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The life and legacy of the legendary Cajun accordionist, Iry Lejeune, from the memories of those who knew him.
The life and legacy of the legendary Cajun accordionist, Iry Lejeune, from the memories of those musicians, friends, and relatives who knew and loved him. Included are photos and excerpts on his first musical experiences, life at the School for the Blind, the Oklahoma Tornadoes, courtship and marriage, Eddie Shuler and Goldband Records, the Musical Aces, the Lacassine Playboys, the Calcasieu Playboys, and October 8, 1955. Numerous photos of Iry and his musical family are included.
Added features include a foreword by Ryan A. Brasseaux and articles on Iry LeJune, Jr., Ã¢â‚“Iry's Accordion StyleÃ¢â‚¬Â by Chris Miller, Ã¢â‚“Country Dances with AmedéÃ¢â‚¬Â by Milton Vanicor, and translations of Iry's recorded works, Ã¢â‚“In IryÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s WordsÃ¢â‚¬Â, by Jeanette Aguillard with David and Simone Marcantel. Hardcover, 164 pages.
Milton recalls playing at Jones Bar on 171 near English Bayou north of Lake Charles. He said you had to drive down the hill and the owner had put some tree trunks at the bottom to keep the cars from running off the bank and into the Calcasieu River. On this particular night, Iry began to complain that he was sitting too low on the
bandstand. Orsy was sitting down playing the steel, Asa was sitting down in the back playing the drums, and Ellis, Milton, and Ivy were
standing while they played. Iry complained that no one could see him because he was sitting too low. Iry said he'd like to be the same height as everyone else but he couldn't play standing up. They came upon the idea of stacking "Coke" flats high enough that he'd appear taller. They stacked them and put his chair in the middle of the two stacks. The legs of the chair were placed in the holes where the cokes fit.
He was now the same height as the others and he was happy. Milton told him, "Now that you're up there, play the 'Lacassine Special'. Man, he got on that thing. Everybody that was dancing stopped, you know, they came to the bandstand to hear." Milton said when Iry's hair flopped down in front of his eyes; it meant he was really getting into the music. He began rocking back and forth and before long the boxes started moving and opening up. All of a sudden on one backward sway he kept going and wound up on the floor. "Ellis always said he didn't stop, but he did. He did stop a little while. He fell on his back, and boy, he got on that 'Lacassine Special' layin' downÃ¢â‚¬Â¦We had fun." (8, 50)
Fiddle Country Publishing
Ron Yule has quietly been doing some of the most important research on Louisiana music for many years. This biography of the legendary Iry Lejuene shows us just how much. We learn, for the first time, that far from honing his skills in isolation, Iry Lejuene was well aware of the broader music world and even performed in New Orleans during the city's hillbilly heyday of World War II. The importance of his family shines in this work as well. Ron Yule has written a sensitive portrayal of the accordionist, letting the reader come to know Iry through the voices of his friends and family.
Kevin S. Fontenot
Ron Yule's Iry Lejeune: Wailin' The Blues, Cajun Style brings to the reader the great artists characteristics and facts about his short life known only by a few. His great musical talent; generosity; vanity; temper; the abuse he received from people he knew, as well as strangers, because of his physical handicap; abject poverty; his great love for his family and friends; and his over-indulgence of the fruit of the vine are all revealed with no holds barred. This is a most important manuscript of a Louisiana artist whose music style continues to influence young musicians today more than half a century after his passing.
KRVS Radio, Lafayette
Book Publisher: Edwards Bros / Fiddle Country Publishing
No. of Pages: 164
Paper Weight (lb): 70 lb
Illustrations (B&W): 92
Dust Cover: Yes
Coated Paper: Yes