Friday, April 30, 2021

"Ain't No More" - Texas Melody Boys

Robert William "Pee Wee" Pitre was one of the single session Cajun recording artist of the early 1950s.  A native of Kinder, Louisiana, he was a radio entertainer and accordion player in Eunice.  He moved to Texas at some point after WWII and formed a group he referred to as the Texas Melody Boys. 

His "group" recorded a popular Amede Breaux tune called "Vas Y Carrement", more commonly referred to as "Step It Fast".   In 1949, Nathan Abshire tied lyrics to the song which Pitre borrowed for his title "Ain't No More" (#500).  It's about The recording is quite fast paced and a bit confusing aurally.  While some hear multiple musicians, researcher and author Lyle Ferbrache believes we're hearing the sounds of a one-man-band.  He explains:
It seems the Texas Melody Boys were just Pee Wee singing and playing the accordion and a drum! I love the record and play it often and that’s all I hear.1  

Eunice News
Nov 29, 1946

Sadly, not much is known about Pee Wee.  He moved to Pasadena Texas in 1954 shortly after the recording and died in 1960. 


  1. Post War Cajun 78 RPM Nuggets - Blues & Rhythm. 2014

Release Info:
Ain’t No More | Khoury's 500 A
Old Time Waltz | Khoury's 500 B

Cajun Honky Tonk: The Khoury Recordings, Volume 1 (Arhoolie, 1995)

Thursday, April 22, 2021

"Cata Houla Breakdown" - Jolly Boys of Lafayette

Joe Fabacher was a talented accordion player that hailed from Acadia Parish. He began his band in 1935, modeled after other successful area groups such as the Hackberry Ramblers, the Dixie Ramblers, and the Rayne-Bo Ramblers, and Leo Soileau's Aces.  He kicked off his recording career with his very first recording done in Dallas, Texas.

Decca's A&R man, David Kapp, made pilgrimages through the south in areas such as Memphis, New Orleans, Dallas, San Antonio and Charlotte. He stated 
"In Dallas we got a lot of Cajuns coming in. I've seen some of those artists drive 500 miles in tumble-down cars to get an audition".1  

Joseph Fabacher,
Leon "Crip" Credeur

By 1937, Decca invited the group, composed of Leon "Crip" Credeur on fiddle and vocals, Joseph Fabacher on accordion and Francis "Red" Fabacher on guitar, to Dallas where they performed the "Cata Houla Breakdown" (#17029) in the Adolphus Hotel.  Named after a small town east of Lafayette called Catahoula, it featured the rarely heard accordion talent of Joseph Fabacher.   It was a rendition of the Breaux Brother's "Le One Step A Martin".  When he wasn't playing music, he was busy managing venues such as Rene Guilbeau's Dance Hall in Carencro.  His brother Francis played guitar and during much of the late 1930s, the two had similar bands that performed in the same dance-hall circles.   

The Jolly Boys continued to play in places such as A. Romaire's Hall, Voorhies Roof Garden, Dixie Bar Dance Hall in Iota, Welcome Club in Crowley, Lucky Star Dance Hall, and the Armory Hall.   Songs like "Cata Houla Breakdown" became better known as Aldus Roger's "Crowley Two Step". 

Daily Advertiser
July 14, 1939


  1. Billboard Magazine. Hotel Room Recording Studios. Apr 3, 1971.

Release Info:
61912-A Cata Houla Breakdown | Decca 17029-A
61919-A La Valse De Lafayette | Decca 17029-B

CAJUN-Rare & Authentic (JSP, 2008)

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)

Monday, April 5, 2021

"Casa Blanca Waltz" - Nathan Abshire

Nathan Abshire made his first recording debut in 1935 alongside Happy Fats' string band.   He resurrected his recording career in 1949 with his famed "Pine Grove Blues" recording which carried him through the 1950s.  As Nathan Abshire's recording career with Lake Charles record salesman George Khoury was winding down, so was George's interest in Cajun music.   By 1956, the band continued to market itself as the Pine Grove Boys and found themselves covering popular tunes to keep the crowds coming.  Named after the small Casa Blanca Bar in Westlake, Louisiana, "Casa Blanca Waltz" (#647) was an ode to this short lived place that Nathan and his band frequented.  

Eh, 'tite monde, tu m'a quitté, 
Tu m'a quitté, pour t'en aller avec un autre,
Eh, chère, ça m'fais du mal,
Je parti mon aller sur les lames.

Eh, 'tite monde, c'est pas la peine,
Si jamais quoi te reviens pour m'rejoindre,
Mon je vu peux jamais, tous t'es voir, catin,
Les paroles tu m'a dis sont trop dur.

Eh, 'tite monde, tu m'a dis,
Pouvez p'us jamais veux, mais, te m'rejoindre,
Eh, catin, j'ai pris ça,
J'ai pris ça c'est dur que j'ai parti.

Eh, 'tite monde, j'ai parti,
Moi aller, sur le lames dans les misères,
Aujourd'hui, 'tite monde, tu voudrais mon cœur,
T'es trop tard, mon je veux plus jamais tu voir.

His band in 1956 consisted of possibly Jake Miere on steel guitar, Ernest Thibodeaux on guitar, Cleveland Deshotel on bass, and Shelton Manuel on drums.  Fiddler and vocalist Dewey Balfa, relatively unknown at this time, helped the band recreate the old classic melody entitled "Over The Waves".  It had entered the Cajun dance-hall repertoire eight years prior with Oklahoma Tornadoes fiddler, Floyd Leblanc.  It's popularity peaked in south Louisiana in the 1960s as Joe Bonsall's closing song each night. 

Nathan Abshire with the Balfas

Hey, my little world, you left me,
You left me, to go away with another,
Hey, dear, that makes me feel bad,
I left to go over the waves.

Hey, my little world, it's not worth it,
If you ever come back to join me,
I'll never ever see you, pretty doll,
The words you told me are too harsh. 

Hey, my little world, you told me,
You could never want, well, to join me,
Hey, little doll, I took it,
I took it hard, therefore, I left.

Hey, my little world, I left,
I'm going over the waves into misery,
Today, my little world, you would like my heart,
You're too late, I never want to see you again.

Eunice News
June 22, 1961

The dance-hall era of Cajun music began to fade in the late 1950s.  To keep the music going, Nathan purchased a nightclub in 1960 with Dorselee Deshotel called the Rainbow Club in Basile, Louisiana.  With the arrival of rock and roll, Cajun music as a whole had little chance of being heard much beyond Louisiana until 1964, when fiddler Dewey Balfa very reluctantly agreed to appear at the Newport Folk Festival. To his great surprise, he received not scorn but adulation from the huge audience, and he returned home convinced that Cajun music was not something just for the old folks back home, but potentially had great international appeal.  Nathan would go on to record more tunes with the Balfa Brothers for several years afterwards.


  3. Lyrics by Herman M

Release Info:
647-A Lu Lu Boogie | Khoury's KH-647-A
647-B Casa Blanca Waltz | Khoury's KH-647-B