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Happy Fats & His Rayne-Bo Ramblers:
Leroy "Happy Fats" LeBlanc & His Rayne-Bo Ramblers
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Description Happy Fats LeBlanc and his Rayne Bo Ramblers are generally, but arguably unfairly, overshadowed among the South Louisiana string bands that straddled the fence between Western Swing and more traditional Cajun sounds in the 1930s-40s by their contemporaries the Hackberry Ramblers, as well as by their own alumnus, Harry Choates. They lacked the former’s incredible longevity and lacked Choates’ colorful and tragic story, but Happy Fats was in his day one of the most important and successful Cajun bandleaders, a well-known and popular performer along the Gulf Coast for several decades. His band included in its ranks of legendary Cajun musicians, as well as a few unsung heroes.

A few of the Rayne Bo Ramblers’ 1930s-40s recordings have seen reissue over the years and recently, via collections devoted to Harry Choates’ recordings issued by Krazy Kat and Bear Family, the entire February 1940 session at which Choates’ made his recording debut has been reissued. This CD gathers 25 tracks from Happy Fats and the Ramblers’ classic era from 1938-1949, focusing in particular on two full sessions that bookended the US involvement in World War II, from 1941 & 1946. In addition to the leader on bass (and sometimes guitar) and vocal, this collection includes such key performers as fiddlers Oran “Doc” Guidry and Andrus “Uncle Ambrose” Thibodeaux, steel guitarist Julius “Papa Cairo” Lamperez, and guitarist-vocalist Francis “Red” Fabacher. It displays the common tendency among the Cajun country dance bands of the time to split repertoire between straight hillbilly and Western Swing sung in English and more traditional Cajun fare sung in Franch, but it is also, particularly in the earliest recordings from 1938, finds the bands combining these elements, with French language versions of both hits in the new Southwestern hot string band style (Le Vieux Two Step Francis, a version of Bob Wills’ first hit Spanish Two-Step that gave what was until then strictly an instrumental a vocal treatment seven years before Wills’ own vocal remake) and jazz standards (Tiger Rag as Chan Se Tige).
Track Listing Ma Belle Mellina
Se Mallereaux
Chan Se Tige
Est Ce que Tu M’Aimes
Memoire De Mom
La Vieux Two-Step Francais
Aux Bal Se Te Maurice
Su Parti A La Maison
Jolie Schvr Rouge (Pretty Red Hair)
Alon’s Rendezvous
Te Kaplan
In The House At The End Of The Road
When The Weeping Willow Smiles
I’m Not Sorry Now
If I Ever Leave The South
Le Nuevo Te Maurice
Cajun Jitterbug
Sweet Southern Azalea
The Widow’s Lament
Cajun Boogie
Coosh Mal
Le Valse De Bosco
Les Veuve A Kit La Coulee
Happy Birthday
I Loved You Once Before
Audio Samples Ma Belle Mellina
Se Mallereaux
Chan Se Tige
Est Ce que Tu M’Aimes
Memoire De Mom
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Label BACM - British Archive Of Country Music
Number 265
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