Sunday, June 29, 2014

Whoo-eee! Johnny Like Dat! Marce LaCouture and l'Orange

When I lived in New Orleans, late Sunday mornings belonged to Johnny Fasullo. He was a DJ on WWOZ, and called himself "the Ragin' Cajun!" We would get up and head from our house over to the Loyola University chapel for Mass, and when we came out and drove home, Johnny would be tearing up the airwaves. He'd play all the Cajun music he liked, and I remember he had a big thing for a little 12 year old girl, Amanda Shaw, who had released a song with her band The Cute Guys. The song was Little Black Dog, and she played fiddle and sang. After the song was over, Johnny would come back on the air, voice full of emotion, and say how impressed he was with "dat leel girl, oh Johnny like dat!" I associate Johnny with spring and summer late mornings, driving home along Carrollton Avenue, and stopping by the truck where the nice old man sold satsumas in the shade of a live oak tree, while Johnny spun Cajun songs. Johnny Fasullo died in 2005, but I can still hear his voice, and when a Cajun song comes on, I always think that Johnny would like dat!

Johnny would have liked a song like l'Oranger by Marce LaCouture.  She is an American folk and Cajun musician who grew up in Texas and Louisiana.  She started out in folk and rock bands in Austin, and did a two album collaboration with Butch Hancock.  One of her songs from this period, So I'll Run, is featured in Nick Hornby's book 31 Songs, where the author writes about songs that have particular special meaning and emotional resonance to him.  He saw her perform in north London, and the song made a huge impression on him.  LaCouture began to explore Cajun music and heritage in Louisiana in the 1980s.  She found mentors in Lula Landry and Inez Catalon, with whom she apprenticed.  Her first Cajun album was La Joie Cadienne, released in 2000 and re-released in 2004, and from which l'Oranger is the opening song. You can also find l'Oranger on Putumayo Presents: Cajun.