Tuesday, August 3, 2021

"Madame Donnez Moi Les" - Angelas Lejeune & Ernest Fruge

Petite Ou Gros!   The famous Creole melody that inspired so many covers, most notably "Les Flammes D'Enfer" in the later years of Cajun repertoire.   The original tune, "Adieu Rosa", would be covered in it's raw form by Dennis McGee.  Other musicians such as Joe Falcon, Leo Soileau, Moise Robin and Douglas Bellard all created their own renditions of this bye-gone song. It's about a love-interest begging a mother for either of her daughters' hands in marriage.  Either the skinny one or the large one—it doesn't matter. 

Ah, ye yaille, la malheureuse.

Aye, ye yaille. 

Madame donnez-moi les, ouais, 
La petite ou bien la grosse, 
La petite elle est mignonne, 
La grosse, elle est si belle.

Aye ye yaille, petite.

Madame donnez-moi les, ouais, 
La petite ou bien la grosse à cause, 
Si j'en ai une, 
C'est tout que moi je voudrais.

Quitte-moi, vous dire, 
Comment j'veux t'croire,
J'en aurais pas une,
Ni la petite ni bien la grosse,

Falloir dire, ouais madame, 
Moi j'vas voler la grosse, 
Vas pas la garde la belle,
Ça m'lesse tout seul.

Ah, ye yaille, la malheureuse.


Richard Voynow

Angelas' first session was produced by Brunswick's A&R representative Richard Voynow.   A jazz pianist and composer for The Wolverine Orchestra, Voynow dabbled in finding artists for the record label.  During a lengthy expedition into the south, he supervised Lejeune, Fruge and McGee's 1929 session with several area musicians from the Opelousas area.  By November of 1930, the label held their final session in New Orleans in which Angelas and Ernest were waxing another set of songs to disc.  For this recording, "Madame Donnez Moi Les" (#527), Angelas put down his accordion and let his vocals ride along Ernest's fiddle melody.  It's one of the few recordings that allow listeners to hear Fruge's fiddling talent dominate and it would be the duo's very last recording ever. 

Oh, ye yaille, miserable woman.

Oh, ye yaille.

Madam, give them to me, yeah, 
The little one or the big one,
The little one, she is cute,
The big one, she is so beautiful.

Oh, ye yaille, little one.

Madam, give them to me, yeah,
The little one or the big one because,
I have to have one, 
That's all I want.

Leave me, you said, 
How I wanted to believe you,
(Now), I won't get one,
Neither the small one nor the big one.

Have to say, yeah madam,
I'm going to steal the big one,
Don't protect the beauty,
It hurts me to be alone.

Oh, ye yaille, miserable woman.

The melody influenced many other pre-war Cajun tunes such as Joe Falcon's "Acadian One Step", Leo Soileau's "Demain C'Est Pas Dimanche" and Bixy Guidry's "Ella A Plurer Pour Revenir". Leo would rework the song in the 1930s as "Petit Ou Gros", made famous by Joe Bonsall in the 1960s.  

  1. Lyrics by Stephane F and Herman M
Release Info:
NO-6727 Valse A Aristil Creduer | Brunswick 577
NO-6728 Madame Donnez Moi Les | Brunswick 577

Let Me Play This For You: Rare Cajun Recordings (Tompkins, 2013)

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