Balfa Brothers & Nathan Abshire – FRC111


A live recording of a concert in 1970 in New York City.

SKU: FRC111 Categories: , , , , ,


From the recordings of Ray Alden & Dave Spilkia

In this special concert of music and talk, one hears both wonderful songs and clarifications of Cajun life. Only six years before this show, at Newport’s 1964 folk festival and much to Dewey Balfa’s surprise, he found American audiences embracing traditional Cajun music as far more than a crude “chanky-chank.” He decided to become ambassador for the Cajun culture. Nathan Abshire (1913-1981) had been influenced by accordionist Amédé Ardoin, his musical family and fiddler Lionel Leleux. Nathan first recorded in 1935 with the Rayne-Bo Ramblers and then in 1949 issued his best-known record, the “Pine Grove Blues”. Dewey’s connection to Nathan Abshire was as a one-time member of his “Pine Grove Boys.” “Les Frères Balfas” began playing informally at local gatherings during the ’40s with Dewey on fiddle, Will on “seconding” fiddle*, Rodney on guitar, Harry on accordion and Burkeman playing triangle and spoons. Later joined by neighbor Hadley Fontenot on accordion, they recorded “La Valse de Bon Baurche” and “Le Two Step de Ville Platte” as a 78-rpm single in 1951. Despite an extraordinary tragedy in February 1979, when Rodney and Will were killed in a car wreck, Dewey continued the music of the Balfa Brothers until his passing in 1992. – Ray Alden

* Also known as “bassing on the fiddle.” Both Dewey and Will’s fiddles would be “tuned to the accordion.” With a C accordion, you would “tune down the fiddle” a whole step, so from low to high it would be F C G D. Unlike cross tunings, this preserves the original fingerings, allowing the player to finger as if he were in A or D, but matching the C accordion. – Kevin Wimmer

Additional Notes: The Cajuns, Balfa and Abshire

Track List

FRC111 – The Balfa Brothers & Nathan Abshire -The
1970 NYC Concert

  1. Hicks Wagon Wheel Special (1:47)
  2. La Valse De Reno (3:02)
  3. About Nathan’s Pine Grove Blues (Talk) (1:19)
  4. The Pine Grove Blues (5:49)
  5. About Nathan’s WWII Song (Talk) (0:49)
  6. The Service Blues (3:25)
  7. La Valse De Grandpère (3:43)
  8. Cajun History (Talk) (1:04)
  9. Step It Fast (T’en As Eu, Mais T’en Auras Plus) (2:31)
  10. La Valse De Balfa (3:09)
  11. Traditional andModern Cajun Fiddle Styles (Talk) (1:10)
  12. Chere Tout Tout (3:18)
  13. A Musician’s Earnings (Talk) (0:22)
  14. Lacassine Special (2:40)
  15. Cajun Music Until WWII (Talk) (0:35)
  16. Les Veuves De La Coulée (2:11)
  17. The Power of A Musician (Talk) (0:52)
  18. La Valse De Belisaire (4:21)
  19. Grand Mamou (2:42)
  20. Hard To Leave Home (Talk) (2:27)
  21. Tout Les Soirs (4:17)
  22. T’es Petite Et T’es Mignonne (3:25)
  23. About Mardi Gras andFais Do Do (Talk) (2:04)
  24. J’étais Au Bal (2:35)
  25. Parlez Nous À Boire (1:48)
  26. La Valse De Kaplan (3:37)
  27. The Games People Play (4:13)
  28. Good Bye and Good Luck (Talk) (0:26)
  29. The Bosco Stomp (2:47)