Lafayette Two-Step
from "From the Bayou to the Bay: Louisiana French Dance Music in Northern California." by Mark F. DeWitt, pg. 311-339
In The Music of Multicultural America
By Kip Lornell and Anne K. Rasmussen



No streaming derivative is available.
This recording is a representative aural snapshot of the California Cajun Orchestra at the height of their popularity. One can hear the collaboration between Louisiana natives Danny Poullard and Charlie St. Mary and their bandmates who grew to love this music. Danny is front and center, playing his accordion and singing the French lyrics of this Cajun standard with a typical two-part melody. In addition to playing the rubboard, Charlie can be heard hollering encouragement intermittently throughout, in French and English. After Danny sings the first verse, Eric Thompson takes a ride on his electric guitar when many Cajun bands would have a steel guitar play, as on the Aldus Roger recording to which this one pays homage. Suzy Thompson and Kevin Wimmer follow with a lush two-fiddle sound, playing the first part of the melody which Cajun musicians call "the tune." Danny joins them on accordion, playing the second part of the melody, known as 'the turn.' He then sings his second verse and finishes the song with a complete statement of the melody on the accordion.

For a visual snapshot of the California Cajun Orchestra, see the book to which this website is a companion, The Music of Multicultural America, published by University Press of Mississippi. The photo below represents a band two musical generations earlier, the Opelousas Playboys, who may have been the first Cajun or Creole band based in California to play at a public festival outside of a Catholic church setting. The Opelousas Playboys minus their accordion player later reformed as the Louisiana Playboys with Danny Poullard on accordion, and joined by Charlie St. Mary on rubboard and vocals. Danny and Charlie then went on to form the California Cajun Orchestra with Eric and Suzy Thompson.

From California Cajun Orchestra, Nonc Adam Two-Step, Arhoolie CD 436. Used by permission of Arhoolie Records. "Lafayette Two-Step" is in the Public domain.

Transcription and translation adapted for this recording from Ann Savoy's transcription of Aldus Roger's 'Lafayette Two Step' on pp. 200-201 of her book:
Savoy, Ann Allen. 1984. Cajun Music: A Reflection of a People. Eunice, LA: Bluebird Press.
1995, Bay Records, Berkeley, California.
California Cajun Orchestra. Danny Poullard - accordion and vocal; Suzy Thompson - fiddle; Kevin Wimmer - fiddle; Eric Thompson - electric guitar; Sam Siggins - electric bass; Charlie St. Mary - rubboard; and Terry O'Dwyer - drums
Lyrics 1. Allons à Lafayette, c'est pour changer ton nom,
On va t'appeler madame, Madame Canaille comme moi.
Petite, t'es trop mignonne, pour faire la criminelle,
Quoi faire tu me fais tout ça, oh oui, ma si aimable.

2. Le monde parle mal de toi, tu danses mais trop collée
Quoi faire tu me fais tout ça, c'est juste pour me faire faché.
Allons à Lafayette, c'est pour changer ton nom,
On va t'appeler madame, Madame Canaille comme moi.
Translated Lyrics 1. Let's go to Lafayette to change your name,
We'll call you madame, Madame Sly like me.
Little girl, you're too cute to act so mean,
Why do you do all that to me, oh yes ever-so-lovable one?

2. Everyone speaks badly of you, you dance too close,
Why do you do all that to me, just to make me angry?
Let's go to Lafayette to change your name,
We'll call you madame, Madame Sly like me.
Opelousas Playboys publicity shot for the 1969 Berkeley Folk Festival. From left to right: Junior Felton, electric guitar; George Broussard, drums; Ben Guillory, fiddle; John Semien, accordion. Photo courtesy of the Charles Deering McCormick Library of Special Collections, Northwestern University; photographer unknown.
Permission Information: Nonc Adam Two-Step, Arhoolie CD 436. Public domain.