“OLD MUSIC IN THE NEW WEST” DESERT STOMPS, CAJUN ROMPS AND SONGS FOR MODERN COWGIRLS AND VAQUEROS.
Ken Keppeler and Jeanie McLerie are joined by special guests Antonia Apodaca, the Frannie Leopold, and Paul Rangell and the Bayou Seco Band.
This music is ancient. Old symbols have been preserved on rock walls, but old tunes have been kept alive in the hands and minds of the musicians and passed on, over the generations, by ear. The tunes are out there in the cosmos, constantly flying through the airwaves, waiting to be lassoed in and spun out through savvy fingers. Dennis McGee used to say, “I feel one coming in now,m” and that’s exactly how it is. Saddle up your old Ford, buckle up tight and get ready for a wild, tune wrangling ride across the deserts, mountains, across the deserts, mountains, plains and bayous.
This collection of music is dedicated to all the musicians we have learned from and played with over the years: Dennis McGee; Canray Fontenot; Alphonse Ardoin; Maurice Berzas; Raymond Francois; Wallace ‘Cheese’ Read; D.L. Menard;Marc Savoy; Cleofes Ortiz; Antonia Apodaca; Alfredo Vigil; Bonnie Apodaca; Elliott Johnson; Robert J. Keppeler; Susie McLerie; and many others.
1. Valse a Mexico/Old Fashioned Two-step -(4:11)
2. Un Soir – (3:39)
3. Same Old Moon – (3:18)
4. First Choice Two-step – (2:57)
5. Rio Frio Medley – (4:15)
6. Palomita Que Vienes Herida/Goosen – (3:25)
7. Flor de las Flores – (4:29)
8. Polka Malabuski – (3:14)
9. Lonesome Cowgirl’s Blues – (3:13)
10. Caballo Bronco/La Favorita – (4:14)
11. Valse a Ballot – (2:39)
12. La Vaquera/Valse a Vachers – (2:58)
13. Elliott’s Special – (4:01)
14. Mary Johnson’s Chotis/Blackie’s Polka – (3:56)
15. Fleurs de la Jeunesse – (3:12)
16. Canray’s Copenhagen – (3:05)
17. Mad Cowboy Love – (3:52)
18. Peanut Shoes/Purple Lillies Polka – (4:16)
Total Time (65:52)
All Songs and Tunes are traditional unless noted, others used with permission,
all arangements ©1995 Buvette Music (BMI)
1. Valse a Mexico/Old Fashioned Two-step – The waltz is from Moise Robin and the two step is from Maurice Berzas. Ken added parts two and three. When we left Louisiana for New Mexico in 1980, many of our Cajun friends thought we had moved to Mexico. Thanks to the Cajun dance craze, there’s lots of work for Cajun bands all over the world, though we still prefer the old fashioned two step.
2. Un Soir – A Haitien meringue learned from the playing of Fabre and Arthur Duroseau on a 10” Folkways record that Hoyle Osborne turned our ears toward. We have infused it with the spirit of chile verde.
3. Same Old Moon – Jeanie started to write this Delmoresque song because she was lonesome for Ken. It was 1979 and she and Frannie were recording the Delta Sister’s “Music from the Old Timey Hotel.” Frannie helped her finish the song in 1994.
4. First Choice – A wonderful early chicken scratch tune from Elliott Johnson, of Cababi, Arizona, and the Gu-Achi Fiddlers – Tohono O’Odham music from the Sonora Desert. Over two hundred years ago, early missionaries taught these Native American people how to play fiddles. The music has a great sense of timing and harmony, reminiscent of the hot, scintillating desert.
5. Rio Frio Medley – A cold river flows down to the hot bayou. The 2nd tune is the ‘Great Big White Tortilla,’ from Elliott Johnson. The last tune is the ‘Perrodin Two-step,’ learned from Raymond François in 1972 in Eunice, La.
6. Palomita Que Vienes Herida/Goosen – The first tune (Little Dove That Comes To Me Wounded) is from Celau Trujillo and Fidel Romero, of La Jara, New Mexico (recorded in 1944 by John Donald Robb). Goosen is from the White Mountain Orchestra, from the border of Arizona and New Mexico. Bob Bovee sent us a tape of this from a very scratchy old 78 rpm record.
7. Flor de las Flores (Flower of the Flowers) – A very popular song all over New Mexico. Antonia sings it so beautifully and plays great lead guitar.
1. Flor de las flores, flor de mi amor,
Ven te con migo y dame tu amor.(2x)
Duerme, (or vuelve) vien de mi vida, la duena de mis amores.
Y ven, y ven, flor de las flores, y ven hacer me feliz.
2. Yo fui a tu casa, y no te vi,
quien me lo manda, yo me dormí.(2x)
3. Si te preguntan, si te amo yo,
pronto contesta y diles que no. (2x)
Vuelve, vien de mi vida, la duena de mis amores,
Ven y ven, flor de las flores, y ven hacer me feliz.
4. Si te preguntan, si te amo a ti,
pronto contesta y diles que sí. (2x)
5. Yo fui a tu casa, tu mama salió,
sale tu padre y me regalió. (2x)
Translation: Flower of the flowers, Flower of my love
Come with me and give me your love.
Sleep, come my life, keeper of my love,
Come, flower of the flowers, Come and make me happy.
I went to your house and I didn’t see you.
Someone said I missed you because I was sleeping.
If you ask me if you love me, I will say of course
If you ask me if you love me, I will say YES.
I went to your house and your Mama came out,
Then your Papa came out and entertained me.
8. Polka Malibuski – Ken wrote this, while homesick for New Mexico, at Elaine Weissman’s New Years Music Camp in Malibu, CA. He recalled the first part from his youth and recreated it, composing the 2nd and 3rd parts to fill it out.
9. Lonesome Cowgirl’s Blues – Jeanie wrote this Zydeco cowgirl song for all our ranching friends and cowboy/ cowgirl poets, who love our Cajun music but can’t understand the lyrics.
10. Caballo Bronco/La Favorita – The 1st song is a version of the old cowboy song, ‘The Strawberry Roan,’ usually credited to Curly Fletcher. We learned it from Peter Marquez, who learned from his Tio Ernesto, while moving cattle on the Rio Conejo in southern Colorado. Cleofes Ortiz had suffered several strokes by the time we were able to record him and was unable to play a version of La Favorita that was up to his standards. Ken tries to play it here the way Cleofes played when we first met him in 1984.
11. Valse a Ballot – The teetering, tottering, rocking, reeling, and wobbling waltz that we learned from Dennis McGee on the back porch of the Buvette, where we lived in Louisiana.
12. La Vaquera/Valse a Vachers – The New Mexican cowgirl meets the Cajun cowboy. The 1st tune is an old New
Mexican Chotis we learned from Cleofes Ortiz. It was also played as a jig (Uncle Manuel Milked the Cow) by Rufus Quinchard, from Newfoundland, Canada. The 2nd waltz we learned from Dennis McGee: “I got my lasso in hand and my spurs on, my horse is all saddled and I’m ready to go tend the cows, but I’ll be alone and miserable.”
13. Elliott’s Special – The first tune is from Elliott Johnson. It was so reminiscent of a Cajun two-time waltz that we decided to put it together with the Oakdale Waltz, which we had learned from Wallace “Cheese’ Read. Jeanie wrote the words for the Oakdale Waltz.
14. Mary Johnson’s Chotis/Blackie’s Polka – We learned
both of these tunes from Elliott Johnson. We named the
first one for his cousin, Mary, whose father taught Elliott to
play fiddle. The 19 measures in each part is easily danced as a two-step. Blackie’s Polka was Elliott’s favorite tune. We played it at his memorial and dedicate it here to his lovely wife, Nancy, who has now joined Elliott in the afterlife.
15. La Fleur de la Jeunesse – Jeanie learned this song from Lula Landry, of Abbeville, Louisiana. “Goodbye flower of youth, noble quality of life, today I leave you. Today my head is crowned and my heart is carried in a bouquet. You can call me Madame because I have a ring on my finger and I willl make the vow to spend the rest of my days with you.”
16. Canray’s Copenhagen – Canray Fontenot learned this tune in Copenhagen from a Turkish fellow, who said it was from the Caribbean. Canray has played it a number of different ways and we put them together to regularize it.
17. Mad Cowboy Love – Terry Bluhm has been singing this song for a long time and we like the sentiment. It was written by Terry’s friend, Lawrence J. Vandenberg.
18. Peanut Shoes/Purple Lillies – Two more gems from Elliott Johnson. Whistle them back into the cosmos.
Ken Keppeler – 1&3 row diatonic accordions, Keppeler violin, harmonica, triangle, & vocals.
Jeanie McLerie – 5-string Keppeler/White violins, guitar,
& vocals. (violins tuned: CGDAE & CFCGD)
Frannie Leopold – guitar & vocals on #3,4,11,13,15,16,17.
Antonia Apodaca – lead guitar and lead vocal on #7.
Paul Rangell – guitarron, mandolin on # 3,5,6,11,13,15,16.
Karl Stalnaker – bass on #2,7,8,9,17.
Terry Bluhm – acoustic gtr. on #2,8,9,17,
lead vocal on #17
Jefferson Voorhees – drums, washboard & congas on #2,4,8,9,14,17,18.
Chris Altenbach – electric guitar on #17.
Scott Mathis – mandolin on #4,14,18.
Linda Askew – guitar on #4,14,18.
All the violins, and the mandolin played by Paul Rangell, were made by Ken Keppeler and Peter White.
This collection of music is dedicated to all the musicians we have learned from and played with over the years:
Dennis McGee; Canray Fontenot; Alphonse Ardoin;
Maurice Berzas; Raymond Francois; Wallace ‘Cheese’ Read; D.L. Menard; Marc Savoy; Cleofes Ortiz; Antonia Apodaca; Alfredo Vigil; Bonnie Apodaca; Elliott Johnson;
Robert J. Keppeler; Susie McLerie; and many others.
Produced by Ken Keppeler and Jeanie McLerie and Manny Rettinger. Digitally recorded on ADAT by Manny Rettinger and engineered by Manny Rettinger and Ken Keppeler at UBIK SOUND, March and April, 1995.
Nos. 1,6,10,12 recorded at Rancho Bayou Seco on a Denon DAT by Ken and Jeanie.
Design and layout by Adam Ford. Cover Art by Ken Keppeler.