August 2010

I must be nuts.  Here are my low-cost tips and sources for buying Cajun, Louisiana Creole and zydeco 78s, 45s, and 33s online.  Leave a few for me, okay?

1.  Don’t buy at auction if you can help it. There’s that’s the most important thing I have to say.   People who sell through auction sites are in it to make money.  I know because I’ve sold there, too.

2. The best bet is to buy in person. There are great used record stores all over the country, most in larger cities.  In New Orleans, I go to the second floor of the Louisiana Music Factory, where all used recordings are displayed.  In Ville Platte, LA, go to Floyd’s Record Shop. Why?  You can see what you’re buying without relying on someone else’s grading system.  And you may be able to haggle a bit, especially if purchasing several recordings.  Talking to the people who work there can’t hurt; they know their stock best and can alert you to new stock.

3.  Buy online from the labels first.  Floyd’s also sell used 45s online.  When an auction site says that the seller has “recently acquired in Ville Platte,” that’s where they’ve been.  The excellent California-based Arhoolie sells both 33s and 45s.  In many cases these are new, sealed copies, in great shape.

4.  Try the used music sources next.  I’ve had pretty good experience with GEMM and Alibris.  Dealers often set prices below what you pay at auction.  And you can set up ‘agents’ or saved searches to find out when something you want comes on the market.

5.  Finally, if you just can’t find what you need elsewhere, use the auction sites.  You know them, the biggest one has a name like a body of water.

This is probably the only post I’ll ever make that will save you money. And consider giving or leaving them to the ULL Dupré Library’s Cajun and Creole Music Collection.  That’s when you’ve enjoyed them enough.


Called the “King of the French Accordion,” Aldus Roger was one of the great  giants of the 1940s through the 1970s, carrying on the accordion revival of the 1950s, following in the footsteps of Iry LeJeune, Lawrence Walker, and Nathan Abshire.  His band was the Lafayette Playboys.  He recorded primarily for La Louisianne Records, based in Lafayette.  Toro y Loco has a short article and obituary from The Guardian (U.K.) newspaper.  He write with surprise that an artist’s first CD could be called “A Cajun Legend,” but doesn’t realize that it’s taken from several 33 1/3 LPs:

1. Aldus Roger. Aldus Roger plays the Cajun French classics. La Louisianne Records. LL-122. n.d.. 33.

2. Aldus Roger. Aldus Roger plays the French music of south Louisiana. La Louisianne Records. LL-107. n.d.. 33.

3. Aldus Roger. King of the French accordion. La Louisianne Records. LL-114. n.d.. 33.

And he released at least twelve 45s from these recordings.  Roger also had a regular Saturday show on Lafayette’s Channel 10 KLFY-TV.   He wrote and recorded a many classic songs, such as the KLFY Waltz, played by BeauSoleil and others.  These recordings feature Philip Alleman on vocals and steel guitar and many other great musicians, like Doc Guidry and Tony Thibodeaux on violin.  Some musical samples at Cajun Music MP3.  Here he is on KLFY with the fantastic Hick’s Wagon Wheel special (named after a club):

The web site is reporting that Rounder Records will release a single CD of live recordings made from 1964 to 1967 at the Newport Folk Festival.  As the article says:  “Performers on the anthology include the Balfa Brothers, Bois-Sec Ardoin and Canray Fontenot, Austin Pitre, and Adam and Cyprien Landreneau.”  Barry Ancelet is quoted on the great importance of these recordings.  Cajun musicians performing at the festival are often credited with sparking a revival in Cajun music at home and fanning interest nationwide.  Sounds very promising.

Here’s a little more about the CFMA ‘Le Cajun’ Awards August 20-21, 2010.   I attended the Friday night awards and Saturday morning music festival.

Friday, Aug. 20, 2010

The tables were mostly filled.  The crowd was mostly middle-aged or older.   The opening prayer was said in French.  And the U.S. national anthem was sung in French.  This is a politically conservative crowd, and there was no apparent irony in a non-English anthem.   The 2010 Chapter Queens were presented.   The event Master of Ceremonies was Mr. Bob Moore, French-language news reader for KLFY-TV, Lafayette, LA. He is from Erath, LA.   The National Governing Board President Kenwood Walker spoke.   Harry LaFleur played ‘Amazing Grace’ = ‘Grace en Ciel’ on the violin as a tribute to those who died in the past year.  Ms Kate Marie Broussard of New Iberia was chosen as the 2010-2011 CFMA Queen.
The outgoing queen, Shauna Marie Cormier, made a tearful address, thanked her father, mother and sister and gave some advice to the incoming queen.  “How I was born and raised will remain with me.”

Jackie Caillier and the Cajun Cousins with Ivy Dugas played several times during the ceremony.  They were onstage behind a curtain, which was opened periodically for them to play.  They played the Valse de Heritage, Little Short Pants, ‘Tit Chemin Gravois, Biggest Fool in the World, and Jolie Cadien.  They also performed all three song of the year nominees.  Most numbers between awards were waltzes.   No one danced for the first few numbers.  On about the fourth dance, the floor began to fill.  At one point the national board present danced with all the past queens in attendance at once!  They lined up single file facing him.  One attendee danced with a cane.

Some presenters and some accepteed were in formal dress.  Many were in casual attire.   Common feature of south Louisiana social events, there were a 50-50 drawing and a cake raffle.   In the 50-50 drawing, half the money collected goes to the winner, the other half to the organization.  I’ve seen this at my daughter’s Catholic high school parents’ meetings in New Orleans.

Both days there was a cash bar, which served only when music was playing.  You had to catch ’em fast to get a drink or refill!  There was food sold:  gumbo, hamburgers, and pork stew.   The board president said something about moving from Blackham Coliseum in Lafayette to the Cade Community Center.  He asked for approval, with some light applause followed by a few boos.   The awards did fine but Saturday was quite crowded.   There were several arts and crafts vendors in the lobby, selling jewelery and other items of general interest.  There was also a CD table, with offerings from Swallow, Acadiana and some self-released recordings.  A dollar bought you a chance at an accordion giveaway on Saturday.

Saturday, Aug. 21, 2010

I arrived just before 11:00 am.  The parking lot and hall were quite full, with only a few seats available.  Additional folding chairs were brought out.    Geno Delafose and French Rockin’ Boogie played first.  Many people from Friday night were there and many more.  Many were from New Orleans.    Songs they played:  Valse de Cherokee, ‘Tit Galop pour Mamou, Matilda, Pine Grove Blues, Eunice Two Step, Belisaire, Bonsoir Moreau, Tu Peux Cogner, Balse de Bayou Teche, and Valse de Dernier Fois.  He sang entirely in French and played a mixture of two steps and waltzes.    The crowd was mostly older and mostly white.  A few young people were on hand, some to play with the Youth Band.

I left around 1:00 p.m. to return to New Orleans for an evening event and missed High Performance closing out the day.  No doubt a good time was had by all.

The Jean Lafitte Park is spread out over southeastern Louisiana, and this event is set for Thibodaux, LA.  From the web site:

Join local Cajun accordion player Jerry Moody for a traditional Cajun music jam session at the Wetlands Acadian Cultural Center from 10:00 a.m.-noon on the first and third Saturdays of the month (no jam June 5). Moody says, “If you want your Cajun heritage to grow, then take care of it, show it off, speak it, live it, and love it.” Whether you`re Cajun or not, you`re welcome to join in as a musician or a listener.

The Wetlands Acadian Cultural Center is at 314 Saint Mary Street in Thibodaux.

The online Saudi Gazette reports that the Pine Leaf Boys began a Middle East tour in Saudi Arabia.  One performance was mentioned as were reactions by Wilson Savoy and Courtney Granger.  Band member Drew Simon postponed his marriage to tour!  The report says that Cajun music was warmly received.  These guys were in Eastern Europe earlier in the year.  What’s next?  The moon?

The Cajun French Music Association (CFMA) presented its 2010 awards Friday, August 20, 2010 at the Cade Community Center in Cade, LA, southeast of Lafayette.  Many of the awards are thanks and congratulations, without any competition.  Here are the winners of the competitive awards:

Sheryl Cormier and Clarence “Junior” Martin, Jr. were inducted by members of the CFMA Hall of Fame.  And there was an Appreciation Award given to WWOZ 90.7 FM.  As the program says:  “WWOZ has had hours of Cajun Music programming on Sunday mornings for years.  Their DJ’s have played music which covers from the first recorded songs to the present day. WWOZ has promoted CFMA festivals and events in their programming along with other Cajun music functions.”  That’s us!  Listen Sundays from noon to 2:00 pm Central time.  I accepted the award on behalf of the station. Photos on flickr.

Saturday was a day-long music festival, with Geno Delafose and French Rockin’ Boogie, Chris Miller, Kevin Naquin & the Ossun Playboys, and High Performance.  Powerful!

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