60 “I Woke Up One Morning In May“ by Didier Hébert

11

January 10, 2012 by gadaya

Didier Hébert (misspelled Herbert on the recording and on the Anthology) was a blind guitarist from Louisiana who accompanied the accordeon player Dewey Segura on one recording session on December 10, 1929. The two men recorded three Cajun numbers together and Hébert recorded one solo song, “I Woke Up One Morning in May“, a cajun lament in french of a woman that married a gambling and drinking man who abandon her and their children.

Didier Hébert  “I Woke Up One Morning in May“

Here are the lyrics of the song in french, followed by an english traduction (thanks to the Mudcat Cafe):

Je me suis levé matin dans Mai
Mais bien de bon matin
C’était pour passer
Mais un beau jour dans ma vie.

Oh j’ai trouvé mon père en train de pleurer,
Ma mère qui pleurait dans ses bras.
C’est adieu pour longtemps,
Je me donnes à un jeune garçon.

Oh moi je l’aimais beaucoup,
Beaucoup plus que ma vie.
Il m’avait fait une promesse,
Et cette promesse c’est d’être sa femme

Oh j’ons ferait des enfants,
Il m’a quitté d’un abandon;
Moi bien malade dans mon lit,
Et mes enfants là crèvent de faim

Et mon mari à la table après gambler,
Et moi je ne souhaît que la mort;
C’est tous ces jeunes bébés, grand Dieu,
Dans les jambes de moi

Oh mettez-vous tous vous autres à méfier
De tous ces jeunes garçons;
Ça, ça conte autant de menteries
Qu’en a d’étoiles dans le ciel.

Oh depuis dans l’âge de quatorze ans
J’après misèré avec toi,
Et dès de jour en jour
Mais moi je m’en vas dans l’abandon.

Oh moi je connais je m’en vas dans ces grands chemins,
Misereux moi toute seule,
Et dès je suis une délaissée
Mais que personne en veut de moi.

I woke up one morning in May, very early;
It was to spend a fine day of my life.

Oh I found my father crying, my mother crying in his arms.
Farewell for a long time, I’m giving myself to a young man.

Oh I loved him very much, much more than my life.
He made me a promise that I was his wife.

Oh we had children, he left me a year ago nevertheless.
Me sick in bed, and my children dying of hunger;

And my husband in the tavern gambling, and I just wish I was dead;
It’s all those young babies, great God, around my legs.

All you girls, don’t trust those young men —
They tell as many lies as there are stars in the sky.

When I was fourteen years old, I was always with you;
Since then, from day to day I’m left more alone.

Oh I know I’m going on the highways, I’ll be there all alone,
And since I’m a deserted wife, I wish someone would make me a widow

Hébert’s performance of the song may seems strangely out of tune, especially to modern ears but I think it fits the   song quite well and has a certain haunting charm to it. I can really hear the despair of the woman in Hébert’s voice…

A similar cajun song was recorded the same year (1929) by another blind guitar player from Louisiana, Blind Uncle Gaspard with fiddler Delma Lachney. (Go to this post to hear more of Delma Lachney and Blind Uncle Gaspard’s music) Also in waltz time, the song was called “Le Bébé et le Gambleur“ 

Here’s a modern recording of the song (followed by the “Happy One-Step“) by The Savoy/Doucet Family on their cd « Home Music With Spirits »:

Here are the lyrics, followed by an english traduction:

Mon bébé est malade couché dans le lit
Mon mari au gamblage ce soir surement.
Il m’a dit des menteries autant qu'(il y a d)es étoiles. (2x)

Juste avant j’suis mariée
Mes joues étaient roses
Et après j’suis mariée
(Ils) sont plus vertes que des choux
Ma maman m’a dit, “Quo’ faire fu me quittes
Ma chère ‘tite fille pour te marier?”
J’ai répondu, “Ouais, ma chère maman,
Mais tu connais, donc, que je l’aime trop gros.”

Mais surement, si j’aurais connu tout ça,
Mais j’aurais écouté ma chère maman.
Mon bébé est malade, il pleur dans le lit,
Il appelle pour toi mais tu viens pas à lui.

———

My baby is sick, bedded down in his bed
My husband is out gambling, surely.
He told me more lies than there are stars. (2x)

Just before I got married my cheeks were pink
And since I’m married they are greener than cabbage
My mama said to me, “Why are you leaving me,
My dear little girl, to get married?”
I answered, “Dear mama,
But you know that I love him too much.”

Surely if I had known all this
I would have listened to my dear mother.
My baby is sick, he is crying in the bed,
He’s crying for you but you won’t come to see him.

Didier Hébert and Blind Uncle Gaspard represent an older tradition of Cajun musicians that sang old songs and ballads, so rarely heard on recordings. For more of this, be sure to get the cd compilation issued by Yazoo Records called “Early American Cajun Music“ that feature other recordings by Blind Uncle Gaspard, Delma Lachney and John Bertrand.

Here are the three recordings made by Dewey Segura with Didier Hébert on guitar for Columbia Records in December 1929:

  1. Rosalia
  2. T’es Petite, t’es mignonne (You’re small and sweet)
  3. Far Away from Home Blues

11 thoughts on “60 “I Woke Up One Morning In May“ by Didier Hébert

  1. Marc says:

    Continue to really enjoy your site. Just wanted you to know that I Woke Up One Morning In May arrives as something called an octet stream rather than an archive file (as usual). I think this happened once before with one of your posts and you were able to fix it. Thanks again for everything.

  2. For some time now, the downloads are not working. A file is downloaded, but when I try to unzip it (I have WinZip Pro) I get only error messages. It’s very disappointing. I do enjoy the blog posts.

    • Uncle Bud says:

      Auntie, try using jZip (it’s a free download). Then just extract the individual files rather than an entire folder. That will bypass the invalid characters in the folder name.
      -Uncle Bud

  3. Uncle Bud says:

    Love the blog. Your dedication to this music is inspiring. Your extra info and insights are greatly appreciated.

    Wondering what happened to the bulk downloads via the butterfly image. They seemed to have stopped at #58. Miss them tremendously; hope they will resume.

    • gadaya says:

      Another download mystery for me because I tried the links on my computer and everything works fine. So what happens?

      • Chris Barry says:

        The Didier Hebert post produces the following errors when I try to unzip:
        ! C:\Documents and Settings\Chris\My Documents\Downloads\OldWeirdAmerica\Didier Hébert.zip: Cannot create folder Didier Hébert “I Woke Up One Morning in May”
        The filename, directory name, or volume label syntax is incorrect.
        ! C:\Documents and Settings\Chris\My Documents\Downloads\OldWeirdAmerica\Didier Hébert.zip: Cannot create Didier Hébert “I Woke Up One Morning in May”\.DS_Store
        The filename, directory name, or volume label syntax is incorrect.
        ! C:\Documents and Settings\Chris\My Documents\Downloads\OldWeirdAmerica\Didier Hébert.zip: Attempting to correct the invalid file name
        ! C:\Documents and Settings\Chris\My Documents\Downloads\OldWeirdAmerica\Didier Hébert.zip: Renaming Didier Hébert “I Woke Up One Morning in May”\.DS_Store to Didier Hébert “I Woke Up One Morning in May_\.DS_Store
        ! C:\Documents and Settings\Chris\My Documents\Downloads\OldWeirdAmerica\Didier Hébert.zip: Cannot create folder __MACOSX\Didier Hébert “I Woke Up One Morning in May”
        The filename, directory name, or volume label syntax is incorrect.
        ! C:\Documents and Settings\Chris\My Documents\Downloads\OldWeirdAmerica\Didier Hébert.zip: Cannot create __MACOSX\Didier Hébert “I Woke Up One Morning in May”\._.DS_Store
        The filename, directory name, or volume label syntax is incorrect.
        ! C:\Documents and Settings\Chris\My Documents\Downloads\OldWeirdAmerica\Didier Hébert.zip: Attempting to correct the invalid file name
        ! C:\Documents and Settings\Chris\My Documents\Downloads\OldWeirdAmerica\Didier Hébert.zip: Renaming __MACOSX\Didier Hébert “I Woke Up One Morning in May”\._.DS_Store to __MACOSX\Didier Hébert “I Woke Up One Morning in May_\._.DS_Store
        ! C:\Documents and Settings\Chris\My Documents\Downloads\OldWeirdAmerica\Didier Hébert.zip: Cannot create Didier Hébert “I Woke Up One Morning in May”1 Le Bebe Et Le Gambleur (The Baby And The Gambler).mp3
        The filename, directory name, or volume label syntax is incorrect.
        ! C:\Documents and Settings\Chris\My Documents\Downloads\OldWeirdAmerica\Didier Hébert.zip: Attempting to correct the invalid file name
        ! C:\Documents and Settings\Chris\My Documents\Downloads\OldWeirdAmerica\Didier Hébert.zip: Renaming Didier Hébert “I Woke Up One Morning in May”1 Le Bebe Et Le Gambleur (The Baby And The Gambler).mp3 to Didier Hébert “I Woke Up One Morning in May_1 Le Bebe Et Le Gambleur (The Baby And The Gambler).mp3
        ! C:\Documents and Settings\Chris\My Documents\Downloads\OldWeirdAmerica\Didier Hébert.zip: Cannot create __MACOSX\Didier Hébert “I Woke Up One Morning in May”\._01 Le Bebe Et Le Gambleur (The Baby And The Gambler).mp3
        The filename, directory name, or volume label syntax is incorrect.
        ! C:\Documents and Settings\Chris\My Documents\Downloads\OldWeirdAmerica\Didier Hébert.zip: Attempting to correct the invalid file name
        ! C:\Documents and Settings\Chris\My Documents\Downloads\OldWeirdAmerica\Didier Hébert.zip: Renaming __MACOSX\Didier Hébert “I Woke Up One Morning in May”\._01 Le Bebe Et Le Gambleur (The Baby And The Gambler).mp3 to __MACOSX\Didier Hébert “I Woke Up One Morning in May_\._01 Le Bebe Et Le Gambleur (The Baby And The Gambler).mp3
        ! C:\Documents and Settings\Chris\My Documents\Downloads\OldWeirdAmerica\Didier Hébert.zip: Cannot create Didier Hébert “I Woke Up One Morning in May”6 Baby and the Gambler _ the Happy One-Step.mp3
        The filename, directory name, or volume label syntax is incorrect.
        ! C:\Documents and Settings\Chris\My Documents\Downloads\OldWeirdAmerica\Didier Hébert.zip: Attempting to correct the invalid file name
        ! C:\Documents and Settings\Chris\My Documents\Downloads\OldWeirdAmerica\Didier Hébert.zip: Renaming Didier Hébert “I Woke Up One Morning in May”6 Baby and the Gambler _ the Happy One-Step.mp3 to Didier Hébert “I Woke Up One Morning in May_6 Baby and the Gambler _ the Happy One-Step.mp3
        ! C:\Documents and Settings\Chris\My Documents\Downloads\OldWeirdAmerica\Didier Hébert.zip: Cannot create __MACOSX\Didier Hébert “I Woke Up One Morning in May”\._06 Baby and the Gambler _ the Happy One-Step.mp3
        The filename, directory name, or volume label syntax is incorrect.
        ! C:\Documents and Settings\Chris\My Documents\Downloads\OldWeirdAmerica\Didier Hébert.zip: Attempting to correct the invalid file name
        ! C:\Documents and Settings\Chris\My Documents\Downloads\OldWeirdAmerica\Didier Hébert.zip: Renaming __MACOSX\Didier Hébert “I Woke Up One Morning in May”\._06 Baby and the Gambler _ the Happy One-Step.mp3 to __MACOSX\Didier Hébert “I Woke Up One Morning in May_\._06 Baby and the Gambler _ the Happy One-Step.mp3
        ! C:\Documents and Settings\Chris\My Documents\Downloads\OldWeirdAmerica\Didier Hébert.zip: Cannot create Didier Hébert “I Woke Up One Morning in May”7 Rosalia.mp3
        The filename, directory name, or volume label syntax is incorrect.
        ! C:\Documents and Settings\Chris\My Documents\Downloads\OldWeirdAmerica\Didier Hébert.zip: Attempting to correct the invalid file name
        ! C:\Documents and Settings\Chris\My Documents\Downloads\OldWeirdAmerica\Didier Hébert.zip: Renaming Didier Hébert “I Woke Up One Morning in May”7 Rosalia.mp3 to Didier Hébert “I Woke Up One Morning in May_7 Rosalia.mp3
        ! C:\Documents and Settings\Chris\My Documents\Downloads\OldWeirdAmerica\Didier Hébert.zip: Cannot create Didier Hébert “I Woke Up One Morning in May”8 You’re Small And Sweet.mp3
        The filename, directory name, or volume label syntax is incorrect.
        ! C:\Documents and Settings\Chris\My Documents\Downloads\OldWeirdAmerica\Didier Hébert.zip: Attempting to correct the invalid file name
        ! C:\Documents and Settings\Chris\My Documents\Downloads\OldWeirdAmerica\Didier Hébert.zip: Renaming Didier Hébert “I Woke Up One Morning in May”8 You’re Small And Sweet.mp3 to Didier Hébert “I Woke Up One Morning in May_8 You’re Small And Sweet.mp3
        ! C:\Documents and Settings\Chris\My Documents\Downloads\OldWeirdAmerica\Didier Hébert.zip: Cannot create Didier Hébert “I Woke Up One Morning in May”9 Far Away From Home Blues.mp3
        The filename, directory name, or volume label syntax is incorrect.
        ! C:\Documents and Settings\Chris\My Documents\Downloads\OldWeirdAmerica\Didier Hébert.zip: Attempting to correct the invalid file name
        ! C:\Documents and Settings\Chris\My Documents\Downloads\OldWeirdAmerica\Didier Hébert.zip: Renaming Didier Hébert “I Woke Up One Morning in May”9 Far Away From Home Blues.mp3 to Didier Hébert “I Woke Up One Morning in May_9 Far Away From Home Blues.mp3
        ! C:\Documents and Settings\Chris\My Documents\Downloads\OldWeirdAmerica\Didier Hébert.zip: Cannot create Didier Hébert “I Woke Up One Morning in May”\5-04 I Woke Up One Morning In May.mp3
        The filename, directory name, or volume label syntax is incorrect.
        ! C:\Documents and Settings\Chris\My Documents\Downloads\OldWeirdAmerica\Didier Hébert.zip: Attempting to correct the invalid file name
        ! C:\Documents and Settings\Chris\My Documents\Downloads\OldWeirdAmerica\Didier Hébert.zip: Renaming Didier Hébert “I Woke Up One Morning in May”\5-04 I Woke Up One Morning In May.mp3 to Didier Hébert “I Woke Up One Morning in May_\5-04 I Woke Up One Morning In May.mp3
        ! C:\Documents and Settings\Chris\My Documents\Downloads\OldWeirdAmerica\Didier Hébert.zip: Cannot create __MACOSX\Didier Hébert “I Woke Up One Morning in May”\._5-04 I Woke Up One Morning In May.mp3
        The filename, directory name, or volume label syntax is incorrect.
        ! C:\Documents and Settings\Chris\My Documents\Downloads\OldWeirdAmerica\Didier Hébert.zip: Attempting to correct the invalid file name
        ! C:\Documents and Settings\Chris\My Documents\Downloads\OldWeirdAmerica\Didier Hébert.zip: Renaming __MACOSX\Didier Hébert “I Woke Up One Morning in May”\._5-04 I Woke Up One Morning In May.mp3 to __MACOSX\Didier Hébert “I Woke Up One Morning in May_\._5-04 I Woke Up One Morning In May.mp3

      • Uncle Bud says:

        It was a Flash problem; don’t know why it started on 59, but it’s fixed now. Thanks!

  4. Chris Barry says:

    Sorry for the excessive length. I should have trimmed it down. It does unzip some of the files. I got the following:
    01 Le Bebe Et Le Gambleur (The Baby And The Gambler).mp3
    5-04 I Woke Up One Morning In May.mp3
    06 Baby and the Gambler _ the Happy One-Step.mp3
    07 Rosalia.mp3
    08 You’re Small And Sweet.mp3
    09 Far Away From Home Blues.mp3

    Hope this helps! I love the blog and look forward to the new releases.

    • Uncle Bud says:

      Chris, I think you got all of them. The voluminous, redundant error messages were caused by invalid characters in the folder name. Lost in translation, so to speak.
      -Uncle Bud

  5. I really dig the reviews, opinions, and tips about folk and music in general you have on your blog. Great post, keep up the good work. Thanks.Long live rock n roll.IStillGotMyGuitar

  6. Dan Good says:

    Hello, Love your site, incredible stuff!
    I cannot seem to get these files to download, only some sort of octet stream available…any suggestions?

    Thanks and merci

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