Monday, February 25, 2019

"Chere Vere Naig" - Clopha "Shuk" Richard & Marie Falcon

Shuk Richard's Louisiana Aces was another popular band on radio and live appearances when this 1951 session took place.  Clopha “Shuk” (Shug) Richard was born in Rayne and it is believed that he learned to play the Cajun accordion by ear with his initial lessons coming from his mother, Ozia Breaux Richard. After working in the rice fields on farms near Rayne, he moved to Lake Charles in the 1920s.2  Marie Falcon was the band's added attraction and one of the very few female artists to appear during the era.  She came from Cajun music's first family, with the recordings of Joe and Cleoma Falcon. Two of Joe's nieces, Marie and Helen, became musicians.1    

Cher vieux nègre, après n’emmener pour te voir,

(A venir te)* de m'voir avant d'mourir,

Aussi loin avec moi aujourd'hui,

Moi, je peux p'us m’empêcher, ouais, d'pleurer.

Moi-même, j'connais quoi tu viens pour te faire soigner,
Moi, je peux p'us m’empêcher, ouais, d'pleurer
Prends courage, à ton vieux nègre pour te voir, 
(Venir te)* pour une autre fois, donc, moi, j'connais.

Aussi loin avec moi, aujourd'hui,
Aujourd'hui, m’empêcher, ouais, d'pleurer,
Comment j'vais venir, moi, te revoir, jolie cœur,
(Venir te pour)* une autre fois que avant d'mourir.

Eddie Richard, Jay Dartez,
Shuk Richard on accordion,
Marie Solange Falcon on guitar,
Jack Brock (MC)

Together, Marie and Shuk Richard recorded "Chere Vere Naig" (#622) corruption of the French phrase, "chère vieux nègre") as an ode to Cleoma's melody "La Valse Crowley".   The song is a high intensity waltz made more effective as Eddie Duhon 'seconds' her vocal on fiddle.1    The group rounded out with Crawford Vincent on drums and Shuk on accordion.  Marie handles the vocals on all four songs from the session. She strums her guitar stridently and sings at the top of her voice as loud as any male Cajun singer.  However, these sessions made very little impact on her as a musician.  Author John Broven remembers:
I once interviewed Marie... I kept trying to convince her that she was breaking new ground as a Cajun woman singer but she wouldn't have it, treating it all matter-of-factly.1  

My dear old friend, take me to see you,

(Come and) see me before I die,

So far away from me, today,

I can not stop myself, yeah, from crying.

I, myself, I know that you're coming to be cared by me,
I can not stop myself, yeah, from crying,
Have courage, your old friend sees you,
(Coming) another time, therefore, I know.

So far away from me, today,
Today, stop me, yeah, from crying,
How will I come see you again, pretty sweetheart?
(Coming) another time, before I die.

  1. Cajun Honky Tonk: The Khoury Recordings, Vol. 2. Liner notes.
  2. Cajun Dancehall Heyday by Ron Yule
  3. Lyrics by Stephane F

Release Info:
-A Madame Entelle Two Step | Khoury's KH-622-A
-B Chere Vere Naig | Khoury's KH-622-B

Cajun Honky Tonk: The Khoury Recordings Vol. 2 (Arhoolie, 2013)

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

"La Valse De Te Maurice" - Terry Clement

The Clement Brothers band have been making wonderful Cajun music since the late 1940s. They were on the scene playing the same clubs in the same time period that so many of our "better known" heroes from the 50s dance-hall circuit were active, such as Lawrence Walker, Austin Pitre, Iry LeJeune, Aldus Roger, etc. Their great friend and hero, Nathan Abshire, helped spark a revival of accordion music in the post-war years with a regular engagement at The Pine Grove Club, a dance-hall situated just a short way down the road from the Clement home.1  Terry recalled their first show in 1949:
When we were kids, we called ourselves the Rhythmic Five and patterned our music after the music of Nathan Abshire.2  
Marshall Arceneaux

From Evangeline, Louisiana, this family has deep roots on the southwest prairies. Ancestors made their way to Louisiana from Marseille, France in the early 1800s, settling in the Grand Coteau area of the old Attakapas country before moving on to present day environs near Jennings. On fiddle and accordion, their father Laurent played the Louisiana French folk music that became the basis of what we know these days as Cajun music, passing on to his sons his considerable knowledge and talents.1  

C'est nous autres, qu'est si joyeux,
C'est nous autres, qu'aime autant, mais, la musique,
Pour un bon temps, ouais, j'ai courtisé*,
Venez nous rejoindre, ouais, là bas, chez 'tit Maurice.

C'est nous autres, ouais, qu'est si joyeux,
C'est nous autres, qu'un bon temps, mais, s'amuser,
Pour z-un bon temps, ouais, venez boire la bière, 
Venez nous rejoindre, là bas, chez 'Tit Maurice.

Ronnie Goudreau

The group borrowed the tune as a cover of Oran "Doc" Guidry's recording of "Le Nuevo Tit Maurice".   It was re-recorded by Happy Fats for RCA during a 1946 session.   By the time Terry recorded it in 1952, his band featured himself on accordion; Purvis Clément on fiddle, Marshall Arceneaux on vocals and guitar, Ronnie Goudreaux on drums and Jerry Dugas on steel guitar.   Ronnie got his start playing big band dance music during the 40s with the group Sentimental Scholars and went onto playing with Randy and the Rockets years later. 

We're the ones, who are so happy,

We're the ones, who so love, well, the music,

For a good time, yeah, I court (chase the ladies)*,
Come join us, over there, at the 'Tit Maurice.

We're the ones, who are so happy,
We're the ones, who have a good time, well, having fun,
For a good time, yeah, come and drink beer,
Come join us, over there, at the 'Tit Maurice.

The Clements would be part of a field recording session done by Dr. Harry Oster where the group would lay down some of the earliest Cajun recordings ever between 1956 and 1958.   Austin Pitre, who also recorded during the Oster recordings, also used the melody for "Chatatinia Waltz".  

Linus Elmer Simar, Purvis Clement, Terry Clement,
Ronald E Goodreau, Floyd Bergeaux

  2. Cajun Dancehall Heyday by Ron Yule
  3. Photo by Aaron I
  4. Lyrics by Stephane F

Release Info:
-A La Valse De Te Maurice | Feature 1090-A
-B Diggy Liggy Lo | Feature 1090-B

Acadian All Star Special - The Pioneering Cajun Recordings Of J.D. Miller (Bear, 2011)

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

"One Step De Laccissine" - Nathan Abshire & Rayne-Bo Ramblers

The first introduction to Cajun blues in Louisiana came from the Afro-Creoles that created some of the first Cajun standards in Louisiana.  Other musicians took note, copying their style, and inserting their own soul into the music.  Nathan Abshire was especially taken with the spirited playing and singing of Creole accordionist/singer Amédé Ardoin, and Ardoin often invited Abshire to play with him. 
Every Saturday we used to go to John Foreman’s saloon. I’d see Amédé Ardoin coming down the way. He’d say, ‘Abshire, you’ve got to help me tonight.’ I’d say. ‘Amédé, I can’t help you.’ ‘Oh yeah,’ he’d say, ‘We’re both going to play. I’ll play for awhile, you play for awhile.’ I’d say, ‘I don’t feel much like going Amédé.’
Nathan Abshire
But I’d go and we’d sure make some music. As far as that goes, we made some great music.1

During his very first recording session, in 1935, along side Happy Fats' Rayne-Bo Ramblers, the team of Norris Savoy on fiddle and Warnes "Tee-Neg" Schexnyder on guitar traveled to New Orleans to record a tune named after a small town in Louisiana: "One Step De Laccissine" (#2178). Typical of national recording labels, they rarely cared about proper names; misspelling Nathan's name as "Nason Absher" and Lacassine as "Laccissine".  In standard Abshire style, Nathan used the accordion to foreshadow his interest in Cajun blues.  According to author Ryan Brasseaux:
The "One Step de Laccissine", for example, is a vibrant romp that flirts with the melody that would become "Pine Grove Blues".2

  2. Cajun Breakdown: The Emergence of an American-Made Music By Ryan Andre Brasseaux
Release Info:
BS-94412-1 One Step De Laccissine | Bluebird B-2178 A
BS-94413-1 Le Valse De Boutte Dechuminen | Bluebird B-2178 B

Le Gran Mamou: A Cajun Music Anthology (CMF, 1990)
Cajun Country, Vol. 2, More Hits from the Swamp (JSP, 2005)
Cajun Capers: Cajun Music 1928-1954 (Proper, 2005)

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

"Le Midland Two Step" - Amede Ardoin

Amede Ardoin was one of the first African-American accordionists to make a "French" record. He was a popular performer and creative improvisational singer, respected by blacks and whites alike. His vocal and playing styles have influenced most Cajun and Creole musicians since then. He recorded many sides, with Dennis McGee on fiddle, and later in the mid-1930s on his own.1 Based on the slower Angelas Lejeune's "La Valse Du Texas", Ardoin took the slow tempo waltz and created a fast-paced two-step from the melody.

Oh, toi, catin, ô tous mes parents,

Oh, moi, je connais, ça veut pas me voir chez toi.

Oh, toi 'tite fille, comment ça se fait avec toi,
Tu me fais tant de la misère sans jamais je t'ai rien fait,
Oh, je m'en vas en quelque part, ouais, pour mon je te voir,
Ouais, pour moi, je te voir, mais, tes parents veulent pas que mon je te vois.

Oh, ye yaille, toi, catin, ça peut passer,
Tu sais, chez ma marraine, moi, j’avoir au moins 5 sous,
Oh, moi, je m'en vas, ô, j'ai pas d'argent,
Oh, mon papa et ma maman m'en a pas donné.

Oh, ye yaille, catin, éoù c'est je vas aller,
Oh, pour mon te voir toutes les heures dimanche matin,
Oh, moi, j'allais, là-bas éoù toi, t'etais,
Moi, je m'aperçois, mais, ta maman veut pas me voir.
Amede Ardoin

In 1934, record mogul, Jack Kapp, who had recently left Brunswick Records that year, quietly pulled some of their previous recording artists to record for a new label named Decca.  He convinced former Brunswick artists such as Bing Crosby, the Mills Brothers, Guy Lombardo and Amede Ardoin to sign with the fledgling label.  During a solo trip to New York City, Kapp invited both the Falcons and Ardoin to their main studio where Ardoin waxed the quick paced song, "Le Midland Two Step" (#17003) as an ode to the small farming community in Acadia Parish.   In an agriculturally-dominated society, if one wasn't farming, they were considered lazy.   Fiddle player Canray Fontenot and his father remembered growing up playing music with Amede.  
Amede, he was the lazy type of man. He was the baby of the family.  He didn't like to work. He was always playing. He'd go somewhere if he knew someone was making a big boucherie, he go over there and sit down with his accordion, and play there.  They'd feed him, maybe give him a piece of meat to take home to give to one of his brothers.2     

Oh, you little doll, oh, my parents,

Oh, I know, they don't want to see me at your place.

Oh, you little girl, why have you done that?
You've made me so miserable without ever doing anything to you,
Oh, I'm going to go somewhere, yeah, so I can see you,
Yeah, so I can see you, however, your parents do not want me to see you.

Oh, ye yaille, you little doll, that passes by,
You know, at my godmother's place, I have at least five cents.
Oh, I'm going away, oh, I have no money,
Oh, my dad and my mom did not give me any.

Oh, ye yaille, little doll, where am I going to go?
Oh, for I see you all the time on Sunday mornings,
Oh, I'm going to go over there, where you were,
I realize, well, your mother does not want to see me.

  1. J'ai Ete Au Bal Vol. 1.  Arhoolie CD 331.  Liner notes.
  3. Lyrics by Marc C
Release Info:
39196-B Le Midland Two Step (The Midland Two Step) | Decca 17003 A
39204-A Valse De Mon Vieux Village (My Old Home Town Waltz) | Decca 17003 B

I'm Never Comin' Back: The Roots of Zydeco (Arhoolie, 1995)
CAJUN-Rare & Authentic (JSP, 2008)
Mama, I'll Be Long Gone : The Complete Recordings of Amede Ardoin, 1929-1934 (Tompkins Square, 2011)