Derived from a Cajun colloquialism meaning "Don't drop the potato" or "Hang on in there!", Lache Pas La Patate was a big 1974 hit for Jimmy C Newman in Louisiana and Canada. This is the first time this important Cajun record has been reissued, and for good measure we have the original recording in Cajun French and the subsequent hit version in English. If any one record triggered the current prosperity in Cajun music, this is it.
The hit also sparked a revival in Jimmy C Newman's own career. During the 50s and the 60s he was one of the mainstays of the Nashville music scene, racking up more than 30 country hits for Dot, MGM and Decca and having a big pop hit with A Fallen Star on Dot in 1957. Only rarely did his Cajun music roots surface during this period. Such benign neglect was well and truly remedied with the session for La Louisianne Records of Lafayette which manifested itself as the LP, Jimmy C Newman Sings Cajun. Lache Pas La Patate apart, the album comprised well-loved traditional songs such as Jolie Blonde, Allons A Lafayette and Hippy-Ty-Yo. All 12 LP tracks are included here and feature the fluent fiddle of Jimmy's long-time bandleader Rufus Thibodeaux.
Indeed, the fiddle work throughout this CD is quite outstanding. Rufus Thibodeaux has his own instrumentals, as does the late, great Doc Guidry who also dispenses two vocals. Both men accompany the delightful twin-fiddle style, of an in-form Vin Bruce, still one of the most popular Cajun vocalists in the bayou areas of Southeast Louisiana.
For once there is not an accordion in sight - just beautiful string music in the tradition of Leo Soileau, Happy Fats and Harry Choates. Notewriter Chris Hall (the BBC Radio 2 Cajun presenter and an accordionist himself) welcomes this respite from the squeeze box: Who needs to interrupt the flow with all that pushing and pulling when artists of this calibre are at work! A must for all lovers of Cajun and fiddle music, and the many fans of Jimmy C Newman, let alone the legion of Cajun dancers.
by John Broven