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"The Back Door" (1962), D.L. Menard and the Louisiana Aces' Cajun' Classic

MC Horoscope

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From the article:

""They say country song, but it's a Cajun song,' said Menard, 82, of Erath. 'But they made a mistake. They don't know the difference between a country song and a Cajun song? It's Cajun French. It's not a country song. I don't know where they took it from, but still I'm glad.'"

Now this is just cranky. Cajun *is* country, in fact, I'd say Cajun is *deep* country - Rolling Stone had to classify it somewhere, and since they didn't have a separate category for Cajun, where else would they put it? In the following video, Menard even says "The Back Door" came out because of Hank Williams.

Anyway, here's a video of him playing it I like even more [MC Horoscope, your original video had a broken link, so I had to fix it with an appropriate substitute.]

For those unable to understand the lyrics, I speak and read pretty high-level French, and even *while reading along*, I still can't understand what he's saying!

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More Cajun music fun:

This is Nathan Abshire on accordion, Thomas Langley on vocal, and Dewey and Will Balfa on fiddles doing the old cowboy Rex Griffin's great tune The Last Letter. His version is titled If You Don't Love Me. Warning: This is singing through the nose. It's not for everybody, but it fits well with French (Cajun) and country music.


My transcription:

Pourquoi toi tu m' traite comme si j'sus juste un ami?
Quoi c'est j't'ai fait pour toi d'être aussi different?
Mais si tu peut pas m'aimer comme t'es supposé
Et si tu m'aime pas, chère, j'voudrais q't'm'laisse les tranquille

Mais moi j'peut pas donner tout linge j'connais t'as d'besoin
J'peut pas donner l'argent j'connais que ton couer desire
Mais si tu veux m'aimer comme j'connais t'es supposé d'faire
Si tu m'aime pas, chère, j'voudrais q't'm'laisse les tranquille

(My French is NOT pretty high level, but I can understand Cajun French better than standard French. Pretty sure I nailed it this time.)

Nathan Abshire (1913-1981) was known for playing elements from all sorts of music with that improbable diatonic 10 button French accordion: blues, country-western, black Creole, polkas, hymns, jazz, etc. He was originally from Gueydan, Louisiana, a small town in my home parish of Vermilion, but he stayed most of his life in Basile, LA where he was a nightly attraction at dancehalls in the 1950s. Never for a lot of money. The town of Basile got him a job overseeing the town dump until he died. He gave us Cajuns way more with his music than he got in return, that's for sure. Sounds like the life story of those old blues guys in the 1930s. Thomas Langley played drums and sometimes steel guitar for Nathan's band, the Pinegrove Boys. Langley did other great country western tunes including Tramp on the Street and Nathan did Hank Snow's I Don't Hurt Anymore. Somebody did Johnnie and Jack's My Conscience is Clear (What About You?) in French and called it Tout les Soirs. The Cajun musicians of the 30s-70s drew heavily from country western music, but not so much anymore.

For reference, here is Rex Griffin's Last Letter.



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