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Music Monday!

Your Humble Blogger has been, as Gentle Readers are aware, scratching about in the dirt for some blog worms. Er, not such a good metaphor. Anyway, I’ve been having a bit of difficulty being inspired to write much of anything for the blog, partially because I lose my temper over the political stuff, and partially because I got into the habit of relying on Pyggie to supply me with topics. So. I’m going to attempt to start a habit of Music Monday! Boy, I should come up with a graphic for that, hunh? Well, the idea is that every Monday (that I actually get off my bottom and do it) I will look at some song I listened to the day before (perhaps I should say over the last 60 hours or so, covering the weekend) and write something about it.

Looking at the songs I listened to yesterday, what floats to the top is the new Jim’s Big Ego album, which is free*, and which I’m not ready to write about yet, having only listened to it the once. For individual sides, it’s “Maman Rosin Au Zydeco Bal” off the BeauSoleil album Live! From the Left Coast. For those of you unfamiliar with BeauSoleil, and were somehow unable to guess from the title of the song, they are a cajun band playing two-step music. Gentle Reader, if you know nothing about cajun music, listen to a taste of some to see if you like it. Gentle Reader, if you like cajun music, or fiddling of any kind, and are unfamiliar with BeauSoleil, go listen to a taste.

I’ve only seen the band once, on a very very odd triple bill. The opening band was the Dirty Dozen Brass Band, BeauSoleil came on second, and the headliner was Geno Delafose, le cowboy creole. Which meant that we could slip out partway through the set, because although he was very good, we were very old, and it was very late, and we’d seen both the bands we had come to see. And we danced to the Dirty Dozen, when the dance floor was almost empty and people were milling around, treating them like the opening act. Which, you know, they were. More people danced to BeauSoleil, and the floor was packed when Mr. Delafose started with his French-rocking boogie; it was during that brief craze for New Jump music and there were young swing dancers just aching to show off their two-step moves.

I don’t know if BeauSoleil played this song during their set. I neither speak nor understand the French language, which hasn’t ever been a problem in my life, but does mean that I don’t associate songs in that language with their titles, nor do I know the songs with the kind of familiarity I do songs in English. My favorite BeauSoleil song is their cover of Fats Domino’s “It’s You I Love”, which they sing in both English and French. Or I assume they are singing a French translation. For all I really know, they are singing about almonds and raisins, or the anti-inflammatory qualities of cod liver oil, or just scatting nonsense syllables.

That total lack of French is part of the reason I love this song so much, I’m afraid. I mean, in addition to the way the band smokes through what is evidently a traditional Acadian tune, in Michael Doucet’s lyric there’s what is either an actual pun or just what sounds like a wonderful pun to my monolingual ears. The chorus, you see, is

O, yaie, donnez-moi des haricots.
He, maman, les haricots sont pas sales.

which by the translation in the liner notes and my own recollection and interpretation means something like Oy, Oy, pass me them there beans/Oh Mama, them beans sure ain’t salty! I’m just assuming they aren’t talking about beans, there. If the song were in Yiddish, they wouldn’t be talking about bupkes.

Anyway, the point is that Mr. Doucet’s accent and my unfamiliarity with that accent and the language makes his hard r sound a trifle like a d, that is, it’s made with the tip of the tongue hitting the palate rather than being curled. There are people who can describe this more clearly than I can, using proper tools and the International Phonetic Alphabet; there are more languages than French Your Humble Blogger doesn’t know. Anyway, with the z sound at the end of the article, and the silent t at the end, les haricots sounds to me exactly like l’zydeco; the song, then, is proclaiming that it’s the zydeco music at the ball that ain’t salty.

Again, I have no idea if this is a deliberate pun, a pleasant accident, or a sort of mondegreen. I suspect it’s a deliberate pun, because I like it better that way.

Tolerabimus quod tolerare debemus,