Monday, April 12, 2021

"Round Up Hop" - Miller's Merrymakers

As the recording industry began to abandon the accordion-led sound in 1937 for the more palatable and marketable string-band sound, fiddle players like J.B. Fuselier arrived on the scene eager to record their stomps, hops, breakdowns and waltzes.  His opportunities increased when he decided to leave his childhood home town and move further south to where dance-halls dominated HWY 90. 

Bethoven Miller was born in the Jennings area near Lake Arthur and picked up the banjo as his primary instrument.   Fuselier was discovered by Miller when J.B. moved from Oberlin to the area in the mid 1930s.   Still in grade school, the sixteen-year-old banjo player invited J.B. to play in his Merrymakers band.  Together, they traveled to New Orleans with Preston Manuel to record their string band rendition of the Angelas Lejune song "Perrodin Two Step" entitled "Round-Up Hop" (#2014).  Their recording closely resembled the fiddle-led melody most apparent in Happy Fats recording of "Rayne Breakdown" and the Jolly Boys' self-entitled "Jolly Boys Breakdown". 

Not much is known about Bethoven after the Bluebird recording sessions.  As soon as he was eligible, he left his residence in Elton, Louisiana and joined the US Army.  By 1940, he was stationed at Fort Jay.  He served throughout WWII and decided to remain in the New York area.  He re-enlisted in 1945 manufacturing "electrical machinery and accessories".  After his military career, he retired in New York. 

Release Info:
BS-07236-1 Ma Jolie Noir So | Bluebird B-2014-A
BS-07235-1 Round-Up Hop | Bluebird B-2014-B

Cajun String Bands 1930's: Cajun Breakdown (Arhoolie, 1997)

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