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Happy Fats & Rayne-Bo Ramblers

The music of Happy Fats remains instrumental in both of the preservation and celebration of his native Cajun culture, despite the damage inflicted by a series of race-baiting protest records cut at the peak of the civil rights movement. Born Leroy LeBlanc in Rayne, LA, on January 30, 1915, Fats was a self-taught musician who began his professional career at 17 when he began playing accordion in Cajun hillbilly bands led by Amédé Breaux and Joe Falcon. In 1935, he formed his own group, the Rayne-Bo Ramblers, which regularly headlined the local OST Club. Fats signed to RCA Victor in 1936, and in 1940 scored his first significant hit, "La Veuve de la Coulee," which featured then-unknown fiddler Harry Choates. The Rayne-Bo Ramblers also served as a springboard for Cajun accordion legend Nathan Abshire. Other popular Fats recordings include "Colinda," "La Vieux de Accordion," and "Mon Bon Vieux Mari." Few of his efforts earned national attention, but within south Louisiana he was a superstar, and in the early '50s even hosted a weekday morning radio show on Lafayette station KVOL. In 1966, however, Fats was the subject of national controversy when he signed to producer Jay D. Miller's segregationist Reb Rebel label to record the underground smash "Dear Mr. President," a spoken word condemnation of Lyndon Johnson's civil rights policies that sold over 200,000 copies despite its appalling racism. "We didn't have any problems with that, not at all," Fats maintained in an interview. "There wasn't anything violent about it -- it was just a joke. I had a car of black people run me down on the highway one time coming in Lafayette, and they said, 'Are you the fellow that made " Dear Mr. President"?' I said I was, and they said, 'We'd like to buy some records.' They bought about 15 records. There was a big van full of black people and they loved it . . . Either side at that time, they didn't want integration very much. They wanted to go each their own way." The commercial success of "Dear Mr. President" launched a series of similarly poisonous Fats efforts including "Birthday Thank You (Tommy from Viet Nam)," "A Victim of the Big Mess (Called the Great Society)," "The Story of the Po' Folks and the New Dealers," and "Vote Wallace in '72." After a long battle with diabetes, Fats died on February 23, 1988. ~ Jason Ankeny
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: Cajun Capers (Cajun Music 1928 - 1954)

Disc 1

1. Lafayette

3. T'est Petite A Ete T'est Meon

4. Your Father Put Me Out

5. Easy Rider Blues

6. Ma Blonde Est Partie (Jolie Blonde)

7. One Step De Mamou

9. Bayou Pom Pom

10. Oh Bebe

11. Sur Le Chemin Chez Moi

12. Mon Chere Bebe Creole

13. A Mosquito Ate Up My Sweetheart

14. Ma Cherie

15. Belle Of Pont Clare

18. Saute Crapaud!

19. Quelqu'un Est Jaloux

20. Baoille

22. One Step De Chupic

23. Two Step De La Ville Platte

25. One Step D'oberlin

Disc 2

1. Oberlin

2. Aimez-Moi Ce Soir

3. La Valse Du Ballard

4. Si Dur D'etre Seul

5. La Valse D'utah

6. Lonesome Blues

7. 'neath The Weeping Willow Tree

9. French Blues

10. Rayne Breakdown

12. Barroom Blues

13. (My Old Used To Be) Mon Vieux D'autrefois

14. A Little Rendezvous In Honolulu

15. J'ai Pas Bien Fey

16. Just Once More

17. On Top Of The World

18. Vinton High Society

19. Darbone's Creole Stomp

20. Les Blues De Bosco

22. Jolly Boys Breakdown

23. Lake Arthur Stomp

24. Pine Island

25. Wondering

26. Rice City Stomp

Disc 3

1. Fais Pas Ca

2. Jolie Fille

4. Ta Oublis De Vernier

6. Crap Shooter's Hop

7. She's My Flapper She's My Baby

8. La Two Step A Erby

9. Tu Pen Pas Ma Retter De Revere

10. Lake Charles Waltz

12. Tu Peus Pas Me Fair Ce

13. Gran Prairie

15. Lake Charles Shuffle

16. Les Tete Fille Lafayette

17. The Old Ice Man

18. Jole Blon

20. Poor Hobo

21. Nobody Cares For Me

22. Old Cow Blues

24. You Just Wait And See

25. Lacassine Special

26. Orphan Waltz

Disc 4

1. Jolie Blon's Gone

3. Pine Grove Blues

5. Gra Mamou

8. Mamou Two Step

10. Fille De La Ville

11. Korea Blues

12. Big Mamou

13. Dans La Louisianne

14. Jolie Brun

15. Cry Cry Darling

16. Lafayette Two Step

18. Port Arthur Boogie

19. Along The Bayou

20. Louisiana Stomp

22. Why Did You Let Me Love You

23. Diggy Liggy Lo

24. Cajun Love

25. Kajalena

28. Jambalaya

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