Monday, December 9, 2019

The French diaspora

I have been watching a show about records which were made onsite, in various parts of this country, long ago, using a portable recording studio which first brought various types of music to the attention of the public. One such record was made by Joe e Cléoma Falcon in 1928, entitled "Allons à Lafayette". The Cajuns are interesting to me, probably because I have never been to their place, but I admire it from a distance. My father lived down on the bayous in the late '30s and early '40s and he had some tales to tell. Here is what some consider to be the first Cajun record ever released:

The show is called American Epic, and it is very good, but since it is PBS I won't link to it. The Sessions episode is a couple of hours of top notch musical performances, including Taj Mahal and others. 

On that show Taj talks about the awfulness of that flood and how Charlie was able to write about it with such rawness. That's the same flood that my family had to survive - I wish I knew more about how my grandfather saved his wife and sons - but then again, it might be better that I don't know the details. 

The show about country music was interesting - Poor Valley is a real place and we owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to the people who lived there and took the risk to travel over to Bristol Tennessee to record their songs. This is one of them:

Aw heck, how about some Sister Rosetta Tharpe - she rocked:


ricpic said...

All Of It

The worst thing is to be unanchored in no place;
But in your place you can face what you have to face.

windbag said...

It was a cryin' shame that Sister, who (many believe) invented rock and roll, wasn't inducted into the Hall of Fame until last year. Thanks for all the tunes, Sixty. I told someone the other day that if YouTube existed when I was a kid, I'd still be living in my parents basement. Which would be awkward, since my dad died a couple of years ago.

Dad Bones said...

Great songs, Sixty. So I met this barefoot Apache down in Lake Charles, a tugboat crewman, pool hustler and brawler, who gave me a tour of the bayou and what a tour it was. The country, the people I saw, the roadhouse bars, having our car ferried across the water, and eating Boudin sure wasn't nothing like the Iowa county I grew up in. And he taught me a valuable lesson by robbing me and leaving me to hitchhike back to Lake Charles in the hot sun.

I shoulda paid attention when that ugly Apache said his name was Papoose and spashed on cheap cologne to cover up what he really smelled like.

Sixty Grit said...

Holy schnike, Dad Bones - that was one hell of an education right there. I am okay reading about it rather than learning first hand.

I worked with a guy from Sylacauga Alabama and the stories he told me about the bayous and their residents made me steer clear of that area - it looks beautiful, swampy and all, but I think some of the residents still hold a bit of a grudge.

Some Seppo said...

My neighbor John's Granddaddy John also did field recordings.

My neighbor John's Daddy founded the Houston Folklore & Music Society.

You meet all kinds of people living here in Nashville.

Dad Bones said...

Interesting that you said that, Sixty. Whatever else he was my guide loved the bayous and more than once exclaimed, "Man, this is wicked country!"

Sixty Grit said...

Good one, Some Seppo - you might enjoy the American Epic series - the folks who collected American music in those days did us all a mighty big favor - those tunes would have otherwise been lost. So is your neighbor J. Lomax III? Or, Trey, in the vernacular?

My father worked in a clinic in the bayous prior to WWII and he could do a pretty fair Cajun accent, a skill I lack. That is a tricky dialect to hear, understand and mimic. Intriguing, for sure, but I will stay way up north here and enjoy my old age having never ventured into the land of gators and moccasins. And intergenerational feuds. At least we don't have any of those things around here...

Some Seppo said...

Yes, my neighbor is John III. Some of his personal archives were used in the recent "Country Music" Ken Burns series.

His friends and wife call him John. Don't know how his family addresses him.

Some Yankees think "coon ass" is a racist moniker. Southerners know better, even if they can't understand the words coming out of a cajun's mouth.

Sixty Grit said...

Too cool - he and his family have accomplished some great things. Tell him thanks for me, and it looks as though even some of my relatives kind of bumped up next to some of his family's organizations, distant relatives to be sure, but our last name is not all that common, so there you go.

Some Seppo said...

Next time I see him I'll let him know he has yet another fan.