip to New Orleans in March of 1929 and recorded eight tunes for Vocalion records including this song.   Sady continues:
And I had this old fiddle here. I had it in a flour sack.  I didn't even have a case for it. So we got on a train here one morning and went to New Orleans, somewhere in the French Quarter on the second floor, and we made those records.  We made about either or ten of them.4

"Allon A Tassone" (#5334) is an ode to the Louisiana community of Tasso, east of Eunice, Louisiana where Dennis would visit and see the beautiful curly haired girls.  The term "tasso" first appears in the Louisiana documentary record in 1859 as the name of a prairie community near present-day Duson, in the heart of the early Cajun ranching country.  In 1880, Goerge Washington Cable collected notes on the Cajun community census report.  His notes revealed "tassao" as a "jerked beef" near the Carencro area.2  Today, tasso is a type of spicy, heavily peppered and smoked pork found in Louisiana.  Unlike ham, it's not made from the hind leg of a hog, but rather the hog's shoulder. 

Let's go! Going to big Tasso, well, it's to see the beautiful little darlings,

Let's go! Going, well, to big Tasso, well, it's to see the beautiful curly haired ones,

Let's go! Going to big Tasso to see the beautiful curly haired ones.

Look at that, well, those beautiful young ones, well, they are so good, well, dancers,
That dance well, well, life is good, it's beautiful, dear little sweethearts,
Look at that, well, it's so cute, oh my, say "bye bye".

I have, well, went away, well yeh, over there, well, to Tasso,
It's to see the little beauties, oh ye yaille, oh my,
That's where I'm going to go, so far, well, it's to see , well, the beautiful girls.

Let's go! Going to, well, go away, oh over there, well, my little everything, well oh my,
I am going to, well, go away to Tasso, it's to see the darling cuties. 

Like several of McGee's originals, the timing of the music seems to run everywhere.  According to perspective given by a musician from California:

You play that Dennis McGee stuff, if you haven't heard it before, you can't guess why it's gonna have like three measures, four measures, two measures... or how it's going to go.  You basically have to learn it and memorize it or count it... Alot of times playing with accordion, it is sort of like "Okay..." But when you start playing the Dennis McGee stuff, it's more intellectually challenging because you have to figure out where the song's going all the time... He reminds me of Mozart.1

  1. Negotiating Difference in French Louisiana Music: Categories, Stereotypes ... By Sara Le Menestrel
  2. Stir the Pot: The History of Cajun Cuisine By Marcelle Bienvenu, Carl A. Brasseaux, Ryan A. Brasseaux
  3. DENNIS MCGEE - Complete Early Recordings. Yazoo 1994. Liner notes.
  4. Cajun and Creole Music Makers By Barry Jean Ancelet
The Complete Early Recordings of Dennis McGee (Yazoo, 1994)
Cajun: Rare & Authentic (JSP, 2008)