Monday, December 3, 2018

"Tu Le Du Po La Mam" - Lawrence Walker

Melodies played in the cultural-plexes of Vermilion and Iberia parishes produced different themes and titles in the areas around Calcasieu and Evangeline parish.  While the Segura Brother's were singing about mosquitoes and their family's appearances, further north, Cajun fiddler Dennis McGee and his musical family were using the same melody to sing about chasing women.  The Fawvor brothers, natives of Calcasieu, had originally recorded the tune in 1929 as "Valse De Creole".  McGee recalls:
I stayed with Theodore McGee and one day he said, "Well Mac, I believe I'll buy a violin for you.  I'm going to Ville Platte."  No strings!  There was nothing on it. He bought some strings and the pegs. He knew how to play a little. He tuned it up and played "Tout Les Deux Pour La Meme".  He said, "Now, you're on your own."  I said, "Not really!".  "Yes, here!" he said, "Go! Go play!". I went to my little room. I had a little room in back. I sat on the side of my bed and you know what? Before nightfall I played the waltz, "Tout Les Deux Pour La Meme".  Oh yes, I learned it during the day.2  
Crowley Daily Signal
July 2, 1959

Tous les deux pour la même,
Ni moi ni toi qui l'aura,
Tous les deux pour la même,
Ni moi ni toi qui l'aura,
C'est pas la peine (que) tu me dis non,
T'auras toujours pour me dire oui,
C'est pas la peine (que) tu me chagrins,
T'auras toujours pour me marier.

J'ai parti de la maison,
Z-avec ma jogue au plombeau,
Le pistolet dans ma poche,
Et ma vie dans ma main,
J'ai parti pour te chercher,
T'amener-z-à la maison,
C'est pas la peine tu me dis non,
T'auras toujour pour me dire oui.

Lawrence Walker

Songs like this which influenced McGee were eventually picked up by Lawrence Walker in which he recorded the song for George Khoury in 1950.  The title was a corrupted form of the phrase "tous les deux pour la même" inferring that the singer and another are "both going after the same woman".  It's possible that Lawrence had Mitch David on fiddle, Valmont ‘Junior’ Benoit on steel guitar, and probably Simon Shexneider on drums. 

Both of us for the same,
Neither me nor you will have her,
Both of us for the same,
Neither me nor you will have her,
It's not worth you telling me no,
You have to say yes, forever,
It's not worth you hurting me,
You have to marry me, forever.

I left the house,
With my saddle horn jug,
The gun in my pocket,
And my life in my hands,
I left to come get you,
Take you to my house,
There's no need to tell me no,
You have to say yes, forever.

That same year, while Lawrence was using the Fawver song for his recording of "Tu Le Du Po La Mam", Nathan Abshire was using the Segura song for his own song "La Valse De Holly Beach".  According to musician Johnnie Allan:
Lawrence was a big factor in French music, he and Uncle Joe [Falcon] were playing music along about the same time. His songs were all the sad melodic type songs, he was a very good accordion player, very well known in this area. I remember I played steel guitar with him for six years and the crowds were just tremendous almost everywhere we played.1

  1. South to Louisiana: The Music of the Cajun Bayous By John Broven
  2. Ye Yaille Chere by Raymond Francois
Release Info:
A Tu Le Du Po La Mam | Khoury's 607-A
B Ton Papa Ta Mama Ma Sta Da All | Khoury's 607-B


Cajun Honky Tonk: The Khoury Recordings, Volume 1 (Arhoolie, 1995)
A Tribute To The Late Great Lawrence Walker (La Louisiane, 1995)
A Legend At Last (Swallow, 1983)
Essential Collection of Lawrence Walker (Swallow, 2010)

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