Friday, August 13, 2021

"Blues Negres" - Cleoma Falcon

This article may contain potentially offensive language, including obscenities and ethnic or racial slurs. In the interest of making this material fully available to scholars, we have chosen not to censor this material.

In the 1920s and 1930s, Cajun musicians could not avoid the influence of the blues sound heard throughout the south.   So much so, many of them recorded at least one tune with some blues influence.   A great example is the tune by Cleoma Breaux Falcon entitled "Blues Negres (Niggar Blues)" on Decca (#17004).   According to Dr. Barry Ancelet, it would be the influence of Afro-Creole and Native American sounds that makes Cajun music sound so different than the Acadian music of Nova Scotia.  

Oh, pour tu m'aimer,
Tu connais j'mérite pas donc tout ça, toi t'après faire,
C’est pitié a la maison, moi tout seul, j'ai p'us personne, mais, p'us m'aimer,
Moi j'm'en va, moi tout seul, comme un pauvre malheureuse.

Écoute-moi tout les conseils de les autres,
Tu connais moi j't'aime, bon Dieu sait, chère 'tite fille,
Tu connais j'mérite pas tout ça toi t'après faire.
Moi j'm'en va, moi tout seul, à la maison, j'ai p'us personne, mais, p'us m'aimer,
Pourquoi moi j'ai des regrets quoi toi t'après faire?

Recorded in 1934 in New York City, "Blues Negres", i
t shares similarities with a song called "Bull Doze Blues" by Henry Thomas in 1928 for Vocalion.  It's loosely related to the old minstrel song, composed in 1912 by Leroy “Lasses” White entitled "Nigger Blues", which was one of the first blues songs published.  In addition to the importance of the "Nigger Blues" for being one of the first published blues songs and written by one of the first composers of twelve-bar blues, it was the first whose lyrics were in what would become the standard blues form used by the 1920s vaudeville performers and found in the folk blues songs collected and recorded in the 1930s.3  

Whoa, how you loved me,
You know, so I don't deserve all that you've done,
It's pitiful at home, I'm all alone, I have no one, well, no one to love me,
I'm going, all alone, like a poor miserable woman.

Listening to all the advice of others,
You know I love you, the good Lord knows, dear little girl,
You know I don't deserve all that you've done,
I am going, all alone, to the house, I have no one, well, no one to love me,
Why do i have such regret for what you are doing?

Blues arrangements and one-steps acted as a cultural weather vane indicating the direction of commercial Cajun music.  Cleoma would go on to record other bluesy tunes such as "Ouvrez Grand Ma Fenetre" and "En Route Chez Moi". 

  1. Against the Tide, the story of the Cajun people of Louisiana by Zachary Richard
  2. Cajun Breakdown : The Emergence of an American-Made Music By Ryan Andre Brasseaux
  4. Lyrics by Herman M
Release Info:
39208-A Soucis Quand J'Etais Gamin (Troubles When I Was A Boy) | Decca 17004 A
39207-A Blues Negres (Nigger Blues) | Decca 17004 B

Presents Hot Women Singers (Kein & Aber, 2003)

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)