It took decades for the music of our distant “French” cousins – long hidden away in the bayous of southern Louisiana – to finally leave its home. It aroused interest with some of the curious and then conquered the USA. Joyful or nostalgic, convivial and given rhythm by accordions, these tunes seduced music-lovers worldwide, and today the music is recognised as part of the world’s heritage. The highly colourful saga of Cajun is told here by Jean Buzelin, who selected the best recordings of the period.
CD 1 - 1946-1954 : HAPPY, DOC & THE BOYS : ALLONS DANSER COLINDA • HARRY CHOATES : JOLIE BLONDE • OKLAHOMA TORNADOES : LA PRISON • HAPPY, DOC, & LOUIS NOEL : LA CRAVATE • FLOYD LEBLANC : YOU MUSTN’T CRY • HARRY CHOATES : CAJUN HOP • EDDIE SHULER : JAMBALAYA BOOGIE • IRY LEJEUNE : LOVE BRIDGE WALTZ • NATHAN ABSHIRE : PINE GROVE BLUES • LEE SONNIER & LAURA BROUSSARD : WAR WIDOW WALTZ • AUSTIN PITRE : PRISON TWO STEP • LAWRENCE WALKER : RENO WALTZ • AMÉDÉE BREAUX : HEY! MOM! • ALDUS ROGER : THE LAFAYETTE PLAYBOY’S WALTZ • IRY LEJEUNE : TECHE SPECIAL • NATHAN ABSHIRE & WILL KEGLEY : LA VALSE DE BÉLISAIRE • HARRY CHOATES : POOR HOBO • CHUCK GUILLORY & PAPA CAIRO : GRAND TEXAS • VINCENT & CAGLEY : LAWTELL TWO STEP • ÉLISÉE DESHOTEL & DEWEY BALFA : LA VALSE DU BAMBOCHEUR • VIN BRUCE : FILLE DE LA VILLE • LINK DAVIS : GRAND MAMOU • GENE RODRIGUE & THE BAYOU BOYS : JOLIE FILLE • SHUCK RICHARD & MARIE FALCON : LE CÔTÉ FAROUCHE DE LA VIE • AMAR DEVILLIER & WALLACE LAFLEUR : DURALD TWO STEP • PEE WEE BROUSSARD : THE WALTZ THAT CARRIED ME TO THE GRAVE.
CD 2 - 1955-1962 : ALEX BROUSSARD : LE SUD DE LA LOUISIANE • JIMMY C. NEWMAN : BLUE DARLIN’ • NATHAN ABSHIRE & YVONNE LEBLANC : MAMA ROSIN • LEROY BROUSSARD : LEMONADE SONG • SIDNEY BROWN : PISTACHE À TANTE NANA • ROBERT BERTRAND : DRUNKARD’S TWO STEP • AUSTIN PITRE & CABRIE MENIER : LA VALSE D’OPELOUSAS • TERRY CLÉMENT : LA CHANSON DU MARDI GRAS • ALDUS ROGER : CROWLEY TWO STEP • SHIRLEY BERGERON : J’AI FAIT MON IDÉE • CLEVELAND CROCHET : SUGAR BEE • HAPPY FATS & ALEX BROUSSARD : GABRIEL • BILL MATTE : PARLEZ-VOUS L’ FRANÇAIS ? • LAWRENCE WALKER : YEUX NOIRS • J.B. FUSILIER : FAUT PAS QUE TU M’OUBLIES • JO-EL SONNIER : P’TITS YEUX BLEUS • RAMBLING ACES : TWO STEP DU VIEUX TEMPS • BADEAUX & D.L. MÉNARD : LA VALSE DE JOLLY ROGERS • MAURICE BARZAS : EUNICE TWO STEP • LOUIS CORMIER : MARRIED LIFE • ADAM HÉBERT : I’D LIKE TO KNOW • RUSTY & DOUG KERSHAW : LOUISIANA MAN • CAJUN TRIO + ONE : CAJUN TWIST (LE TORTILLAGE) • DORIS MATTE : LES TRACES DE MON BOGHEI • BUCK MOUHART : CAJUN LAND TWIST • BADEAUX & D.L. MÉNARD : LA PORTE EN ARRIÈRE.
DIRECTION ARTISTIQUE : JEAN BUZELIN
PisteTitleMain artistAutorDurationRegistered in
1Allons danser ColindaHappy Doc And The BoysMusique Traditionelle00:02:561947
2Jolie blondeHarry ChoatesBreaux Brothers00:02:481946
3La prisonThe Oklahoma TornadoesMusique Traditionelle00:02:471947
4La cravateHappy Doc And Louis NoëlMusique Traditionelle00:02:201947
5'You Mustn''t Cry'Floyd LeblancFloyd Leblanc00:02:311951
6Cajun HopHarry ChoatesLeo Soileau00:02:361947
7Jambalaya BoogieEddie ShulerEddie Shuler00:02:441950
8Love Bridge WaltzIry LejeuneIry Lejeune00:02:521948
9Pine Grove BluesNathan AbshireNathan Abshire00:02:471949
10War Widow WaltzLee Sonnier & Laura BroussardLaura Broussard00:02:531949
11Prison Two StepAustin PitreAustin Pitre00:02:481948
12Reno WaltzLaurence WalkerLaurence Walker00:02:511951
13Hey MomAmédée BreauxAmelie Breaux00:02:311952
14'The Lafayette Playboy''s Waltz'Aldus RogerAldus Roger00:02:461949
15Teche SpecialIry LejeuneIry Lejeune00:02:441949
16La valse de BélisaireNathan Abshire & Will KegleyTraditionnel00:03:111949
17Poor HoboHarry ChoatesTraditionnel00:02:431947
18Grand TexasChuck Guillory & Papa CairoJulius Lamperez00:02:551949
19Lawtell Two StepVincent & CagleyCrawford Vincent00:02:301950
20La valse du bambocheurElise Deshotel & Dewey BalfaDewey Balfa00:04:121951
21Fille de la villeVin BruceVin Bruce00:02:351952
22Grand MamouLink DavisLink Davis00:02:461952
23Jolie filleGene Rodrigue & The Bayou BoysGene Rodrigue00:02:021954
24Le côté farouche de la vieShuck Richard & Marie FalconCarter00:02:421952
25Durald Two StepAmar Devillier & Wallace LafleurAmar Devillier00:03:041950
26The Waltz That Carried Me To The GravePee Wee BroussardPee Wee Broussard00:02:271952
PisteTitleMain artistAutorDurationRegistered in
1Le sud de la LouisianeAlex BroussardAlex Broussard00:02:141959
2'Blue Darlin'''Jimmy C. NewmanLyles00:02:151955
3Mama RosinNathan Abshire & Yvonne LeblancGrenet00:02:431957
4Lemonade SongLeroy BroussardColombus Frugé00:02:401957
5Pistache à Tante NanaSydney BrownEddie Shuler00:02:291957
6'Drunkard''s Two Step'Robert BertrandTraditionnel00:02:261959
7'La Valse d''Opelousas'Austin Pitre & Carrie MenierFloyd Soileau00:02:231959
8La chanson du Mardi GrasTerry ClémentTraditionnel00:03:091957
9Crowley Two StepRoger AldusAldus Roger00:02:181960
10'J''ai fait mon Idée'Shirley BergeronLavergne00:02:301960
11Sugar BeeCleveland CrochetEddie Shuler00:02:331960
12GabrielHappy Fats & Alex BroussardTraditionnel00:02:091961
13'Parlez-vous l''français 'Bill MatteEmmit Matte00:02:131961
14Yeux noirsLaurence WalkerTraditionnel00:02:571961
15'Faut pas que tu m''oublies'J-B. FusilierEddie Shuler00:02:381962
16'P''tits yeux bleus'Jo-el SonnierFloyd Soileau00:02:341962
17Two step du vieux tempsThe Rambling AcesFloyd Soileau00:02:181962
18La valse de Jolly RogersElias Badeaux & D.L. MénardDoris Leon Menard00:02:581961
19Eunice Two StepMaurice BarzasFloyd Soileau00:02:371962
20Married LifeLouis CormierCormier Louis00:02:531962
21'I''d Like To Know'Adam HébertHebert Adam00:03:021960
22Louisiana ManRusty & Doug KershawDoug Kershaw00:02:331961
23Cajun Twist (Le tortillage)Cajun TrioFloyd Soileau00:02:031962
24Les traces de mon bogheiDoris MatteDoris Matte00:02:281962
25Cajun Land TwistBuck MouhartEddie Shuler00:01:581962
26La porte en arrièreElias Badeaux & D.L. MénardDoris Leon Menard00:02:151962
Louisiana, The Post-War Years – 1946-1962
by Jean Buzelin
When Cajun tunes were discovered in France at the turn of the decade 1960/1970, this music played in Louisiana by distant cousins of the French had a long history behind it already, a story that has already been told in a first “Cajun” volume devoted to pre-war recordings.(1) The French Acadiens who first arrived in the south of Louisiana in 1756, after a long migration known as the Grand Dérangement (literally, “Great Disturbance”), had been chased out of their province in north-eastern Canada by the English, and they settled in Louisiana where they put down new roots in the marshlands of the bayous. They lived in isolation, while their memories maintained their traditions, language and the songs and dances of old France. The violin was their main instrument until accordions arrived in around 1870 in the baggage of German immigrants. The powerful sound of these diatonic instruments was perfectly suited to the waltzes, mazurkas, polkas and quadrilles that were performed at dances in people’s homes (fais do do) on Saturday nights. But in the Thirties, industrialisation and oil-drilling in the neighbouring state of Texas, plus a consequent increase in the need for manual labour, would put an end to the isolation of the Acadiens, and the New Deal would amplify this with the idea “one nation, one language” that obliged all Americans to be English-speakers. So Cajun music evolved during the decade that preceded World War Two.
Here there is no need to deal with zydeco, the music born out of the encounter between blues and the Creole and Acadian music played by black French-speaking artists, as that genre is the subject of another anthology.(2)
The record market
At the end of the war, and after the American Federation of Musicians went on strike (the Petrillo Ban), the little edifice that represented the market for Cajun music had to be entirely rebuilt, as did most of America’s national record production. Despite their (modest) local sales, Cajun musicians and singers would cut records for Columbia or RCA-Bluebird, which were the two great record-companies of the day (but not yet referred to as “the majors.”) The latter would abandon local artists in the same way as they soon left other popular music forms to their own devices, especially the Afro-American genres. To fill the void, countless other little record-labels burgeoned all over the country, and the south of Louisiana didn’t get left behind. In 1946, Jay Miller launched his labels Fais-Do-Do and Feature in Crowley, while Bill Quinn created Gold Star in Houston, Texas, the neighbouring state where a large Acadian colony lived (Benny Hess would found his Opera label there in 1948.) But it was in Lake Charles, in the midst of Cajun territory, that in 1949 and 1950 several little labels would emerge almost simultaneously under the aegis of four producers. The first of those were two musicians, Virgil Bozman, who led the Oklahoma Tornadoes (O.T.), and Eddie Shuler (1917-2005), with Folk-Star and later Goldband. Then came Bob Tanner (TNT) and George Khoury (with Khoury’s and Lyric). Miller, Khoury and Shuler would leave a lasting mark on the Louisiana music scene with their recordings of traditional Cajun music, but also later thanks to more commercial genres like rockabilly, swamp pop and blues which reached a larger, English-speaking public.
The chance was too good to be missed; Cajun musicians and groups who had already recorded pre-war would jump at it: the Hackberry Ramblers, Léo Soileau, Lawrence Walker, Amédée Breaux, J.-B. Fusilier, Happy Fats LeBlanc (1915-1988) and Doc Guidry (1918-1992), one of the greatest Cajun fiddle-players.(1) Musically speaking, those who struck lucky were musicians playing the cajun-country genre – fiddle and strings – that was born in the Thirties during the “Americanisation” of the bayous, a genre strongly influenced by the Western Swing style in neighbouring Texas, even if a certain return to French-language songs was to be observed. Whereas Happy & Doc remained in the lead, a newcomer who’d learned his trade with Happy (as early as 1940), would pip everyone on the post with his version of Jolie Blonde,(3) which became Cajun music’s greatest classic, picked up by many artists across America. His name was Harry Choates (1922-1951), and he was a greatly talented violinist. His debut was meteoric but the man they called “The Fiddle King of Cajun Swing” died an alcoholic only five years later, aged 28, carried away by his chaotic life (and after hitting his head against the bars of his jail cell until he went into a coma).
The return of the accordion
Just when everyone thought the accordion had been stored away in an attic with other antiques – whereas in fact it was the life and soul of country dances and fais do do get-togethers, to the great satisfaction, of rural populations – the instrument made its unforeseeable and thunderous return in 1948, breaking ten years of phonographic silence. It was played by Iry LeJeune (1928-1954), a nephew of Angelais LeJeune,(1) a virtuoso of the button accordion who would enjoy enormous popularity until his death after a road accident. Other accordionists came hot on his heels: the older generation of Amédée Breaux (1900-1975), Lawrence Walker (1907-1968) and Austin Pitre (1918-1981) – these last two also played the fiddle – followed by the truculent Nathan Abshire (1913-1981),(4) Lee Sonnier (1897-1984) or the “King of the Accordion players” Aldus Roger (1915-1999). Others to be mentioned are Shuck Richard, Amar Devillier or Pee Wee Broussard. Several of the latter were influenced by the great black accordionist Amédée Ardoin.(1-2)
Love Bridge Waltz by LeJeune, Pine Grove Blues by Abshire and Reno Waltz (Walker) were enormous local hits – note that in the land of the Acadians, a 78rpm disc was a hit if it sold 10,000 copies! The latter records rivalled the scores of Colinda and La Cravate(5) (Happy, Doc and Louis Noël), Poor Hobo (Choates) or Grand Texas (Chuck Guillory and Papa Cairo). War Widow Waltz (Sonnier) and Hey Mom!(6) (Breaux) also sold well. In passing, we can note that most accordionists took pains to avoid eliminating the fiddle from their groups, and shared the solos with a third instrument, the electric steel guitar, which they’d also inherited from country-music groups, and which was played flat on their laps with glissando effects.(7)
Female singers were rare, but among them Laura Broussard or Marie Falcon deserve a mention, although even they couldn’t hide the fact that, as in many other domains, Cajun music was a man’s world. A lot of water flowed under the bridge in Bayou NezPique before any female musician replaced the pioneering Cléoma Falcon.(1)
As for the material played by by traditional Cajun orchestras, it was often made up of the (rather slow) waltzes and lively two-steps – the old dances had all but disappeared – that dancers loved, plus a few blues tunes. And if the words to some of the songs were often basic and turned up in songs after song, others had lyrics that could still be appreciated for their quality.
With string bands now finding competitors, good violinists were willing to offer their services to accordionists. Among the former were Floyd LeBlanc (1924-1975), Will Kegley, Lionel Leleux, Doc Guidry... and soon Dewey Balfa (1927-1992). Before Dewey’s association with Nathan Abshire and the emergence of his family group the Frères Balfa, which obtained international recognition in the Seventies, he had started out as a singer-violinist with guitarist Élisée Deshotel (La Valse du bambocheur).
Some artists were more ambitious and sought to widen their audience by looking outside, even if it meant partly abandoning the French language and the traditional waltzes and two-steps. Link Davis (1914-1972) had roots in the east of Texas (Grand Mamou), while Gene Rodrigue (1926-1988) came from the south-east of Cajun territory and turned to New Orleans, with which he was familiar (Jolie fille); others had their eye on Nashville, the country music capital, like Vin Bruce (1932-2018) with Fille de la ville, a ballad that opened the doors to the Grand Ole Opry for him, and above all Jimmy Newman (1927-2014) who, along with his partner Rufus Thibodeaux (1934-2005), the violin king, became a genuine national star thanks to twenty-three titles ranked in the Top C&W Records charts between 1954 and 1969, among them Blue Darlin’ (N°13 in 1955). All of them would stray from their roots at some point, but they would often go back to the wells they drew from. It was difficult to mask an accent or beat that had the scent of Louisiana...
The Fifties alone together
In the bayou country of the mid-Fifties, differences faded into the background. The accordion had taken back its rightful place and, like in the golden age, given its typical colouring to Cajun music as we know it today. The accordion wasn’t really concerned (or at least not yet) by the shattering arrival of rock ’n’ roll that set the tone for the evolution of all popular music and attracted the attention of a young audience that now hardly spoke French any longer. On one side there was fashionable music for juke-boxes while on the other there were traditional dances for the dances held on Saturday nights.
1956 saw the birth of two new independent record companies. In Ville Platte, Floyd Soileau founded his homonymous Swallow label (excellent!) that went on to become the biggest label for authentic Cajun music sung in French; Soileau wanted that market to grow by selling this music in French-speaking territories like Quebec and, of course, France itself. Most of the local “stars” would join the Swallow catalogue. In Lafayette, Carol J. Rachou launched the label La Louisianne (with an extra “n”) and also produced blue chip investments; he would introduce LP compilations made up of 45rpm singles, and even propose entire 12” LPs for some artists, thereby showing foresight in expanding the consumer base. Both Soileau and Rachou would open their doors to new talents.
Among the musicians, Nathan Abshire (Mama Rosin, a successful transposition of the famous rumba Mama Inez), Austin Pitre (La Valse d’Opelousas), Aldus Roger (Crowley Two Step), Lawrence Walker and J.-B. Fusilier (1901-1989) remained sure bets. They made records and did live appearances on highly active, French-speaking local radio stations, and they livened up Saturday dances… but didn’t make much money at it. The circuit wasn’t a rich one and they were paid peanuts. They were considered “professionals,” but they were night-time musicians with another job to go to in daytime (as were many bluesmen, also.) Some of them lived in relative comfort, like Happy Fats, who kept the heritage up-to-date with covers of old songs, but also discovered singer Alex Broussard (1926-2010) whose lively creation Le Sud de la Louisiane became a great classic in the Cajun book.
Accordionists Leroy Broussard (1921-1991) or Sidney Brown (1906-1981) also rejuvenated some old songs, not without success, like La Danse de la limonade or La Pistache à Tante Nana.
More discreet was La Chanson du Mardi Gras, inherited from the old country of France, which was recorded for the first time in 1957. In the Louisiana of Catholics, but as much in New Orleans as in the Cajun bayous, Mardi Gras was and is an occasion for much festiveness: parades, masks and disguises, music, meals with hot sauce and crayfish, horse-rides led by a capitaine, etc.(8) This lively song, though well-known for a long time, had not yet been recorded, and so it was the field-recording captured by Dr. Harry Oster of Louisiana State University that gave the first disc by the Frères Clément, an amateur trio(9) This “unavoidable” recording foreshadowed the future “Cajun revival” of the Sixties, and it came as a “breather” in the midst of all the records sold to consumers in the local market that is the subject of our panorama here. Nathan Abshire and Dewey Balfa would successfully put La Chanson du Mardi Gras back in circulation in the mid-Sixties.
The Sixties, and an opening
While Cajun music remained essentially a local matter, almost totally ignored by the rest of the United States – and even more so in Europe – fans of the music today can, with hindsight, detect signs of a slight simmering at the turn of the new decade. 1960 saw the release of an increasing number of singles, especially from the label of Floyd Soileau. But in the midst of this abundant production it was Eddie Shuler and his Goldband label that hit the jackpot with Sugar Bee, recorded under the name of violinist Cleveland Crochet (1919-2011), that climbed up the Billboard Hot 100 national hit-parade to a ranking at N°80 in January 1961. It was a first for a disc coming out of the bayous. It was sung in English of course – by steel-guitarist Jay Stutes (1933-2000) – but the accordion played by Shorty LeBlanc gave it a typical “zydeco bluesy” colour.
A month later, in a more rock ’n’ roll vein, came the Kershaw brothers – namely Doug (born 1936) and Rusty (1938-2001) – who followed Stutes and LeBlanc with Louisiana Man (N°10 in the top C&W titles) which had a strong impact on Louisiana’s youngsters, most of whom no longer spoke French at all. Would the language disappear for good, along with their grandparents? Even so, and still in 1961, the singer Bill Matte – he played a piano-accordion like Clifton Chenier – was asking Parlez-vous l’français? over a rhythm as modern as Sugar Bee, accompanied by a blues guitar, at a time when the movement signalling a return to the music’s ancestral language hadn’t yet been launched. His record appeared on the Lanor label, newly created by Lee Lavergne in Church Point, Louisiana the previous year, the man who’d launched guitar-player Shirley Bergeron (1933-1995) with J’ai fait mon idée. The latter, accompanied by his father Alphée on accordion, belonged to the authentic French music tradition that was by now looking clearly healthier. The new accordionists’ names were Andrew Cormier (with the Rambling Aces), Maurice Barzas (who had made his debuts with Élisé Deshotel), Louis Cormier, Harrison Fontenot (and the Cajun Trio with the future star Clint West), Dorris Matte (Les Traces de mon boghei)... and the very young Joel (later Jo-El) Sonnier who was born in 1946; he made his first records aged 13 and, right up until today, has become one of the most popular singer-accordionists in Louisiana and beyond. Violinists, present in most bands, were represented by Robert Bertrand, Adam Hébert or Buck Mouhart, who sings (in English) a Cajun Land Twist that is quite different from the Cajun Twist subtitled Le Tortillage, which demonstrates that Cajun music had a knack for tackling fashionable rhythms with humour. Finally, continuity with authentic music would be ensured notably by singer-guitarist D. L. Ménard (1932-2017), who enjoyed durable success with the Louisiana Aces led by Élias Badeaux (with La Valse de Jolly Rogers, and especially La Porte en arrière, a timeless classic that would open doors for his international career.)
Soon the singer-accordionists would come along, among them Belton Richard, Joe Bonsall, Blackie Forestier, Aldus Mouton, Leeman Préjean, Camey Doucet... and then Zachary Richard or Wayne Toups, who produced a hybrid Cajun music with infusions of rock, blues and zydeco... but they fall outside the scope of this anthology.(10)
The Cajun Revival
So Cajun, although marginal from a show-business perspective, was music whose health was good, yet threatened by declining numbers of people who understood French. And this just at the moment when the tastes of young people (i.e. students and teenagers) for blues and folk music seemed to be confirmed. A new and vast audience had opened its arms to a number of singers and musicians, many of whom were retreating into their ghettoes. This “revival movement”, accompanied by the release of many albums on LPs (particularly by the Arhoolie label created in 1960 by Chris Strachwitz,(11) would also reach traditional Cajun music, although to a much more moderate degree. On top of that, the revival brought French under the spotlight as a language, and attract curiosity among young music lovers in America, Europe (and France), which wasn’t the least interesting aspect of it all. Accompanying the revival, the organisation known as CODOFIL (for “Council for the Development of French In Louisiana”) was initiated in 1968 by the Lafayette lawyer and Democrat Representative James Domangeaux. French, which had been handed down as a spoken language for centuries, was finally recognised as a language in its own right and, a paradox, it began to be taught in schools…
For their part, musicians began moving out of their traditional territory. Aldus Roger represented Louisiana at the Folklore Festival in Washington in 1962. Dewey Balfa took part in the 1964 Newport Folk Festival, the great display window for blues and folk, and he returned there with his brothers in 1967(12) And for the first time, traditional Cajun music was exported to Europe with the American Country Music Festival tour in 1966 presented by the brothers Cyprien and Adam Landreneau. Doug Kershaw was on the bill at the first New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival in 1969, well before the Balfa brothers, freshly promoted as Ambassadors for Cajun music, made their first (triumphal) tour in France in the year 1975.
The rediscovery of former musicians, and the arrival of a young generation led notably by violinist Michael Doucet and his group Beausoleil, with his colleague Marc Savoy (accordion) and his wife Ann, a guitarist (all three appearing in the Savoy Doucet Cajun Band), enabled not only the rescue and preservation of the musical tradition, but also to keep the culture of a whole population alive and well.
English Adaptation : Martin Davies
© Frémeaux & Associés 2022
1) CAJUN Louisiane 1928-1939 (double CD Frémeaux & Associés
2) ZYDECO Black Creole, French Music & Blues 1929-1972 (double CD FA 5616).
3) Adapted from Ma blonde est partie by Amédée Breaux, 1929 (cf.
4) Under the name Nason Absher, the accordionist had cut a French Blues in 1935 with the Rayne-Bo Ramblers of Happy Fats LeBlanc (cf. FA 019).
5) Two old songs/dances brought up to date: Mes souliers sont rouges (La Cravate) dates from the 17th century; Colinda, derived from a voodoo dance, arrived with Creoles from the French Caribbean at the end of the 19th century.
6) Compositions by Amédée Breaux recorded by Léo Soileau and Mayuse Lafleur under the title Mama, Where You At? in 1928 (cf. FA 019).
7) The piano, an essential instrument in the honky tonk genre, appeared only rarely.
8) Cf. the film by Jean-Pierre Bruneau, Dedans le Sud de la Louisiane (DVD+CD FA 4031).
9) Terry Clément would record a few commercial sides in the Sixties.
10) At the time of writing, the law governing recordings not in the public domain do not permit rights-free exploitation of records produced after 1962.
11) As the owners of a vast catalogue devoted to Down Home Music in all its forms, and still operational, the Arhoolie company has largely contributed to bringing Cajun music to the attention of the world. It notably made Clifton Chenier, the “King of Zydeco,” internationally famous as the revelation of the 1969 European Tour made by the American Folk Blues Festival (cf. ZYDECO 1929-1972 – FA 5616 +
12) In 1966, the Creole duo of Bois-Sec Ardoin & Canray Fontenot was on the bill (cf. FA 4031 + 5616).
John Broven, South to Louisiana (Pelican Publishing Company, 1987)
Robert Sacré, Musiques Cajun, Créole et Zydeco (Que sais-je ?, Presses Universitaires de France, 1995)
Sebastian Danchin, Musiques cajun, zydeco et blues (Ed. du Layeur, 1999)
Ann Allen Savoy, Cajun Music, a reflexion of a people Vol. I (1984) and Vol. II (2020) (annsavoy.com)
Original records: collections of Jean-Pierre Bruneau, Jean Buzelin, Ann Savoy
Iconography (photos, collections & documents): Jean-Pierre Bruneau, Jean Buzelin, Marie-Thérèse Delboubès, Red Fabacher,
Jean-Luc Marsaud, Ann Savoy (D.R.)
Special thanks to Ann Savoy and Jean-Pierre Bruneau
And a thought in memoriam for our late friend Benno Häupl who was to be involved in this project.
DISCOGRAPHIE CAJUN 2 - CD1
1. ALLONS DANCE COLINDA (Trad. - arr. O. Guidry, L. LeBlanc) Fais-Do-Do 1001
2. JOLE BLON (PRETTY BLOND) (A. Breaux - arr. H. Choates) Gold Star 1314
3. LA PRISON (Trad.) Gold Star 1332
4. LA CRAVAT (Trad.) Fais-Do-Do 1000
5. YOU MUSTN’T CRY (F. LeBlanc) Opera 111
6. CAJUN HOP (L. Soileau) Gold Star 1326
7. JAMBALAYA BOOGIE (E. Shuler) Goldband 1020
8. LOVE BRIDGE WALTZ (I. LeJeune) Opera 105
9. PINE GROVE BLUES (N. Abshire) OT 102
10. WAR WIDOW WALTZ (L. Broussard) Feature 1018
11. PRISON TWO STEP (A. Pitre) French Hits 501
12. RENO WALTZ (L. Walker) Khoury’s 623
13. HEY, MOM! (A. Breaux) Feature 1056
14. THE LAFAYETTE PLAYBOYS WALTZ (A. Roger - A. Broussard) Feature 1028
15. TECHE SPECIAL (I. LeJeune) Folk-Star F-101
16. LA VALSE A BELEZERE (Trad. - N. Abshire) Lyric 610
17. POOR HOBO (Trad. - arr. H. Choates) Gold Star 1336
18. BIG TEXAS (J. Lamperez) Modern 20-612
19. LAWTEL TWO STEP (C. Vincent - W. Kegley) Khoury’s 605
20. LA VALSE DE BON BAURCHE (D. Balfa) Khoury’s 618
21. FILLE DE LA VILLE (V. Bruce) Columbia 20923
22. BIG MAMOU (L. Davis) OKeh 18001
23. JOLIE FILLE (PRETTY GIRL) (G. Rodrigue) Meladee 101
24. LE COTE FAROUCHE DE LA VIE (THE WILD SIDE OF LIFE) (A. A. Carter) Khoury’s 621
25. DURALD TWO STEP (A. Devillier) Lyric 1
26. THE WALTZ THAT CARRIED ME TO MY GRAVE (C. Broussard) Feature 1045
(1) Happy, Doc & The Boys: Leroy “Happy Fat” LeBlanc (g), Oran “Doc” Guidry (vln, voc), Jake LeBlanc (steel g). Crowley, LA, 1946.
(2) Harry Choates & His Fiddle: Harry Choates (vln, voc), Eddie Pursley, B.D. Williams (g), Charley Slagle (tnr bjo), William D. “Bill” Slay (p),
Jimmy Foster (b). Houston, TX, ca. 31/03/1946.
(3) The Oklahoma Tornadoes: John H. “Virgil” Bozman (g, voc), Floyd LeBlanc (vln), (stg)(b). Houston, summer 1947.
(4) Happy, Doc & The Boys: same as for 1; Louis Noel (g, voc). New Orleans, LA, 1947.
(5) Floyd LeBlanc & His French Fiddle: Floyd LeBlanc (vln, voc), Virgil Bozman (g), unk. (stg), B.D. Williams (b). Lake Charles, LA, 1951.
(6) Harry Choates & His Fiddle: Harry Choates (vln, voc), Joe Manuel (tnr bjo), Eddie Pursley (g), Ronald “Pee Wee” Lyons (stg),
Johnnie Ruth Manuel (p), B.D. Williams (b), Curzy “Porkchop” Roy (dm). Lake Charles, 19/02/1947.
(7) Eddie Shuler’s All Star Reveliers: Edward Wayne Shuler Jr (g), Charlie Broussard (vln, voc), Nookie “Frenchie” Martin (vln),
Glen Croaker (stg), Verola Bunker (p). Lake Chales, ca. 11/1950.
(8) Iry LeJeune with The Oklahoma Tornadoes: Ira “Iry” LeJeune (acd, voc), Floyd LeBlanc (vln), Virgil Bozman, Orville “Bennie” Hess (g),
Ben Oldeg (b?). Houston, early 1948.
(9) Nathan Abshire & His French Accordion: Nathan Abshire (acd, voc), Will Kegley (vln), Ernest Thibodeaux (g), Jim Baker (b), Ozide Kegley (dm). Lake Charles, 23/05/1949.
(10) Lee Sonnier & His Acadian All Stars: Livodais “Lee” Sonnier (acd), Laura Broussard (voc), poss. Louis Miller (vln), poss. Elwood Dupuis (stg), poss. Freeman Hanks (g). Crowley, 1948.
(11) Austin Pete & The L.A. Rhythmaires: Austin Pitre (acd, voc), prob. Clifton Fontenot (vln), Pee Wee McCauley (stg), Floyd Fontenot (g),
Clancy Perron? (dm). Crowley, 1948.
(12) Lawrence Walker & His Wandering Aces: Lawrence Walker (acd, voc), U.J. Meaux or Lionel Leleux (vln), Valmont “Junior” Benoit (stg),
Demus Comeaux (g), Lawrence Trahan (dm). Lake Charles, 1951.
(13) Amidie Breaux & His Band: Amédée Breaux (acd, voc), Ophy Breaux (g), (stg)(dm). Crowley, 1952.
(14) Aldus Roger & Lafayette Playboys: Aldus Roger (acd), Aldus “Pop-Eye” Broussard (voc), Rodney Miller (stg), Daemus Comeaux (g),
Fernest “Man” Abshire (dm). Crowley, 1948/49.
(15) Iry LeJune & His Lacassine Playboys; Iry LeJeune (acd, vo), Ellis Vanicor (vln), Orsy “R.C.” Vanicor (stg), Ivy Vanicor (g), Acey LeJeune (dm). Lake Charles, 1949/50.
(16) Nathan Abshire & His Musical Five: Nathan Abshire (acd), Will Kegley (vln, voc), Atlas Frugé (stg), Ernest Thibodeaux (g), Jim Baker? (b), Ozide Kegley (dm). Lake Charles, 1951.
(17) Harry Choates & His Fiddle: Harry Choates (vln, voc), Pee Wee Lyons (stg), Wilbur “Pee Wee” Maples (g), Johnnie R. Manuel (p), Grady Mann (b), Amos Comeaux (dm). Houston, late 1947.
(18) Chuck Guillory & His Rhythm Boys: Murphy “Chuck” Guillory (vln), Julius “Papa Cairo” Lamperez (stg, voc), Herman Durbin (p),
Claude “Pete” Duhon or Howard Thibodeaux (b), Curzy “Pork Chop” Roy (dm). Prob. New Orleans, 1949.
(19) Vincent & Cagley: Will Kegley (vln, voc), Crawford Vincent (g), prob. Benny Frugé (p), unk (b). Lake Charles, 1950.
(20) Elisé Deshotel & The Louisiana Rhythmaires: Elisée Deshotel (stg), Dewey Balfa (vln, voc), Atlas Frugé (stg), poss. Rodney Balfa (g),
Esther Deshotel (dm). Opelousas, LA, mid-late 1951.
(21) Vin Bruce with String Band: Ervin “Vin” Bruce (g?, voc), Tommy Jackson (vln), Grady Martin (mand), Bob Foster (stg), Owen Bradley (p).
poss. Ernie Newton (b). Nashville, TN, ca. 02/1952.
(22) Link Davis with Benny Leader’s Bayou Billies: Link Davis (vln, voc), Dusty Stewart (stg), Bill Buckner (g), Doc Lewis or Earl Carruthers (p), Benny Leaders (b). Houston, 02/12/1952.
(23) Gene Rodrigue & The Bayou Boys: Eugène “Gene” Rodrigue (g or spoons, voc), (vln)(stg)(g)(p)(b). New Orleans, 1954.
(24) Shuck Richard & Aces: Clopha “Shuck” Richard (acd), Marie Solange Falcon (g, voc), Will Kegley or Eddie Duhon (vln), Jay Dartez (g), Crawford Vincent (dm). Lake Charles, late 1951/early 1952.
(25) Amar Devillier & His Louisiana Jambileers: Amar Devillier (acd), Wallace LaFleur (g, voc), poss. Eston Bellows, Dennis McGee (vln). E
unice, LA, late 1950.
(26) Pee Wee Broussard & The Melody Boys; Chester Isaac “Pee Wee” Broussard (acd, voc), Jean “Kaiser” Perez (vln), Walter Guidry (stg),
Andy Johnson (g), Nathan Latiolais (dm). Crowley, 1952.
DISCOGRAPHIE CAJUN 2 - CD2
1. LE SUD DE LA LOUISIANE (A. Broussard) La Louisianne 8016
2. BLUE DARLIN’ (L. Lyles) Dot 1260
3. MAMA ROSIN (E. Grenet - arr. N. Abshire) Khoury’s 652
4. LEMONADE SONG (C. Frugé - E. Shuler) Goldband 1048
5. PESTAUCHE AH TANTE NANA (THE PEANUT SONG) (E. Shuler) Goldband 1061
6. DRUNKARD’S TWO STEP (Trad.) Fais-Do-Do 1000
7. OPELOUSAS WALTZ (F. Soileau) Swallow 45-106
8. MARDI GRAS SONG (Trad.) LSF-1201
9. CROWLEY TWO STEP (A. Roger) Cajun Classics 106
10. J’AI FAIT MON EDÉE (L. Lavergne - S. Bergeron) Lanor 500
11. SUGAR BEE (E. Shuler) Goldband 1106
12. GABRIEL (Trad. - arr. LeBlanc, O. Guidry) La Louisianne 8026
13. PARLEZ-VOUS L’ FRANÇAIS (E. Matte) Lanor 503
14. LITTLE BLACK EYES (Trad.) La Louisianne 8018
15. FAUT PAS QUE TU M’OUBLIES (THINK OF ME) (E. Shuler) Goldband 1138
16. TEE YEAUX BLEU (F. Soileau - J. Sonnier) Swallow 45-112
17. TWO STEP DE VIEUX TEMPS (F. Soileau) Swallow 10136
18. VALSE DE JOLLY ROGERS (D.L. Menard) Swallow 45-121
19. EUNICE TWO STEP (F. Soileau) Swallow 10141
20. MARRIED LIFE (L. Cormier) La Louisianne 8035
21. I’D LIKE TO KNOW (A. Hebert - F. Soileau) Swallow 45-115
22. LOUISIANA MAN (D. Kershaw) Hickory 1137
23. CAJUN TWIST (LE TORTILLAGE) (F. Soileau) Swallow 45-126
24. LES TRACES DE MON BOGHEI (TRACKS OF MY BUGGY) (D. Matte) Swallow 45-128
25. CAJUN LAND TWIST (E. Shuler - B. Mouhart) Tic Toc 108
26. THE BACK DOOR (D.L. Menard) Swallow 10131
(1) Alex Broussard (tnr bjo, voc), Doc Guidry, Walden “Sleepy” Hoffpauir (vln), Happy Fats LeBlanc (g), (b)(dm). Lafayette, 1959.
(2) Jimmy C. Newman (g, voc), Rufus Thibodeaux (vln), (stg)(b). Nashville, TN, 1955.
(3) Little Yvonne LeBlanc with Abshire Band: Yvonne LeBlanc (voc), Nathan Abshire (acd), poss. Jack Miere (stg), Shelton Manuel (dm).
Lake Charles, ca. 1957.
(4) LeRoy Broussard & His French Accordion Band: LeRoy Broussard (acd, voc), (vln)(stg)(dm). Lake Charles, 1957.
(5) Sidney Brown, His French Accordion & The Traveler Playboys: Sidney Brown (acd), Louis “Vinus” Lejeune (vln?, voc), Nelson Young (vln), Tilford McClelland (stg), poss. Wallace Ogeat (g), unk. (b), Clifton Newman or Bill Matte (dm).Lake Charles, late 1957.
(6) Robert Bertrand with The Lake Charles Playboys: Robert Bertrand (vln, voc), Elias “Bobby” Leger (acd), Louis Fournerat (stg)
Leroy Leger (dm). Crowley, 1959.
(7) Austin Pitre & Evangeline Playboys: Austin Pitre (acd), Joseph A. “Cabrie” Menier (stg, voc), Harry LaFleur (vln), Dickey Gill (g),
Eston Bellows (dm). Lafayette, 1959.
(8) Clément Brothers: Terry Clément (acd, voc), Laurent Clément (vln), Grant Paul Clément (g), (b). Mamou or Eunice, LA, 1957.
(9) Aldus Roger & The Lafayette Playboys: Aldus Roger (acd), poss. Raymond Cormier or Doc Guidry (vln), Phillip Aleman (stg),
Johnny Credeur (g), Fernest “Man” Abshire (dm). Crowley, 1960.
(10) Shirley Bergeron & The Veteran Playboys: Shirley Bergeron (stg, voc), Alphée Bergeron (acd), prob. Shelton Manuel (vln), M.J. Achten (g), Wallace LaFleur (dm). Church Point, 1960.
(11) Cleveland Crochet & The Hillbilly Ramblers: Cleveland Crochet (vln), Jesse Lloyd “Jay” Stutes (stg, voc), Vorris “Shorty” LeBlanc (acd), Charlie Babineaux (g), poss. Bradley Stutes (b), Clifton Newman (dm). Lake Charles, 1960.
(12) Happy & Alex: Happy Fats LeBlanc (g, voc) & Alex Broussard (tnr bjo, voc), Doc Guidry, Sleepy Hoffpauir (vln), unk. (b). Lafayette, 1961.
(13) Bill Matte & The Five Classics: Emmitt “Bill” Matte (acd, voc), (2 g)(b)(dm). Church Point, 1961.
(14) Lawrence Walker & His Band: Lawrence Walker (acd, voc), poss. Doc Guidry (vln)(stg)(g)(dm). Lafayette, 1961.
(15) J.B. Fusilier & His Accordion: Jean-Baptiste Fuselier (acd, voc), Atlas Frugé? (stg), poss. Preston Manuel (g), (dm). Lake Charles, 1962.
(16) 13 Year Old Joel Sonnier & Duson Playboys: Joel Sonnier (acd, voc), (vln)(stg)(g)(dm), Lafayette, 1960.
(17) The Rambling Aces: Andrew Cormier (acd), Rodney leJeune (g, voc), Raymond Cormier (stg), (vln)(dm). Ville Platte, LA, 1962.
(18) Badeaux & Louisiana Aces: Elias Badeaux (acd), Doris Léon “D.L.” Menard (g, voc), Archange “Coon” Touchet (stg), Joseph Lopez (vln),
John Suire (dm). Ville Platte, 1961.
(19) Maurice Barzas & The Mamou Playboys; Maurice Barzas (acd), Vorance Barzas (dm, voc), Roy Fontenot (vln), Allen West (stg).
Ville Platte, 1962.
(20) Louis Cormier & The Moonlite Playboys: Louis Cormier (acd, voc), (vln)(g)(b)(dm). Lafayette, 1962.
(21) Adam Hebert & The Country Playboys: Adam Hebert (vln, voc), Nathan Menard or Cléby Richard (acd), Dirk Richard (stg), Wilfred Labie (g), John “Boy” Miller (dm). Lafayette, 1960.
(22) Rusty & Doug: Rusty Kershaw (vln, voc), Doug Kershaw (g, lead voc), (stg)(b)(dm). 1961.
(23) Harrison Fontenot & The Cajun Trio: Harrison J. Fontenot (acd), Roy Fontenot (g?, lead voc), (g?), Clint West (dm). Lafayette, 1962.
(24) Doris Matte & The Lake Charles Rambling Aces: Doris Matte (acd, voc), (vln)(g)(dm). Lafayette, 1962.
(25) Buck Mouhart “The Flying Cajun”: Buck Mouhart (vln, voc), (acd)(g)(p)(b)(dm). Lake Charles, 1962.
(26) Badeaux & Louisiana Aces: same as for (18), D.L.Menard (g, voc),. Ville Platte, 1962.
Avertissement : certains titres, ré-orthographiés en “français correct” sur le verso du coffret, sont ici transcris en langage phonétique ou en anglais,
tels qu’ils figurent sur les étiquettes des 78 tours ou des microsillons.