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Iry LeJeune
Iry LeJune

Iry LeJeune was born in 1928, in Pointe Noir, Louisiana. Nearly blind from birth, LeJeune spent much of his time growing up at Angelas LeJeune's house, his cousin who happened to be a fine accordion player. LeJeune developed a passion for the accordion, and especially loved the recordings of the black accordion player Amedee Ardoin, whose influence can be heard in LeJeune's songs.

Eddie Shuler first met Iry LeJeune at Lake Charles radio station KPLC in 1946 where Shuler was playing four shows a week. Shuler allowed LeJeune to play one of his shows, but the station manager was horrified at the piercing vocals and rough style of the Cajun accordion music LeJeune played. Shuler, however, liked the music, and when LeJeune approached him several years later after recording "Lovebridge Waltz" on the Opera label, Eddie Shuler began to record him. In 1949, Shuler released his first 78 record of Iry LeJeune on a label he named Folk Star. The songs were "LaCassine Special" and "Calcasieu Waltz," and it "sold like crazy."

Making records of Iry LeJeune was the real start of Eddie Shuler's record producing career. Many of the recordings were made before Eddie Shuler even had a proper studio. At first, Shuler cut many of LeJeune's recordings on 78 acetate discs at local radio stations. Around 1950, he purchased a tape recorder, and they made recordings in the kitchen of Iry LeJeune's home.

Iry LeJeune learned to play accordion during a time when the string band sound reigned supreme in Cajun music. The recordings that Shuler made of Iry LeJeune reintroduced the accordion sound, and shepherded in a new era in Cajun music in which the accordion once more gained an audience. Both Iry LeJeune and the many songs he wrote became highly popular, and are considered Cajun "classics" today.

Iry LeJeune died tragically in a highway accident at the peak of his career in 1955. When Eddie Shuler reflects on his many years at Goldband, he especially thinks of LeJeune: "Above all I helped a little guy named Iry LeJeune leave his wonderful talent on record for the world. I will be forever indebted to that man and the faith he had in me."


Selected Recordings by Iry LeJeune
FC-11971 /
Swampland Jewels

FC-11971

FC-11971

"Evangeline Special"
FC-12539 /
The Legendary Iry Lejune Volume One

FC-12539

FC-12539

"I Went to the Dance"
"Le Valse de Grande Chemin"
"Church Point Breakdown"
"Come and Get Me"
"Catch My Hat"
"I Made a Big Mistake"
"Lacassine Special"
"Convict Waltz"
"Don't Get Married"
"It Happened to Me"
"Parting Waltz"
78-18133 /
"I Made a Big Mistake" b/w "Come and Get Me"
78-18133

"I Made a Big Mistake"
"Come and Get Me"
78-18142 /
"Teche Special" b/w "Te Mone"
78-18142

"Teche Special"
"Te Mone"
78-18143 /
"Calcasieu Waltz" b/w "Lacassine Special"
78-18143

"Calcasieu Waltz" / streaming mp3 * streaming realaudio
"Lacassine Special" / streaming mp3 * streaming realaudio
   
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URL: http://www.lib.unc.edu/wilson/sfc/goldband/artists/iry_lejeune
Last Update: Mon Jan 29 18:29:35 2001
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